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A semi trailer gets on the brakes hard and locks up, what do you do?

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Paulstar3, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. Hi Guys,

    Today on the freeway I saw a semitrailer on the middle lane (heading the opposite direction) slam his brakes on - lock up all the wheels and dissapear within the cloud of smoke his locked up tyres caused. I've seen it before too, both times the truck came to a stop in a very straight line, but they do jack-knife also.

    So my question is, if you're behind a semi-trailer and he gets on his brakes,the wheels lock up and the smoke pours out do you - stop behind him or go around him?

    This is how I see it;

    • Stop behind him and risk not pulling up in time
    • Stop behind him, pull up in time but get rear ended by someone behind you
    • Go around him - no visibility - crash into something
    • Go around him, he jackknifes and you get caught up in that

  2. Don't be so close for starters and then all the above scenarios are not as much of an issue.
  3. If you get outbraked by a semi you probably need to work on your technique. Also trying to go through a cloud of smoke isn't the best idea, esp if you can't see why the truck is braking.
  4. In terms of the machine, in general I doubt a truck will out brake a bike. That said, the user has a big impact on this out come.

    Riding past the truck is, IME, in general just insane.

    You can't see past the truck/smoke, clearly something ahead has caused the truck to need to stop and as you say, they don't always pull up in a straight line.
  5. I'd stop as fast as possible while keeping an eye in my mirror. Most likely the cars behind you will notice the smoke and slow down anyways. If it worries you tap your brakes if there is time to do so to give more warning to the person behind, once they see the brake light constantly on they will brake harder. If my bike had a hazard lights function, I'd switch that on while braking...people behind will take a lot more notice when that happens.

    I'm surprised they don't teach drivers to use the hazard lights when they are slowing down really quickly due to a hazard ahead...such as freeway traffic jams which can't be seen due to a bend in the road.
  6. More and more cars these days flash their hazards when the car goes into an emergency brake.

    Frankly, I'd rather the drivers focused on stopping the car and avoiding causing more trouble than fiddling around finding the hazard light button/switch.
  7. The biggest hazards will come from the cars behind you,
    Then lack of vision to the front with the smoke and chunks of tyre shredding off the truck.
    You will out brake a truck without too much concern. But they can slow initially quite fast.
    I reckon I can take on a fairly good chunk of tyre and survive. Maybe a bit bruised.
    When something locks up in a strait line on the road eventually the camber of the road takes control of where they end up.
    So hopefully I had been riding back far enough to know what was ahead of the truck and I had a good idea of where he was going to go with the attitude of the truck sliding.
    You would be banking on your ears and inner sense and thanking the lord for your power to weight ratio.
    Ha ha what a waffle. I would only try and go around him if I had too.
  8. some (european) cars do it automatically under heavy braking
  9. hazard lights on moving vehicles is illegal, except where there are signs allowing it ( for fog)

    I would brake hard and move left even off the road.
  10. If drivers were taught to use the hazards in the first place, it will become second nature and thus people will hopefully require not much effort or focus to actually find it in an emergency.

    I see European style cars with the massive hazard light button in the middle of the dash, if you need to fiddle and lose focus to push that button, I think you should be off the road.

    No different to people using indicators, becomes second nature (well for those that actually use it).

    Never knew it was illegal...to be honest I rather be slowing down with hazards on indicating I might be in trouble so that the car behind me also slows down without drama while keeping an eye out for possible hazards ahead of my car. It's a sign showing a hazardous environment...so I would assume slowing down in an emergency due to a dangerous hazard ahead might be legal.

    In Germany, you are taught to use the hazard lights when traffic slows down or stops, mainly on the highway (100km/hr or no speed limit zones) but also in other out of the ordinary situations.
  11. The reason you cannot use hazard lights while driving is that they are hazard lights and not emergency lights.
    And they stop the blinkers working.
    That's the rulings put into plain English.
  12. I'd like to see the statute regarding the use of hazard lights.
  13. Great example the indicators.

    A control that people still don't get right in normal driving situations even though it is (in theory at least) used daily and is accessible without removing your hands from the wheel compared to using a button in the middle of the dash board in an emergency situation?

    As for the German example, if memory from about three weeks ago (when I got the driving on German roads pep talk from my cousin who is "Polizei") the hazards are for things like fog, traffic jams, really heavy rain not things like emergency braking.

    Further more, I've seen numerous accidents in Australia with people out of the car that STILL haven't managed to successfully turn on the hazard lights. We've got far more important things to address on our roads.
  14. Thanks, that's for nsw though and that was repealed
  15. Source?

    Edit: my mistake, it is repealed as per nsw link above.

    Perhaps it was never illegal anyway in the op situation as smoke was an exception.
  16. I was walking my pooch one day just round the corner from my house when a woman bailed out of her 'lexus' quite shiny etc, left the car in the middle of the road and walked over to me asking if I knew how to run her hazard lights off lol

    I think THIS is why they dont teach them to play with buttons, the big red triangular one really does bite lol
  17. Here's what you do,,,
    Hit the brakes as hard as you can without locking up, stopping in a straight line.
    Close your eyes & scream out in your loudest girly scream!!!! AAAAAAAAAAH! :rofl:
  18. I was hoping it would have been. God... yahoo ....sometimes common sense prevails.