Jackknifing accidents-can truckers prevent them?

by | Mar 7, 2015

Approximately 1,241 large truck accidents occurred in Davidson County in 2013, according to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. In 2012, there were 1,391 accidents involving large trucks on Tennessee roadways. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that at least 10 percent of these deadly truck accidents were caused by jackknifed tractor trailers. The sheer size and weight of tractor trailers alone make them dangerous to motorists, a fact known by a Tennessee truck accident lawyer.

When these massive vehicles are operated by poorly trained or inexperienced truckers, the threat of a jackknife truck accident becomes even greater. Some people believe that there are ways these devastating accidents can be avoided. By taking the proper precautions, truckers could save the lives of thousands of people each year.

What is a jackknife truck accident?

According to the NHTSA, over 90 percent of all jackknife truck accidents involve single tractor trailers. When a trucker loses control of the tractor trailer’s angle, the trailer can swing out alongside the tractor and may come to rest at an awkward angle. There are several ways this can happen, according to Protective Insurance. Truckers who slam on their brakes may cause the trailer to skid out of line with the truck. A jackknife accident can also occur if the trucker approaches a turn too fast and the truck’s tires are unable to maintain its direction.

Motorists may see more jackknifed trucks during inclement weather conditions when the roads are slippery. A Tennessee truck accident lawyer notes that truckers have an increased chance of jackknifing on roads with tight curves. Tractor trailers that are empty or carrying light loads might struggle under the pressure of the truck’s forceful braking system. It is easy for the brakes on these lighter trucks to lock up, causing the trailer to swing wide. Although heavier trucks are less likely to swing out of alignment, big rigs with unbalanced brake systems are at greater risk for creating an incident.

Preventing jackknife accidents

In many cases, jackknifing is preventable. Truck drivers in Tennessee and across the country should be properly trained on how to avoid jackknifing. The key to preventing a jackknife truck accident is to reduce the speed of the tractor trailer, especially during bad weather conditions. Trucks traveling at more than 55 mph are more likely to lose control of the trailer’s angle. If truckers should find themselves in a situation where they are skidding to the side, they should gently ease up on the brakes and attempt to straighten out the trailer.

Jackknife truck accidents can cause serious injuries and the unnecessary deaths of innocent motorists. Truckers should be aware of how to react in these dangerous situations in order to prevent accidents from occurring. Negligent truck drivers who do cause an accident may be held liable for their actions. A Tennessee truck accident lawyer may be able to help victims of tractor trailer collisions.