Truck drivers are faced with many daily challenges and sometimes dangerous situations. If you’ve travelled to mountain states, then you have undoubtedly seen truck escape ramps. Hopefully, you will never need to use one, but in case you find yourself in a dangerous situation, it is good to have a basic understanding of when and how to use this safety measure.
What is a Truck Escape Ramp Exactly?
Truck escape ramps are emergency areas located adjacent to downgrade roadways to provide a location for out-out-control vehicles to slow and stop away from other vehicles on the roadway. There are three types of truck escape ramps:
- Gravity Ramps – built with an upgrade to use the forces of gravity to slow down runaway vehicles, and
- Aggregate Arrestor Bed Ramps – use specially sized rock in a gravel bed to slow a runaway vehicle.
- The Mechanical Arrester Ramp – can be installed on flat ground and contains a series of stainless steel catch-nets that absorb the energy of a truck collision and stop a truck.
Who Should Use a Truck Escape Ramp?
If you are experiencing brake problems or the inability to slow your downhill speed, you can use a truck escape ramp. It is essential to decide to use the truck escape ramp before you put yourself, and others on the roadway with you in harm’s way.
Important Things To Do and Not Do if using a Truck Escape Ramp
- DO use the ramp if you are having difficulty slowing your vehicle, or experiencing brake loss.
- DO NOT avoid using the truck escape ramp for fear of damaging your vehicle – the damage will be nothing compared to what could happen if you try to keep your truck on the road.
- DO enter the truck escape ramp in line with the ramp and as close to the center as possible.
- DO NOT wait in your vehicle – get out and a safe distance from the truck.
- DO contact the local states DOT after you have used a truck escape ramp.
- DO NOT try to drive out of the truck escape ramp yourself – the local DOT should help you get a tow truck to pull you out. Trying to drive out may further damage your vehicle.
- DO NOT use the paved entry of a truck escape ramp as a rest area or parking spot. These ramps are for emergency measures – runaway vehicles are generally travelling at very high speeds, and it would be difficult, if not impossible, for them to miss parked vehicles.
We Never Want Drivers to Have to use these Ramps
Truck escape ramps are a safety measure for drivers to use should the need arise. Of course, we never want drivers to require one and hope that our drivers never have to go through this experience.
Avoid needing a truck escape ramp by:
- Having your vehicle serviced and maintained regularly,
- Complete daily inspections of your equipment while you are out on the road to identify any possible issues before you are in an emergency,
- Use the provided brake check areas located near mountain summits and tops of steep grade to verify that your equipment and vehicle is in proper working condition,
- Be familiar with the route you are travelling to. Know the road and the grades before you head out,
- Operate your vehicle on downgrades using the recommended gears and speeds to help avoid excessive brake temperatures.
How Truck Escape Ramps Stop Out-of-control Big Wheelers
Check out this cool video on how truck escape ramps work.