While no one wants to be involved in a road accident, certain types of crashes are just more terrifying than others. Imagine being on a highway and seeing an 18-wheel semi lose control and its trailer starting to swing out to one side. That is the kind of stuff nightmares are made out of, and that is what jackknifing is.
While truck crashes are one of the most dangerous auto accidents, a jackknife wreck is one of the deadliest scenarios that could happen on the road. Here’s what you need to know about jackknifing, how to prevent it, and what victims of such an accident can do.
A jackknife crash is a type of trucking accident that occurs when the truck skids, loses control, and the trailer leaves its alignment and spins towards the cab and collides with it. This usually results in a devastating crash that is often deadly for both the truck driver as well as other road users.
This accident usually happens when a truck driver accelerates too much while taking a turn, causing the truck to skid. Consequently, the trailer veers off its path, and swings towards the cabin an L or V shape. It resembles a knife whose blade folds into the handle, thus the name.
Be Careful When Carrying Light Loads
Trucks carrying heavier loads are less susceptible to jackknifing since the weight helps in keeping trailer aligned. With light or empty trailers, however, you need to be more careful. Remember that the truck’s brakes are meant to stop full loads and are, therefore, too powerful for a truck that is underweight. Thus, when you apply them during such an emergency, they are likely to lock up and cause the truck to skid.
Braking suddenly, especially when driving large trucks, is a dangerous affair. Thus, you need to avoid scenarios that could cause you to slam on your brakes. A few pointers include:
• Drive a safe distance behind others so you can have time to react.
• When driving downhill or on slippery roads, reduce your speed gradually by spreading your braking over a long distance.
• Slow down as you approach curves.
• Proper Maintenance
Always ensure that all your truck’s components are in excellent condition to handle all kinds of emergencies. Faulty or uneven brakes and suspension will only raise your risk of jackknifing.
Avoiding a jackknife accident is everyone’s responsibility, starting with truck drivers. If you are employed as a commercial trucker, then there is no guarantee you received any training beyond what was required for your commercial driver’s license on how to prevent jackknife accidents. We would like to offer a quick refresher course that every trucker should know.
To prevent a jackknife accident as a commercial truck driver, you should:
Please keep in mind that the above jackknife prevention tips also work for noncommercial drivers. For example, if you are towing a small trailer behind your vehicle during a move, then you should remember and apply all of these tips, too.
At Fowler | Helser | Vogt, we understand how being involved in a serious truck accident such as a jackknife crash can be life-changing. Legal cases arising from these crashes are usually quite complex, and that is why you need an experienced and dedicated truck accident attorney handling your case.
Enlisting the services of an experienced truck accident attorney is likely going to determine the outcome of your case. This is because they know the right questions to ask in addition to having the resources necessary to perform a full investigation.
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