Automobiles, Compliance, Industrial Safety, Technology

All You Need to Know About Truck Brake Systems

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Truck braking systems

Truck accidents have turned out to be quite common nowadays. The large size and heavy weight of trucks make these accidents extremely catastrophic. The cargo carried by the trucks adds to the weight, making them quite difficult to maneuver in busy roads. Apart from that, it also adds to the stopping time for the trucks. Therefore, it increases the possibilities of accidents significantly.

There can be various causes associated with truck accidents. For example, speeding, fatigue, influence of drugs and alcohol and so on may contribute to truck accidents. One of the most common causes of truck accidents is the failure of brakes. This can result in a severe accident.

It is important to have a complete understanding of the braking systems of trucks. There are various kinds of brakes involved with trucks. Let’s take a look at some of these braking systems of trucks and how they work here.

Service Brakes

The service brakes of the trucks operate once pressure is applied to the brake pedal through hydraulic pressure or air pressure. The service brakes are commonly used during normal driving. Once the brakes are applied, the air is pushed to the brake chamber through the airlines. This air under pressure forces out the pushrod which pushes the slack adjuster. This turns the camshaft which helps in twisting the S-cam. This makes the brake linings contact the air drum.

The service brakes slow down the truck and help in bringing it to a stop.

Parking Brakes

The parking brakes can be activated by pulling out either one or both of the valves on the dashboard. This helps in releasing the spring in the brake chamber. The parking brake is usually operated by several heavy-duty springs. It helps in keeping the truck stationary. As the name suggests, this brake helps in parking the truck safely.

Emergency Brakes

The emergency brakes come into play when the air pressure drops below the specified limit in the storage tank. Usually this limit lies between 20 and 45 psi. The emergency brakes are usually engaged automatically.

The brake chamber contains a powerful spring with a large amount of pressure. A consistent airflow in the chamber holds back the spring. As soon as this supply of air reduces, the emergency brakes are deployed automatically. This may also be accompanied by a sound of the buzzer and a light indicating the low air pressure.

That being said, these brakes can also be applied manually in the event of brake failure. However, for applying these brakes manually, the truck should be equipped with a modulating valve. This modulating valve enables the driver to apply the parking brake by using a level in the cab that slows down the truck.

The emergency brakes can also be disengaged by utilizing the air present in the other tanks of the truck. This can help in unlocking the emergency brake.

Air Brakes

As the name suggests, the air brakes utilize pressurized air to activate the braking system of the truck. The air brakes are the ones that are commonly used during the daily driving of the trucks. The common types of brakes used in the semi-trucks are S-cam brakes. This is because the primary mechanism that is used for pushing the shoes against the drum is the shape of an ‘S’.

The air brake is also known as a compressed air brake system. This is because compressed air pressing on the piston is utilized for applying the pressure on the brake pad. This brings the vehicle to a stop.

During the application of brakes, the wheels usually come to a halt. However, most of the semi-trucks nowadays are equipped with anti-lock braking systems. Abbreviated ABS, anti-lock braking systems can prevent the wheels from coming to a stop during the application of a severe brake.

Spring Brakes

The spring brakes in the truck are also used as parking brakes. The spring brakes are the reverse of air brakes. As soon as there is a lack of air pressure, the spring brakes are set. The loss in air pressure that triggers the spring brake can be caused due to an air leak or any other emergency. The spring brake can also be activated manually with the help of a push/pull knob.

Braking at the right times can help prevent a number of accidents. Apart from improper braking, there can be various other causes of truck accidents. A proper accident investigation can help in revealing the cause easily.

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Greg Baumgartner handles truck accident lawsuits for victims of truck accidents in Texas. He is an expert Texas Truck Accident Lawyer with an exemplary track record.
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