Top six truck mechanical failures that can cause accidents

Top six truck mechanical failures that can cause accidents

Most truck accidents are as a result of human error or the trucking company’s negligence, and sometimes a mechanical failure is to blame.

In fact, mechanical failures, are usually as a result of negligence on the part of the driver or the trucking company.

Truck drivers ought to report every anomaly on the truck to the workshop and make sure that it is attended to. Companies too should make sure that trucks are always in tiptop shape to avoid unnecessary breakdowns or worse, serious accidents.

While we may agree at this stage to blame the mechanical failure for causing an accident, further analysis will reveal that in many instances error or omission by the driver or trucking company is the root cause of some of the mechanical problems.

Brake failure

Big rigs require frequent maintenance of the braking system responsible for stoping the 36 ton upwards machine when needed. Malfunctioning of brakes at the wrong time may lead to catastrophic consequences.

Truck drivers should also learn to drive in a way that reduces the chances of brake failure.

You cannot expect the brakes to function correctly while you ‘seat on the brakes’ for the whole 14 kilometres going down a mountain pass. The brake pads or discs are bound to heat up and eventually fail to hold or cause a fire.

Other reasons that can cause brake failure:

  • Worn/thinning brake discs/pads
  • Leaking brake pressure lines
  • Antilock brake system (ABS) malfunction

Engine Failure

Engine failure can not only leave you stranded, but it can also stall your truck in the middle of the road, potentially causing an accident. When the engine malfunctions while driving down a steep that may also cause serious consequences.

The steering stiffens while the pressure pump also stops, a recipe for disaster.

Tyre blowouts

Worn out tyres and under-inflated tyres are a major cause of motor vehicle accidents. A truck front tyre burst in a busy highway will most likely cause an accident because the moment you lose control and the truck encroaches onto the next lane anything can happen.

We shared before on how to react after a front tyre blowout, tips in the article may help you reduce the severity of the damage caused.

Faulty Steering Systems and Suspension

If a truck is travelling at high speed and the suspension system malfunctions, it can cause a major accident no matter how experienced the driver is.

Faulty suspensions and improperly aligned suspensions may result in uneven tires and ultimately lead to an accident.

Faulty Headlights and Tail lights

Truck accidents are more prevalent during the night compared to daytime, because of low visibility when drivers must depend on lights to be able to see. If the truck has broken or dim headlights, brake lights, or tail lights, then it can become extremely difficult for the motorist to see and for the other drivers to spot them.

Malfunctioning Wipers

You cannot safely drive in rain or snow if your wipers are not functioning correctly. Just as highlighted on the above point, anything that hinders visibility of the road ahead may cause an accident.

Whilst not as high as human error, mechanical failure significantly contributes to road accidents in South Africa. However, in all cases, proactive awareness and sensible routine maintenance can prevent them in the majority of cases.

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