You don’t have to be a physicist to understand the concepts of inertia and momentum, but at their core they can be defined as “objects in motion, stay in motion” and “heavy fast-moving objects take longer to slow down.” While your truck is at top speed, turning your wheel sharply can be nearly as unsafe as attempting to stop too quickly.
All to say, there are a couple of key ways to ensure that you keep inertia and momentum in check to avoid skidding or causing an accident.
Don’t Slam Your Brakes Slamming on the breaks is one of the first big no-no’s for avoiding skids as it could cause your brakes to lock up and leave you at the mercy of, you guessed it, inertia and momentum. Your unexpected slowdown could also catch vehicles behind you off guard causing further crash related potential for you and them.
Feather Your Brakes Piggybacking on the first tip, if you need to slow down while descending a hill or after hitting a patch of ice, you should apply firm, consistant and even pressure to the brakes. This allows the anti-lock brake system to work properly and allows you to slowly and incrementally decrease your speed, inertia, and momentum (versus slamming on your breaks and coming to a skidding halt).
Keep Straight When Braking If possible, it’s also key to keep your truck and trailer unit straight while braking, otherwise the combined weight (momentum and inertia) could wind up with your truck and trailer pointed in different directions, which is never good. And once you’re in that kind of skidding slide, it’s nearly impossible to correct things, so drive defensively and keep things straight to avoid this kind of situation.
Avoid nasty skids, and learn even more by checking out helpful trucking tricks, tips, and techniques via the NTB Trucking blog.
And if you are a driver in the trucking industry and in need of a change, you should seriously consider applying for a trucking job with NTB Trucking. Learn more about our employment opportunities and submit your information via Drive4NTB.com!