You have to be driving awfully fast to reach the top of a runaway ramp. The I-5 Grapevine’s northbound lane has two ramps, and they are there to help prevent fatal incidents.
On Feb. 21, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) posted on their Fort Tejon-Grapevine Facebook page about a recent incident where an unnamed trucker hit the escape ramps at such a velocity it nearly topped the ramp. His truck was mere feet away from the rocky outcroppings at the summit of the ramp.
It is unknown what caused the truck’s high-speed ascent, but CHP suspects either a serious malfunction or failure to maintain proper speed on the 6% grade incline. The steepest portion of the route lasts for 5 miles and can easily overwhelm the brakes on a truck if the driver has not properly set up their speed, gearing, and engine brakes for the descent.
CHP is asking truckers to make sure they are doing a proper pre-trip inspection as is legally required every shift. They also recommend following mountain speed limits and always taking the escape ramps if you cannot regain control of the truck if it is traveling too fast.
Runaway and escape ramps have been a topic in the news recently, as a driver in Colorado was once charged with more than 110 years of jail time for deaths caused by failure to use a ramp. Those charges were lessened to just 10 years after the governor granted clemency.
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