Runaway Truck Ramps

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Hopefully, you will never find yourself driving down a mountain pass fully loaded and realize that your brakes are failing. In that situation, you would begin looking for the off-ramp that leads uphill and eliminates the needs for brakes. These ramps rely on the additional friction created by sand or gravel with the additional slow-down effect of an incline.


Ramp Facts:

  • Ramps first appeared at some point in the mid-1960’s in mountainous areas.
  • The inertia described from stopping on one of the ramps is considered strong, but without the jarring impact of a crash.
  • Ramps vary in design, construction, materials and effectiveness.
  • States determine where ramps are built based on several factors: length and slope, heavy-truck traffic, conditions at the grade’s end, and traffic volume among other things.


There are a few types of ramps that allow a driver to slow down and it’s important for a trained driver to know the different type of runaway truck ramps.


Gravity Escape Ramps

This is the most common emergency truck ramp and you will find them at the bottom of a steep-graded hill or mountain. The purpose is that the truck will decelerate on the heavily inclined path that runs next to the road. A problem with this type of ramp is rollback after the vehicle decelerates and there is a possibility of overturning.


Sand Pile Escape Ramps

On these ramps, sand and dirt are loosely piled to slow a runaway vehicle by transferring the energy of movement from the truck to the ground. A problem with these types of ramps are the possibilities of overturning and/or vaulting after the initial contact of the vehicle or failure due to variables such as moisture and freezing.


Arrester Beds

These gravel filled ramps use rolling resistance to stop the vehicle. This type of ramp should be used based on the speed and mass of the vehicle, the grade of the bed, and the rolling resistance of the gravel.


Mechanical-Arrestor Ramps

They are designed to stop a runaway vehicle with a series of energy-absorbing aircraft-carrier-type mechanical spools and stainless steel nets. The nets are connected to spool-tape energy absorbers that are mounted in a precast concrete barrier, but they require more maintenance. They are designed to slow a runaway truck at its legal max weight, moving at 60 MPH.


As a driver it is important that you have your brakes checked and regularly maintained to prevent an accident, save money, and save you from having to use one of these ramps. While these exits can reduce the effects of a disastrous situation but can still cause damage to your springs and suspension. Fortunately, these emergency exits are wonderful for saving lives, yet, unfortunately not in saving your truck.


Do you need to schedule your an appointment to have your brakes serviced or replace other parts? Give North Dixie Truck and Trailer a call today at 419-221-3750 for maintenance or 419-222-8785 for parts.


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