How Jackknife Accidents Happen
When a jackknife accident happens on the highway, it causes a major disruption in traffic because several lanes are likely to be blocked by the truck’s cab and trailer. This can result in a major pileup with several cars crashing into each other.
A jackknife accident can be a harrowing experience for you and your passengers. There’s more than one way a jackknife accident can occur, and it may be difficult to determine whose negligence is responsible for your accident.
Although the driver of the jackknifing truck and the company that hired them will probably be liable for the accident, other drivers may also share responsibility for your injuries. An experienced truck accident lawyer knows how to investigate the accident and determine the best strategy to help you get the money you need to put your life back together.
What Causes a Truck to Jackknife?
A jackknife accident happens when the front vehicle skids, but the trailer attached to it does not slow down. The trailer’s momentum pushes it to one side and the cab to the other. In many cases, the truck and trailer end up sliding sideways until they look like an open pocketknife.
The most common reason why a jackknife accident occurs is because the driver applies the brakes too quickly. The brakes on a truck are designed to be applied gradually. If there is a sudden stoppage in the flow of traffic, the driver may panic and slam on the brakes. Drivers are taught to never to do this, and this can be a very costly mistake.
Other factors that may contribute to a jackknifing accident are equipment failure, poor road conditions, unsafe speeds, taking a turn too quickly, poor truck maintenance, inexperienced drivers, fatigued driving, and distracted driving.
How to Prevent Jackknife Accidents
The best way to prevent jackknife accidents is for trucking companies to hire experienced drivers and give them incentives to stay with the firm. It’s also important for trucking companies to provide ongoing training and monitor their drivers to make sure they are driving safely.
Unfortunately, many trucking companies prefer to save money by hiring inexperienced employees right out of trucking school. Sometimes these businesses don’t even perform the necessary background checks or fail to make their drivers provide annual DMV readouts to make sure there aren’t any problems with their driving record.
Additional ways to prevent jackknife accidents include:
- Apply brakes slowly, over longest possible distance.
- Monitor traffic to anticipate problems and stoppages before they occur.
- Slow down before you get to a curve, especially a downhill curve and reduce the trailer’s momentum as much as possible.
- Don’t brake and swerve at the same time.
- Use downshifting to slow down instead relying too much on your brakes.
- Drive more slowly on wet and slippery roads.
- Take your foot off the brake immediately if you start to skid.
- Repair trucks regularly, especially the brakes, and make sure to replace tires when necessary.
- Be careful when carrying light loads. Truck brakes are designed for a full load and too powerful for an underweight trailer.
We Specialize in Severe Injuries
At The Lenahan Law Firm, our attorneys have recovered millions of dollars in settlements for our clients. We can help you get the money you need to cover your medical expenses if you have been in a catastrophic accident caused by another person’s negligence.
We only handle a limited number of severe injury cases, and we give each client our total attention. The Lenahan Law Firm has the resources to take on big insurance companies and win. Call (214) 295-1008 to learn more today.