Busy highways are often full of trucks that are carrying cargo and delivering goods to various parts of the country. Due to their size, trucks are subjected to many rules and regulations. This ensures that owners and drivers follow proper safety protocols when they haul loads and go on long trips for deliveries. There are standard weight limits established to ensure that trucks are running safely on the highway, and any reasons for large truck accidents don’t happen.
Commercial trucks are highly regulated based on federal and state laws. When it comes to loading on trucks, all drivers and delivery truck owners are expected to follow these strict regulations.
There are a few truck requirements to take before sending any of their trucks and drivers on the road, such as the following:
- Load distribution – the cargo weight must be evenly distributed throughout the trailer. This ensures that the truck maintains its balance while running, and no area of the truck is heavier than the rest.
- Cargo is secured – the cargo must stay in place while the truck is running. Moving cargo can cause the truck to fall over when it makes a turn. Moving cargo is also a form of distraction to the driver and can cause accidents.
- The load is within the allowable weight – depending on the truck’s size, the maximum weight of the cargo must be followed. Federal limits allow 80,000 for gross vehicle weights.
Risks of Truck Overloading
Many negligent truck drivers and chain operators neglect safety and think that overloading these vehicles with goods in an experienced driver’s hands is still safe. Doing so causes accidents and truck companies to pay liabilities.
Here are five reasons why overloaded trucks pose an imminent danger on the road:
1) Overloading Causes Stress On Mechanical Components of the Truck
Like any other type of machinery, trucks have a maximum allowable weight to carry. The specifications are placed to protect the mechanical parts of the vehicle as these also have their limits. Mechanical parts, like the suspension, can be damaged when the truck is overloaded.
Suspension components on a truck or vehicle are important as it helps ensure that the truck doesn’t bounce over the road when it drives over rough terrains or goes over a bump. When the truck carries too much load, the suspension experiences strain, and its various parts are negatively impacted–wearing and cracks may develop, and the steel may stretch and change how the truck responds to impacts.
Trucks carrying a lot of weight can also cause transmission failure. Transmissions have certain weight limits. When the truck is carrying excessive weight, the transmission system needs to work harder for it to run. Carrying load more than its specifications puts a strain on the system, especially when going uphill. When the transmission fails in the middle of driving on an uphill, the truck may roll over or collide with vehicles behind it.
2) Reduced Stopping Power
When a truck carries too much weight, it makes it more difficult for the driver to put it into a stop. Trucks carrying excessive weight doesn’t react automatically on the brakes. Running vehicles have certain momentum, and stopping instantly can cause more damage. This is why vehicles are designed to take more time and space before it comes to a complete stop.
An overloaded truck takes more than to stop than a truck that doesn’t carry a load. Because of this, the driver may not know or unable to estimate the distance needed to maneuver the truck and can cause an accident safely.
You can expect that the stopping power is significantly reduced when the driver runs during poor weather conditions, like rain or snow. When the road is slippery or wet, vehicles are harder to stop due to the decreased friction between the tires and the road.
Carrying heavy loads, coupled with poor weather conditions, increase the chances of accidents happening on the highway.
3) Can Damage The Brakes
A heavy load causes extreme pressure on the truck’s braking system. Since the truck’s stopping power is reduced due to the load, the driver will have to push harder on the brakes to make it stop sooner.
Putting extreme pressure on the braking system will increase the chances of the brake to fail. In many accidents, truck drivers claim that the braking system suddenly failed, and they don’t have the time or the skill to steer the vehicle when it happened appropriately.
4) Makes It Difficult To Steer
When a truck is carrying excessive weight, jackknifing may occur. Jackknifing happens when the cargo or trailer swings wildly to one side and forward. When cargo moves around a lot, the driver loses control of the vehicle. Even with trucks that don’t carry a large trailer, the excessive weight makes it difficult for the driver to steer as the weight causes the vehicle to respond differently.
In emergencies, drivers are less likely to successfully steer away from the situation. It also makes it difficult to control the vehicle to avoid it from rolling over. When a truck doesn’t respond well when steered or accidentally rolls over due to its heavy load, it can hit other cars on the highway, causing collisions and fatal accidents.
5) Can Cause Tire Blowouts
Like the mechanical parts of the truck, tires also limit the maximum weight it can carry. When trucks are overloaded, there’s a huge chance that the tires will also fail or experience a blowout.
When this happens, while running in the middle of a busy highway, the cargo shifts and moves around. The movement causes the truck to roll over, putting the driver and the cars around in danger. When the tires fail, it’ll also be difficult for the driver to steer the truck to safely move out of the road, causing a collision to other vehicles.
With the high number of truck accidents happening each year, it’s obvious that thousands of lives can be saved when truck companies and drivers follow safety protocols. Research and studies help reduce the number of accidents with new truck safety technologies, but following federal and state laws should be the primary action done by truck owners.
It may make sense that loading as much cargo as possible is beneficial to delivery, however, the cost of the lives at risk or in danger is priceless. To ensure everybody’s safety on the road, it’s best to follow cardo weight limit regulations.