Driving Light or with Empty Loads
When driving a truck without a load, the truck is no longer weighed down. For a driver to compensate for the truck not being weighed down, a driver must adjust how they brake, increase their following distance, as well as recheck their vehicle clearance.
Braking with a Light or Empty Load
A truck’s brake system is designed to operate best with a full load, therefore the brakes will feel different when driving without one. The truck’s brakes will be more sensitive to touch than normal and it will take less pressure to slow the truck down. This makes it very easy for a driver to over-brake or lock up their wheels. Engine retarders are not safe when driving without an empty load. They can cause the drive axles to slow down too quickly and lose traction. This could cause the truck to slide uncontrollably or jackknife. Especially if the pavement is wet or unclean.
Increase Following Distance
Driving light or with an empty load will reduce traction. Drivers should increase their following distance and allow more time for braking. A driver should avoid braking suddenly as it can cause the wheels of a truck to lock or bounce which in turn will cause the driver to lose full braking ability. On wet surfaces a driver carrying a light or empty load must be cautious and make sure to allow even more time to brake.
Recheck Vehicle Clearance
A truck may ride a few inches higher with not weighed down with cargo. After a driver unloads a delivery, they should check their vehicle clearance to see if it has change. A driver must not skip this step as it could save them from collision with a tunnel, sign, or other objects on the road.
If you are driving empty or with a light load, make sure to take these precautions to keep you safe.