What are CDL retarders?

What are CDL retarders?

Commercial vehicles that use CDL retarders will have an on/off switch installed near the driver’s seat. Commercial vehicles are typically heavy and slow-moving, making them more difficult to stop.

The addition of the retarder helps give you more time to stop before encountering a hazard. It also allows you to brake less frequently when traveling downhills, which can help reduce your brake wear and save money in replacement costs.

When used properly, the retarder reduces your braking demand. Because commercial drivers operate their vehicles differently from passenger vehicles, CDL retarders are designed with a lockout that prevents automatic engagement. This way, the driver is always in control of whether or not to use the retarder to help slow his/her vehicle.

  • Exhaust retarders.
  • Engine retarders.
  • Hydraulic retarders.
  • Electric retarders.

Each retarder can be turned off or on Some systems also have options to adjust to the strength of the.

Retarders function by applying pressure on the drive wheels every time you take off the gas pedal all the way.

Note it is important to note that the use of CDL retarders is prohibited in certain areas because of their loud sound.

You should also note the applying retarders on bad tires or on slippery roads can cause your vehicle to skid. Retarders should be turned off when driving on wet, icy, or snow-covered roads.

You can find more information about this topic in the Driving Safely (2) section of your official driver’s handbook.

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