Simply driving behind a big rig in inclement weather is a harrowing experience. Many people may agree with this statement, considering that over 4,000 people are killed in large truck accidents every year, But if that truck suddenly spirals out of control? Heart meet throat.
Large trucks often lose control during bad weather because of a phenomenon known as jackknifing. Jackknifing occurs when the trailer of a large truck swings in the opposite direction of its cab. When this happens, the truck may fold at the hinge causing the whole rig to resemble a folding jackknife.
A jackknifing truck is extremely dangerous because it is so unpredictable. The driver often losses all ability to stop or change direction as the trailer constantly swings back and forth causing the truck to careen along the road crushing everything that crosses its path.
Why they happen
A truck can jackknife for any number of reasons – bad breaks, uneven load, mechanical failure, etc. But jackknifes are especially common during the winter months when roads are icy and traction suspect.
If a driver tries to break but icy roads prevents a clean stop the truck may begin to slide and, if worst comes to worst, the trailer may start to swing.
How to avoid them
Most jackknife prevention falls at the feet of the truck driver; routine mechanical and break checks, load balancing, and extra precautions during poor conditions are all good ways to reduce the likelihood of a jackknife.
Those sharing the roads with big rigs should keep a few tips in mind.
Firstly, always keep your distant. Large trucks take a lot longer to stop and turn than your average passenger vehicle. Staying a healthy distance away (always far enough to see the truck’s side mirrors) means the truck has room to operate.
Secondly, don’t hesitate to stay home during storms and blizzards. This is, of course, good advice generally speaking.
Finally, if you see a truck begin to jackknife pull over onto the shoulder immediately. Never, ever try to speed past a jackknifing truck unless you have no other choice.
A large truck accident can upend a person’s life. The victim and their family may be reckoning with permanent disability, medical bills, and mental trauma. Knowing where to turn may be difficult.
Thankfully, the law creates rights for those wrongfully injured. Filed with the help of a truck accident lawyer, a successful personal injury lawsuit could result in a considerable financial award for the injured and their loved ones.