The Role of Proper Vehicle Maintenance in Preventing Truck Accidents
Proper vehicle maintenance can go a long way towards preventing any type of vehicle accident. Careful inspections, maintenance efforts, and repairs are, however, particularly important for commercial vehicles, which simply experience a lot more wear and tear than the average passenger vehicle. Unfortunately, not all trucking companies use the care they should in inspecting, maintaining, and repairing their vehicles, which can have devastating consequences for other road users.
Changing the Oil and Replacing Filters
One of the most basic, but still important maintenance tasks that trucking companies should conduct on the vehicles in their fleet, is a regular oil change and filter replacement. Oil lubricates engines, keeping them from overheating. Oil that has been contaminated or is old becomes a lot less effective at these tasks and can lead to engine failure. Replacing the oil and oil filters helps ensure that the engine can function properly. Ignoring these problems, on the other hand, can lead to cracked engine blocks, an inability to brake, and stalling.
Checking Brake Condition
Besides checking and maintaining a vehicle’s oil and filters, truck drivers and their employers should also be sure to inspect their vehicles’ brakes regularly. Without functioning brakes, commercial trucks, which often weigh up to 80,000 pounds are unable to come to a controlled and complete stop. Unfortunately, brakes on large trucks wear out a lot faster than those on the average vehicle, as heavy loads and frequent stopping can cause the brake pads, rotors, and calipers to wear out and sometimes fail completely. To avoid this, drivers should conduct visual inspections and brake tests at least once a week.
Inspecting the Steering Components
Steering a vehicle requires the proper functioning of a variety of different components, including ball joints, tie rods, axles, and power steering fluid. For instance, worn or loose steering components can cause swerving and instability, while low power steering fluid reduces turning ability and increases the chances of a rollover accident. Out-of-alignment axles, on the other hand, can cause uneven tire wear, causing trucks to pull in certain directions. These kinds of problems make it impossible to fully control a vehicle, making a collision much more likely. To avoid this, trucking companies should carefully and regularly inspect the steering components of their trucks.
Replacing Worn Tires
Bald tires aren’t safe for any vehicle, but they pose an especially high risk for heavy trucks. As the treads on tires wear down, traction is reduced significantly, which in turn increases stopping distances and makes blowouts much more likely. A tire that strikes a pothole or that comes into contact with road debris can easily become punctured, causing the driver to lose control of the truck itself.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
Failing to maintain a commercial vehicle makes it a lot more likely that the vehicle will be involved in a crash by removing the ability to decelerate, lengthening stopping distance, and increasing the likelihood of blowouts. For help investigating the cause of your own crash, please call Boone & Davis and set up a meeting with one of our dedicated Florida truck accident lawyers at 954-566-9919 today.