A truck that jackknifes is incredibly dangerous to other drivers because it’s completely out of control. Typically, these accidents happen when the truck loses traction for some reason, throwing the trailer and cab out of sync. Issues that lead to it include improper braking and slick road surfaces.
However, there are steps drivers can take to prevent these accidents from happening, even if it’s hard to recover once they begin.
For example, many trailers will begin swaying or swinging slightly before they start sliding to the side and control is lost. Drivers who see small movements can slow down and regain control.
Drivers also have to keep a proper following distance. If the driver is forced to slam the brake pedal to the floor, that can cause the trailer to jackknife. Longer distances may be needed in snow, ice and rain. Obviously, truck drivers can’t anticipate everything — like a car that cuts the truck off and then hammers the brakes — but they should do what they can to avoid violent stops.
Finally, drivers are encouraged to keep full loads in their trucks as much as possible. A trailer that is weighed down is less likely to swing and therefore less likely to jackknife. Planning trips effectively in advance — to have a load when both arriving at and leaving a destination — can help.
Have you been injured in an accident with an out-of-control semi? It’s terrifying, it puts you in more danger than the semi driver, and it can lead to life-changing injuries. Be sure you know if you have a right to compensation.
Source: Bay & Bay Transportation, “How Truck Drivers Can Avoid Jackknifing,” accessed March 10, 2017