Runaway truck ramps (“escape ramps” to highway engineers, “litterboxes” to truckers) are less-than-subtle reminders to slow down on long downgrades. Although, if you need one, it could be because you didn’t pay attention to the flashing caution signs at the top of the hill—or to your brakes during your pre-trip.
You did do a thorough inspection, didn’t you? If not, the driver in this recent clip from the I-5 Grapevine in Southern California could be you.
Once the crack staff here at Dash Cam of the Week saw the video, tweeted by CalTrans with the message “See a truck escape ramp do its job,” we started thinking (uh-oh), just how often do those unsightly gravel strips get used?
A 2009 presentation at the Western States Rural Transportation Technology Implementers Forum (we want to party with those guys) says California’s 15 escape ramps are used 30-35 times a year.
Googling around a little more, the total number of ramps in the U.S. is somewhere near 200 in 27 states, mainly in the West, with the earliest dating back to the late 1950s. For those who are interested, Arizona DOT has a very informative video (below). For those looking for entertainment (or to feel smugly superior to the drivers stuck in the sand traps), YouTube has plenty of other “runaway ramp” videos to offer.