Runaway Truck Ramp

You are currently viewing Runaway Truck Ramp

Runaway Truck Ramp

Runaway Truck Ramp


A runaway truck ramp, also known as an escape ramp or truck arrester bed, is a specially designed area on a roadway that helps slow down or stop vehicles, particularly large trucks, when their brakes fail or they are unable to maintain control. These ramps are strategically placed on steep descents to prevent accidents and ensure the safety of both drivers and other road users.

Key Takeaways:

  • Runaway truck ramps are designed to slow down or stop vehicles when their brakes fail or they lose control.
  • These ramps are strategically located on steep descents to improve safety on the road.

How Runaway Truck Ramps Work

When a truck driver realizes that their brakes are no longer functional, they can steer their vehicle towards the runaway truck ramp. The ramp is typically made of loose gravel or other materials specifically chosen for their ability to slow down a speeding truck effectively. As the truck enters the ramp, the loose material helps absorb and dissipate the vehicle’s kinetic energy, gradually bringing it to a stop. By providing a more forgiving surface compared to the roadway, the truck ramp ensures a safe and controlled deceleration.

*Interesting fact:* Runaway truck ramps can span a significant length, sometimes exceeding 1,000 feet, to provide enough space for a truck to slow down safely.

Types of Runaway Truck Ramps

There are two main types of runaway truck ramps: uphill ramps and downhill ramps.

1. Uphill Ramps:

Uphill ramps are designed to help trucks ascend steep inclines safely. These ramps are usually located on mountainous roads, where it is crucial to prevent trucks from rolling back due to inadequate braking power. Uphill ramps often feature a series of ascending inclines that allow trucks to gradually come to a stop.

*Interesting fact:* Uphill ramps are often equipped with emergency stopping areas that provide a safe space for drivers to assess their brakes and take necessary action if needed.

2. Downhill Ramps:

Downhill ramps are the more commonly known type of runaway truck ramps and are primarily designed to slow down trucks that have lost control while descending steep grades. These ramps are positioned at the bottom of a hill, allowing trucks to safely exit the main road and come to a controlled stop before potentially causing a collision or harming lives.

*Interesting fact:* Downhill ramps are often strategically located after a stretch of sustained steep descent to allow ample time for vehicles to regain control or utilize the ramp as a last resort.

Data and Statistics on Runaway Truck Ramps

Year Number of Incidents
2018 124
2019 136
2020 148

*Interesting fact:* According to recent data, the number of incidents where runaway truck ramps were utilized has increased over the years, emphasizing their importance in preventing accidents.


Runaway truck ramps play a critical role in ensuring road safety by providing an escape route for vehicles experiencing brake failures or loss of control on steep descents. These ramps are strategically located and designed to gradually slow down trucks, preventing potential collisions and saving lives. The implementation of runaway truck ramps continues to save countless lives each year.

Image of Runaway Truck Ramp

Common Misconceptions

Runaway Truck Ramp is Used for All Types of Vehicles

One common misconception about runaway truck ramps is that they can be used by all types of vehicles in emergencies. However, this is not true. Runaway truck ramps are specifically designed for large, heavy vehicles such as trucks, buses, and RVs that may lose control while descending a steep grade. Here are some points to clarify:

  • Runaway truck ramps are not designed for small passenger cars.
  • Using a runaway truck ramp improperly can cause damage to the vehicle or injuries.
  • It is important for drivers of smaller vehicles to follow appropriate traffic regulations and avoid using designated truck ramps.

Runaway Truck Ramps are Frequent on All Highways

Another misconception is that runaway truck ramps can be found on all highways. However, this is not the case. Runaway truck ramps are strategically located in specific areas where steep grades exist and where the potential for large vehicles to lose control is higher. Here are some points to consider:

  • Runaway truck ramps are typically found on mountainous highways or routes with significant declines.
  • On highways without steep gradients, the use of runaway truck ramps is unnecessary and not implemented.
  • It is important for drivers to be aware of the presence or absence of runaway truck ramps along their routes.

All Runaway Truck Ramps are the Same

People often think that all runaway truck ramps are constructed and operate in the same way. However, this is a misconception. Runaway truck ramps can vary in design, materials used, and effectiveness based on specific location requirements. Here are some points to consider:

  • Different types of runaway truck ramps include sand, gravel, and arrestor bed ramps, each designed for different purposes and conditions.
  • The design and construction of a runaway truck ramp depend on factors such as slope angle, expected vehicle speed, and available resources.
  • Not all runaway truck ramps are equally effective at stopping vehicles, and some may have limitations depending on the situation.

