Here's Your Chance to Watch a Truck Actually Use One of Those Runaway Truck Ramps

If you’re like most human beings who have ever driven on America’s public highways, you harbor a shameful and powerful desire to watch an out-of-control 18-wheeler truck go barreling up a runaway truck ramp. You don’t want anyone to be actually hurt, but you can’t help it. Something deep and strange inside of you longs to see those 40,000 pounds of grade-A truck roast plow up a massive hill of sand. I’d like to inform you that you now have this opportunity.


First, I want to mention that nobody was injured or killed during any of this, so you can watch it relatively guilt-free. This happened this past Friday, just outside of Denver.

Jesse Terrell was driving back from Denver when he realized that something was up with the truck nearby him, which was in quite a state:

“[the truck was driving] upwards of 80, 85 miles an hour. The smell was horrible, just that burning rubber, and that’s when I knew, oh, his brakes are now gone.”

Terrell also noted that the truck’s driver “seemed like he had his head on his shoulders,” which is corroborated by what happened, specifically that the driver correctly assessed he would be unable to stop the truck, and so ditched into the runaway truck ramp, which Terrell caught on video:

Yiiiiikes. It almost looks like a rocket taking off.

This was absolutely the right decision for the trucker to make. Colorado State Patrol made it clear in an interview with Fox 31 Denver that there are no penalties for truckers using the runaway truck ramps—that’s what they’re there for, after all.

Unfortunately, the high cost of extracting a truck from one of the ramps, which can range from $4,000 to $10,000, is often a factor in drivers deciding to risk controlling a runaway truck with no brakes instead of using the ramp.

Of course, that’s a terrible idea.

I wonder if the no-penalties rule counts if you just want to try one out in your car?

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!:



A few years ago at the California State Fair CalTrans brought their 18-wheeler driving simulator for all to try. Even in that artificial environment you realize the massiveness and challenges of driving one. I gained a new appreciation for big rig drivers.

Not that you couldn’t have fun in the simulator. I wanted to see how fast I could get my virtual rig rolling. I found a big hill and did a 38-point u-turn at the top and let her drift. At around 90 mph and near the bottom of the hill was one of those run away truck gravel and sand pits. After lots of digital noise and sand flying my rig was stopped and stalled in the pit. Simulated ride over, not because I wrecked the truck, but the CalTrans folks were not even aware that the simulator HAD a runaway sand pit. They needed to reset the entire system to get the truck out.

If you ever get the chance to use the CalTrans simulator. Find the sand pit!