A no engine braking road sign warns truck drivers against using the engine to brake. Truck drivers normally downshift the engine to slow the truck down without applying the breaks. This action is referred to as engine braking, and usually produces a loud noise. Consequently, some cities and towns typically put up the ‘no engine braking sign’ to encourage the drivers to use the brake pedals rather than engine brake the trucks.
What is Engine Braking?
Engine braking refers to slowing down a vehicle using retarding forces in an engine instead of magnetic or friction brakes. The braking force is produced by the manifold vacuum created by insufficient air, which results in the reduction of energy in the engine, consequently slowing it down.
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How Engine Braking Works
When you release the gas pedal, you essentially reduce throttle, creating a vacuum inside your engine that increases resistance and lowers the vehicle’s speed. If you shift into lower gears while engine braking, the tendency to slow down will increase the effect of engine braking. While engine braking effects are more pronounced on manual transmissions, they can also be utilized on an automatic transmission.
Why is Engine Braking Popular with Truck Drivers?
Although engine braking is discouraged in many cities and towns, there are a few benefits that come with the practice. However, before one engages engine braking, they should first determine whether the practice is allowed in the driving area. The following are some of the key reasons why drivers practice engine braking:
- Reduces Wear on Brake Pads– engine braking is used to slow the truck without applying brakes. The vehicle will slow down passively to allow one to control its deceleration conveniently. As a result, a driver will only apply brakes for short periods and at much slower speeds. Consequently, there will be less brake pad fade, less wear, and less heat. The brakes will thus last much longer, and its value is maintained for a long time.
- Safety Reasons– engine braking can be ideal for controlling speeds in highly dangerous and very steep and long slopes. Additionally, one can conveniently engine brake upon noticing slowing traffic ahead to stop the truck from ramming them from behind. A driver can effectively maintain safe intervals when they ease off from the accelerator than when they apply brakes.
- Suitable for the Engine– Although changing down can be jerky, it doesn’t damage the vehicles’ engine in any way. An engine that gradually shifts from high to low gear is better than one that changes suddenly from a high to the low.
- Fuel Efficient– engine braking means less use of fuel. The process shuts off fuel consumption more efficiently than when one puts the engine on neutral or braking.
Given the above reasons, truck drivers can prefer engine brake. However, to curb noise pollution, authorities in some cities and towns put up “no engine braking” signs within their jurisdiction.
Is it the Same as Downshifting?
No, it isn’t. While in both situations, the driver utilizes the drag of the engine’s compressions to bring the vehicle to a halt, engine braking is usually sustained in one gear. Downshifting essentially means selecting a lower gear to slow the vehicle temporarily. Downshifting to a lower gear raises the engine rpm and increases the speed rapidly in gasoline-powered vehicles. However, in heavy-duty diesel trucks, downshifting will enhance engine braking effectively to decrease the vehicle’s speed gradually to a stop.
Why is This Prohibited?
In some areas, engine braking is prohibited due to the intense loud noise it creates. The “no engine braking” signs are placed on intersections that pass through or near residential areas. The loud noise can be very disruptive to communities, especially at night and in early morning hours.
Although many signs indicate the prohibition of engine braking on American roads, it is worth noting that it is not unsafe.
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Who Makes the “No Engine Braking” Signs on the Roads?
All road signs, including the “no engine braking” signs, are procured from qualified and experienced manufacturers like Worksafe Traffic Control Company. Worksafe Traffic Control Company is a trusted leader in the highway and commercial signs manufacturing, including road guide signs. The company also distributes other traffic control products to government authorities and private entities.
Here’s why you should work with us:
- We offer a seven day turn around on orders.
- We are competitive as a business and government contractor
- We provide the highest quality in every order
- All our products are MUTCD certified and compliant.
Although engine braking can be advantageous, one should avoid engine braking when traveling through residential areas. Always watch out for the” no engine braking “signs to avoid paying hefty fines. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our traffic control solutions.