If you have been driving a car for some time, then you will be very familiar with the way that it works, especially in terms of braking. You may not think twice before you apply the brake pedal to adjust your speed and may even apply heavy pressure at the last minute, without any real cause for concern. Yet, you will have to adjust both your mindset and your technique if you are to be successful when driving a heavy truck, as this type of approach is neither practical nor safe. What do you need to know about decelerating a large vehicle such as this if you are thinking about applying for a new truck licence?
The most important thing to remember when driving a large or heavily laden vehicle is that the foot brake is a secondary method of slowing everything down. You will need to rely on the engine to do most of the work and must therefore ensure that you are in the correct gear at all times, and crucially, before you get to a steep downhill gradient.
While the engine is perfectly capable of decelerating a car as well, most people do not use this technique and simply rely on the foot brake system. This approach will not work when you are driving a heavily laden truck, and the brakes will quickly fade instead. This is due to excessive heat which can affect the individual brake linings, leading to reduced friction and less retardation. The driver may apply even more pressure in this situation, but this will create additional heat which will lead to expansion of the brake drums themselves. Eventually, this brake fade will become critical and the vehicle will not slow down at all, leading to the inevitable and catastrophic accident.
When driving a vehicle like this, it is crucial to think ahead. You can certainly use a foot brake in a prolonged downhill descent, but it should only be done for a few seconds at a time to allow the system to cool down before reapplication.
Before you can apply for your truck licence, you will need to learn these techniques and many others associated with driving this type of vehicle. Make sure that you get the right training and are always cautious behind the wheel if you want to maintain a safe driving record.