Crashes that involve large trucks pose serious traffic safety problems. It has been recorded by the NHTSA that in 2000, there were 4,930 large trucks involved in fatal crashes, 101,000 large trucks involved in injury crashes, and 351,000 large trucks involved in property damage only crashes for a total of 457,000 large trucks involved in all crashes.
Trucking accidents are usually grouped in various categories and one of the most common, dreadful accidents to witness is a jackknife accident. Jackknifing can be the cause of a serious and deadly truck accident. The weight of a truck is normally carefully measured and balanced, but when a truck jackknifes, it can work against it; the result being extreme damage to the truck itself and any nearby vehicles.
How Does A Jackknife Accident Occur?
Jackknifing normally occurs when the portion of the truck being towed folds accidentally and into the tow truck or cab. The name jackknifing, when applied in this scenario comes from the resemblance of how the accident happens to the angle of a folding pocket knife. In most cases, jackknifing mainly involves empty trucks and even so, it seldom happens.
Causes of Jackknifing:
- Sharp Turns
- Losing traction
- Sudden braking and turning
- Brake malfunction
- Wet/slippery roads
- Uneven road surfaces
Most skilled truck drivers can easily correct a skid before it turns into a jackknife, however, there are times when the road presents clear vulnerabilities or the truck itself suffers mechanical failure, in which case, the situation gets out of hand even for the best drivers. Thus, when the accident takes place, all nearby vehicles get caught up in the accident causing a great deal of destruction.
Jackknife Accidents Preventive Measures
Ready yourself up for the Road
Driving can be overwhelmingly taxing and even with most drivers exuding professionalism; it’s extremely vital to keep both finely tuned. Ensure that your body gets enough rest through adequate sleep, eat healthy meals and exercise regularly. This way, you will be fully ready to undertake your driving duties exceptionally. This equally applies to your vehicle. Be over-diligent about maintenance and check the entire rig more often than is required.
Drive at or Under the Stipulated Speed Limit
Speeding is one of the main causes of trucking accidents and with employers breathing down your neck, it can be very tempting to over speed than is safe. Also, trucks usually have a much longer needed stopping distance, and if you are speeding and suddenly brake, then there is real danger of actually jackknifing. However, always ensure that you stick to the stipulated speed limit and whenever in doubt, slow down when necessary.
Get ABSs for your truck
Given that most jackknifes are usually blamed on a loss of traction, improving the braking system can help drivers in extreme conditions keep control over their trucks. In most cases, the loss of traction usually happens when braking causes wheels to lock motion which causes the trailer to move forward and around. So, in order to combat this problem, drivers are getting ABSs, short for anti-lock brake systems which allow the driver to maintain traction and avoid jackknifing.
Get a load-sensing regulator for your truck
A load-sensing regulator is another brake-related technology established to combat jackknifing. Given that jackknifing mainly involves empty trucks due to the fact that they can easily lose traction and slide, a load-sensing regulator senses the weight of the vehicle and adjusts the brake pressure to best suit the truck.
Use electronic and automatic systems in your truck
The electronic and automatic system locks a truck at a given speed for a given angle. Their purpose is to lock the truck into a safe position but still, at a high enough speed. This means that a driver must slow down so as to take sharp turns when necessary.
Use Fifth Wheels in your Truck
The fifth wheels restrict the cab’s array of motion, which conveniently prevents it from forming an acute angle with the truck. Fifth wheels can be set in such a way that they only activate when there’s potential for a jackknife accident happening.
Course Of Action If You Are The Victim Of A Jackknife Accident
To learn more about jackknifing visit DMV.org. If you are a motorist caught in a jackknife accident, contact a truck accident attorney for legal counsel. If you have been hurt in a truck accident due to a negligent truck driver, you may be entitled to monetary compensation to aid with your pain and suffering. To discuss your case, an experienced truck accident lawyer can be of great help.