Being in an accident with a large truck is one of the scariest experiences a motorist can have. Over 4,000 people die in accidents with large trucks every year. Truck accidents are always serious, but one of the deadliest scenarios is a jackknife accident. Jackknife accidents can shut down highways and cause injuries to multiple motorists.
What is a Jackknife Accident?
A jackknife accident occurs when a large truck begins to lose control, and the trailer of the truck swings out to one side. The out-of-control truck then resembles a giant pocket knife folding in on itself. A jackknifed truck can block all lanes of traffic, and sometimes motorists can’t stop their vehicles in time to avoid a collision.
What Causes Jackknife Accidents?
A jackknife accident can result from a number of different causes, including:
- Improper brake adjustment and maintenance—if the brakes of a truck aren’t properly adjusted or maintained, they can lock up during heavy braking. The truck then drags the trailer with its locked brakes, and the trailer begins to swing around.
- Speeding—it takes an incredible amount of force to stop a large truck. The faster a truck is traveling, the more likely it is that a driver will have to slam on the brakes to come to a stop. This can lead to a braking imbalance which can cause the brakes to lock up.
- Sharp curves—drivers should know how to handle sharp curves on the road, but when they take improper evasive maneuvers, especially at high speed, the angle can cause the trailer to spin out.
- Slippery weather conditions—slippery roadways can cause a loss of traction, which can lead to the weight of a truck shifting. When this happens, both the cab and the trailer begin to slide, causing a jackknife effect.
- Driver fatigue and inexperience—driver fatigue slows reaction times and leads to impaired judgment. Unfortunately, trucking companies often encourage drivers to go over the allowed hours of service, which can lead to drowsiness. In addition, drivers who have not been properly trained on how to handle a large truck can also make mistakes that lead to a jackknife accident.
Contact a Tampa Bay Truck Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in an accident with a large truck, you may want an experienced truck accident attorney on your side. The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have over 30 years of experience helping accident victims. Contact us online or call us at 800-753-5203 to set up your free consultation today.