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Dealing with large trucks on the road

As if Colorado drivers already do not have enough reasons to be wary of commercial trucks on the state's highways, a surprise brake inspection event in the beginning of May revealed a serious problem with brake violations.

On May 3, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducted unannounced roadside brake inspections for big rigs in the United States and Canada. Out of almost 10,000 inspected trucks, about 20 percent had violations that necessitated their removal from the road. The overwhelming majority of sidelined trucks suffered from critical brake violations.

What is an ABS?

Many trucks today come equipped with an antilock braking system. This essential equipment improves the driver's control and can help prevent jacknifing and skidding if a driver has to brake suddenly. Much of the risk trucks present on the road derives from the way their weight and size increase the likelihood of losing control and the scope of the resulting damage. Thus, a properly functioning ABS plays a key role in improving safety for all drivers.

Frequent violations

One common type of violation happens when a truck's ABS indicator lamps malfunction, preventing the driver from knowing whether there is a real problem with the ABS. Many types of commercial trucks on the road today must possess functional ABS systems and indicators by law.

Other risks

Trucks present many additional risks regular passenger vehicles do not. Their extensive blind zones make it hard for drivers to see adjacent vehicles. Their size and mass lead to longer stopping distances and difficulty in avoiding sudden obstacles. The pressures of their jobs lead many drivers to undersleep or neglect important maintenance tasks for their trucks, as you can see from the widespread brake violation problem.

Staying safe

Understanding the dangers of trucks can help motorists stay safe. Be sure to keep a proper distance from trucks near you. Tailgating and cutting in front are never stellar ideas; when trucks are involved, these practices become even more risky. Watching out for signs the truck driver lacks proper alertness can also help you avoid dangerous situations. Such signs may include delayed reactions to changing traffic conditions or signage, drifting out of the lane and other types of erratic driving.


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