Hard braking as a habit of some inexperienced drivers started to drive more attraction over the last few years as the fleet management and telematics industry advanced. It is very easy and convenient to monitor driver’s behaviors nowadays.
By simply installing certain pieces of hardware into the truck, fleet managers now have the option to analyze and monitor driver behavior, driving style in real time as well as also track the historic data of the driving performance in the past.
An advanced version of GPS devices used to monitor the real-time position of the truck are also used to provide information about truck driver driving style and habits. By reading the data collected from the hardware installed in the truck, fleet managers can easily read the information and proactively educate and instruct drivers to upgrade their performance.
Fleet managers by logging into web-based dashboard used by most GPS service providers on the market can see all records of Hard Braking along with the date, time and speed when it occurred. In addition, they can also set alerts to be immediately alerted by email or SMS when that Hard Braking event happens.
Here in this one place, I wanted to share with you how this phenomenon can be really bad for the company and why it is very important to pay attention to this detail that can cause some serious damage to the trucks and serious expense for the company.
Hard Braking Tears the Brakes
Tearing the brakes can be instant when hard braking is applied. It can be so aggressive that brakes can be totally worn out if they happen to be close to the replacement cycle. A situation like this can mean that truck driver needs to pull off the truck on the nearest truck stop immediately after the hard braking.
After this, there is no other way but to call the road service and replace the brakes immediately. Replacing brakes on the road by the road service instead of replacing them in the trusted truck shop can mean double than ordinary price.
Instead of paying few hundred dollars for the replacement, the cost of replacing it on the road can very quickly reach the level of one thousand dollars, so pay attention to hard braking happening on highways because it tears the brakes the most.
Hard Braking Can Wear Out The Tires Much Faster
Again, of the really expensive disadvantages of hard braking. Truck tires are especially in danger when full force is applied on the foot brake.
If the truck driver is driving at the full speed on the highway and due to bad judgment or unexpected situation on the road needs to apply the full force on the braking pedal, this could very easily wear out the tires like they were driven for 5.000 miles.
On top of the situation like this add hot summer weather when the road surface temperature raises well above 100 degrees and you have all the ingredients for possible tire malfunctioning.
Sometimes I’m sure by driving on the highway you were able to see a lot of truck tire pieces on the roadside. This is what happens when tires are under a lot of pressure due to hard braking – sometimes they simply explode.
Tire explosion beside being dangerous if happens to front axle on the truck can also be very dangerous for the other cars driving the truck because pieces of the tire can hit other vehicles.
Hard Braking Especially Affects Trailer Brakes
Trailer brakes are the most in danger. When applied, hard braking can burn the trailer brakes very easily. I’m sure some of you that spend a lot of time on the highways have seen the smoke coming from the rear trailer end. This is what happens to trailer brakes when hard braking is applied – sometimes they just burn out.
Burning out the trailer brakes causes the same situation described above with the truck or vehicle brakes. Stopping at the truck stop and calling the road service is inevitable. Again, you will face the expense of $500 minimum.
Passengers Can Get Injured Due To Hard Braking
Passengers driving with you on a road trip across the country could face a very unpleasant experience. Instead of driving across the country and enjoying the trip they could end up being hurt. As a result of un-proper seating on the seat and not using a seat belt a lot of passengers get injured every year.
A situation like this could be prevented very easily if the both truck drivers and passengers traveling with them pay more attention to the safety.
Proactively predict and avoid a dangerous situation is the first task every experienced and smart truck driver should do. On top of that passengers should also know what the safe way of traveling is and how to use all safety equipment.
Of course, certain situations cannot be prevented no matter how experienced truck driver is there is always a chance something unexpected will happen. To make sure all dangerous situations are avoided I’d like to recommend all truck driver to warn their passenger before starting the trip to put the seat belt on and take a seating position that is according the regulation.
Team Drivers Can Get Injured Due To Hard Braking
Driving a truck in a team is something very special. It requires both full mental and physical focus and there are only a few drivers that are willing to drive in the team. Generally speaking, this is the best option for the company because trucks are always driving and generating revenue.
Compared to the standard truck driver who drives 60 hours a week, team drivers double that and drive 120 hours a week. As you can see trucks are almost always moving and the amount of potentially dangerous situations is doubled.
Usually, when a truck driver is driving as a team member his colleague is sleeping or resign in the sleeping area in the back of the truck cabin. If the safety net is not attached to the bed there is a great chance a colleague taking a rest from the 11h drive could get injured when hard braking is applied.
The safety net that is supposed to stop a driver from falling down in the case of the hard braking couldn’t prevent the driver to fall down and get seriously injured. Pay attention to these situations because due to constant driving focus level could go down and result in overlooking details like this.