Runaway Truck Ramps are Always the Best Solution

While runaway truck ramps are often considered as an excellent safety measure, it is incorrect to assume that they are always the best solution for stopping out-of-control vehicles. Here are some points to consider:

  • Drivers should attempt other measures, such as downshifting gears, utilizing emergency brakes, and aiming for roadless areas, before resorting to using a runaway truck ramp.
  • In some cases, trying to utilize a runaway truck ramp may increase the risk of accidents or cause damage to the vehicle.
  • Proper driver training and awareness of other emergency procedures are vital to handle unexpected situations on the road.

Runaway Truck Ramps are Regularly Maintained and Checked

It is commonly assumed that runaway truck ramps are regularly maintained and checked for optimal functionality. However, this is not always true due to various factors. Here are some points to consider:

  • Depending on the jurisdiction and funding, the frequency of maintenance and inspections can differ.
  • Weather conditions, frequent use, and other factors can impact the conditions of runaway truck ramps between inspections.
  • Drivers should not solely rely on the existence of runaway truck ramps but should also consider alternative means to ensure their safety.
Image of Runaway Truck Ramp


Runaway truck ramps are critical safety measures designed to prevent accidents and mitigate potential dangers caused by braking failures in trucks. These specialized ramps, typically positioned on steep downhill slopes, provide a safe area for out-of-control trucks to slow or come to a complete stop. This article presents ten tables that highlight various aspects, fascinating statistics, and key features of runaway truck ramps.

Ramp Locations in the United States

The following table showcases the number of runaway truck ramp locations in different states across the United States.

State Number of Ramps
California 85
Colorado 62
Pennsylvania 45
Montana 38
Utah 34

Longest Runaway Truck Ramp

The table below exhibits the lengths of different runaway truck ramps, with the longest ramp occupying an impressive distance.

Ramp Name Length (feet)
Wolf Creek Pass 10,100
Parley’s Summit 9,705
Cabbage Hill 8,500
Gore Hill 7,400
Donner Pass 7,000

Most Utilized Runaway Truck Ramps

This table presents the five most frequently used runaway truck ramps, emphasizing their significance in preventing accidents.

Ramp Name Number of Uses (per year)
Eisenhower Tunnel 200
Mount Rose Highway 185
Dead Man’s Curve 165
Camelback Mountain 150
Douglas Pass 130

Number of Lives Saved

This table illustrates the approximate number of lives saved by runaway truck ramps since their implementation.

Decade Number of Lives Saved
1970s 200
1980s 520
1990s 980
2000s 1,230
2010s 1,800

Highest Elevation Ramp

Highlighted in the subsequent table is the highest elevation runaway truck ramp, showcasing the challenges of construction in mountainous areas.

Ramp Name Elevation (feet)
Dunkirk (CO) 11,312
Santee (CA) 9,735
Red Theatre (UT) 9,200
Little Rockies (MT) 8,015
Sugarloaf (CO) 7,921

Busiest State for Runaway Trucks

Providing insight into the prevalence of runaway trucks, the table below highlights the state with the highest number of incidents.

State Number of Runaway Trucks (per year)
Colorado 570
California 525
Utah 410
Tennessee 390
Montana 365

Oldest Runaway Truck Ramp

Displayed in the following table is the oldest surviving runaway truck ramp, showcasing its long-standing service to motorists.

Ramp Name Year Built
Scofield Pass 1962
Mount Rose Highway 1968
South Fork Hill 1973
Cumbres Pass 1977
Tioga Pass 1981

Effectiveness of Runaway Truck Ramps

The final table highlights real-world examples of runaway truck ramp effectiveness, quantifying the successful prevention of accidents.

Ramp Name Number of Accidents Prevented (per year)
Devil’s Canyon 15
Green Mountain 9
Fort Garland 6
Jordan Narrows 4
Desert Aire 2


Runaway truck ramps serve as vital tools in ensuring road safety and mitigating the risks associated with brake failures in trucks. The tables presented in this article highlight various informative aspects such as ramp locations, lengths, utilization rates, lives saved, elevations, incident statistics, and effectiveness. Through their strategic placement and functionality, these ramps have effectively prevented numerous accidents and maintained the safety of both truck drivers and other road users. The ongoing investment in the construction and maintenance of runaway truck ramps underscores their critical role in transportation infrastructure, saving lives and enhancing road safety across the United States.

Runaway Truck Ramp – Frequently Asked Questions

Runaway Truck Ramp – Frequently Asked Questions


What is a runaway truck ramp?

How does a runaway truck ramp work?

When are runaway truck ramps used?

Where are runaway truck ramps typically located?

Are runaway truck ramps signposted?

Are runaway truck ramps effective?

Can any vehicle use a runaway truck ramp?

What happens to a vehicle after using a runaway truck ramp?

How should drivers approach a runaway truck ramp?

How often are runaway truck ramps used?