Hot Brakes

Hot Brakes | Tips & Resources

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Prepare for the Trip

  • Check brake function and adjustment before descending.
  • Maintain a low speed in low gear, and use flashers to warn other vehicles of your reduced speed.
  • Do not ride the truck’s brakes; this will cause overheating and possible loss of brake system.
  • Consider Jake Brakes (engine compression brakes) to control the speed of a heavy truck, but the best practice is to use low gears to avoid overheating brakes.
  • Keep brakes cool by pulling into brake check stations, or onto the shoulder of the road, if you can locate a safe spot.

truck driver inspecting truck
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Runaway Truck Ramp

Use Runaway Truck Ramps

  • Maneuver the truck into the far right lane before approaching ramp.
  • As the truck approaches the runaway ramp, steer straight and try to keep the wheels aligned.
  • Stay in the center of the ramp to avoid rolling over.
  • Once the truck is stopped, call 911 to report, even if there are no injures.
  • There is not a fee, penalty or fine for using runaway truck ramps.
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Know Before You Go

  • Know the road
  • Take the time to familiarize yourself with mountain passes
  • Obey the speed limit
  • Anticipate curves
  • Know how far you’ll travel
  • Identify public-access roads
  • Find brake and chain-up stations on COtrip
  • Inspect your brakes at the summit before descending.
  • Locate runaway truck ramps on COtrip

traffic approaching steep grade on road