Hard Braking Can Cause Trailer Tires To Explode
Situations like this actually happen very often and we can see reminders of these situations on a daily base. Driving regularly on highways you can see a lot of tire remaining by the road. All there remains happened due to trailer tire explosions.
For situations like this, it is not the only truck driver and hard braking to blame for. This happens very often because trucking companies want to save money on tires. Instead of buying good quality tires very often trucking companies buy rethread tires. Think of rethread tires as used tires that were applied to the new surface on top.
Of course, rethread tires are not nearly good quality as the brand new ones. Extreme weather conditions, especially during summer season, can lead to tire explosion.
Due to Hard Braking, Your Truck Driver Driving Score Can Be Harmed
Certain trucking companies have innovative compensation models introduced to stimulate truck drivers to apply safe driving style and receive financial bonuses because of that. To be able to receive financial bonuses on top of their salary truck drivers need to have a safety rating that is in top 20% of the proposed scale.
An important part of safety rating’s calculation is also the number of hard braking events. Simply said, if the truck driver has more hard braking accidents, then the safety rating will decline and they will lose the possibility to receive the bonuses.
This innovative way is serving the truck driving community very well. In my opinion truck driver should be financially awarded for the safe driving and smart behavior. We can’t threat all the truck drives the same. The ones among them that pay attention to details deserve to make more money. This model simulates exactly that.
Hard Braking Can Cause an Accident
Unexpected hard braking situations can be very dangerous and cause an immediate traffic accident. In situations like this inexperienced truck driver can lose control of the vehicle or trailer and create a very dangerous situation for them and other vehicles.
In the situation when the road surface is very slippery like during the heavy rain or severe winter conditions (due to snow and ice) hard braking can cause total loss of control. Despite latest technology that is built in the trucks as a standard part of equipment truck drivers skill is still the most important factor.
All the latest technology trucks are equipped with, serves only as support. It can’t take control of the vehicle and very rarely react proactively in advanced. That is yet to come.
Until that kind of self-driving technology is fully developed, truck drivers are still required to pay attention to the road and prevent as much as they can possible problems on the road.
Hard Braking Can Cause Rear End Collision
Highway network around big cities is very often really crowded and vehicles are driving and moving really close one to another. Applying hard braking can cause the immediate rear end collision and someone could crash into you from the back.
Despite there is no legal responsibility for an accident like this and this is 100% responsibility for the person not keeping the appropriate distance this can cause a lot of issues for you too.
Issues can vary from time to time but you can expect situations like this:
- Load delivery being late or canceled due to heavy damage caused by accident;
- Load delivery could be late and you could face the penalties because of that;
- Downtime caused by accident could cost you a lot of lost money;
As you can see, even though you are not guilty for the incident at the end you could be the one that pays the most for that. If you are delivering fruit to Walmart and you are late because your truck driver applied hard braking and someone hit him from behind, you will be the one to pay for it.
Hard Braking Wastes a Lot Of Fuel
Slowing down from 60 to 0 in less than 2 seconds takes a lot of power and force. In the same time reaching that speed again when the truck almost stopped requires a lot of fuel. It is estimated that truck can idle for 15 minutes and consume the same amount of diesel fuel as it needs to reach the speed of 60mph.
Now you got the idea how Besides all the above-mentioned disadvantages of the hard braking, there is one that costs money directly the trucking company. Constant braking and accelerating could cause the company to lose at least a hundred dollars’ worth of fuel every month.
Well trained truck drivers besides making money for themselves as a safe driving bonus this way save a lot of money for the companies as well.
Hard Braking Creates New Environment Pollution
In the time when environmental pollution on Earth reaches the new maximum, it is very important to take that aspect into consideration when eliminating hard braking.
We only have one planet (at least for now) where we can live and taking it seriously should be the primary reason why all of us need to work to keep the pollution at a minimum.
Certain states like California are already preventing excessive idling as a first move into the direction to reduce the Co2 emissions. The next step is introducing the hard braking penalties.
Experience is teaching us that when we see one state introducing some of the “green” laws usually there is more to follow.
It is just the matter of time when it will become mandatory to introduce the safe training procedures in every trucking company. It is expected that a big push could come from the insurance industry since they’re the ones with the biggest benefit out of safety truck driver training.
Hard braking as a bad driving habit seems very simple or small mistake truck driver can do. I tried to describe all possible situations and events that can happen as a result of this. Of course, not all of the described scenarios will happen, but this is just a reminder for you to see what could happen and how important is to try to do your best to avoid it.
Introducing the safe truck driver training and educating truck drivers how to avoid all kind of possible bad situation becomes the crucial part of all truck driver hiring procedure. In the last two years, these kind of training became a mandatory part of all insurance companies where they request trucking company to have these sessions at least once per year with their company drivers.
Doubling the effort and insisting that all your company drivers go through the training twice a year you are doubling the chances of avoiding the bad situations in the future.