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How to Maintain Your Brakes and Avoid Accidents

Reasons for Brake Maintenance

Trucks and other heavy-duty commercial vehicles are often on the road for days or even months continuously, enduring the harsh elements, transporting cargo to their destination. The back-to-back driving and heavy cargo coupled with adverse weather conditions have an effect on not only the exterior parts of the heavy-duty vehicle, but also on some integral internal systems including the braking components.

Poorly maintained brakes can decrease the braking ability and increase the stopping distance of big trucks and motor coaches, posing a safety risk to both the public and the driver. The proper performance of the brake unit during those split-seconds is vital and can mean the difference between life and death.

Prevent Accidents

Trucks that aren’t properly maintained are more susceptible to getting involved in an accident compared to those that are maintained and kept in proper operational condition. When your heavy-duty commercial vehicles is involved in an accident, it can end up costing your business and even get you entangled in a slew of legal complications. To avoid this sort of situation, and to ensure that your operations proceed seamlessly without running into the law, make sure that your truck’s brake system is serviced regularly.

Fleet owners should consider the acquisition of a commercial brake tester such as the VIS-Check. This automated system evaluates the stopping capacity of the truck following specs given out by the DOT and CVSA, which maintain security and increase safety.

It’s vital to have routine brake maintenance conducted to stay safe while on the road, especially if you operate a heavy-duty rig or manage a fleet. When you know the brake maintenance process, the different components of the brake systems and what needs to be done, you’ll know when the brakes need servicing. If you run a maintenance shop, you should be aware that specialized brake maintenance systems are available. These systems are designed to service trailers, trucks, buses, and other large vehicles. The BrakeMate™, for instance, eliminates dangerous manual lifting, while the VIS-Check offers an accurate diagnostic of your vehicle’s breaking performance. You’ll be able to save cash and decrease service time.

Drivers are warned against skimping when it comes to maintenance and inspections, particularly when doing post- and pre-trip inspections. Without a list that guides drivers through the inspection steps properly, overlooking some or all of them is easy –especially checking the brakes. Sadly, other drivers usually skip doing the inspections altogether to be on the road quicker. This is cause for concern because the driver can get involved in a crash which they cause and could have been avoided if proper brake inspection had been done.

You should always remember why brake inspections and maintenance are important and why you shouldn’t cut corners. Poorly maintained brakes that violate traffic regulations will put the truck out of order, resulting in needless downtime. But of course, safety should be the main reason for keeping your brakes in optimal condition.

Brake Safety Week

Every August, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) holds a Brake Safety Week. In 2022, the event runs from 8/21 through 8/27. This is a yearly commercial vehicle brake-safety assessment, enforcement and educative program done by law enforcement jurisdictions in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. During this week, inspectors perform their North American Standard Level I and V Inspections. The brake-related information is recorded and forwarded to the CVSA. The findings are usually made public during the fall.

Brake-related issues make up the biggest percentage of all out-of-order vehicle infringements recorded during roadside assessments, and following the 3-day International Roadcheck data conducted last year, defective brake systems and adjustments accounted for 38.9% of all out-of-order vehicle violations. In order to deal with the increasing accident levels due to brakes on our roads, the CVSA aims to:

  • Find brake violations and take out the commercial vehicles found with brake-related violations from the road.
  • Perform inspections and recognize commercial vehicles don’t have any brake inspection violations. Vehicles that meet standards set by CVSA are affixed with a decal.
  • Compel proactive heavy-duty vehicle maintenance before the Brake Safety Week to avoid the vehicle from being considered unroadworthy.
  • Feature the hard work and devotion to safety by heavy-duty motor carriers, drivers and inspectors.
  • Jog the memory of carriers and drivers about the importance of brake maintenance and vehicle post-trip and pre-trip inspections.
  • Educate maintenance service providers and drivers regarding brake system safety.

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