If you are driving a passenger vehicle on the highway alongside a tractor-trailer, it is understandable if you feel intimidated about the size difference in vehicles. Fortunately, truck drivers are held to a strict licensing standard, and they have remarkable understanding and control over their vehicles that come with years of experience and hard work. Furthermore, drivers grow fond of their vehicles over time, and through the experience, they accumulate they are able to predict most of the situations that can happen during driving.
However, accidents happen, and being involved in one can leave you and your passengers with serious, life-threatening, and catastrophic injuries. This is why it is so important for truck drivers to follow the rules and regulations of their industry and the road, and that all drivers around them can play their part by keeping a safe distance, only passing on the left, and never tailgating a tractor-trailer (or any other cars, for that matter!)
If you ever wondered how a truck driver could avoid causing a jackknife accident with their truck, take a look below at some of the most important steps that a driver must remember in dangerous situations. If you were involved in a jackknife accident with a truck, the following information may give you insight into how it happened, and possibly whether or not the truck driver failed to properly respond to the environment before causing the crash. If you have been in an accident, hire an attorney by contacting 1800injured.care for a free consultation today.
What Is a Jackknife Accident?
Before going any further, it will be helpful to understand what a jackknife accident actually is. Simply put, this type of accident happens when a truck hits the brakes and the tractor (the vehicle cab) stops, while the trailer swings out from behind to make a “V” shape like a jackknife being opened or closed. This sliding and skidding can cause serious injuries to anyone in the path of the trailer. In some cases, a jackknife may lead to a rollover, which can complicate the situation even more.
Add to that the fact that trucks are pretty large both in size and weight. Therefore, you can have some serious problems if something like this happens when you don’t expect it at all. It’s needless to say that every driver needs to develop some kind of sense that can help them during driving. Pretty much the only way you can do this is through experience and nothing much besides that. This is probably one of the most dangerous accidents you can find yourself in. So, you need to invest your best efforts in order to prevent it from happening.
1. Drive Slowly in Dangerous Weather
Inclement weather is a safety hazard to everyone on the road, including truck drivers. When a truck driver is traveling through weather such as rain, hail, or snow, it is important that they drive a safe speed so that they do not lose control of their vehicle. Due to the weather conditions, roads can be pretty slippery, and driving at high speeds can only influence the negative effects that can happen if you’re not careful.
2. Be Careful Around Corners
Since this type of accident is caused by the trailer swinging around to the side of the truck, it makes sense to pay extra care around corners to ensure that the vehicle does not lose control. When approaching a corner too quickly, the truck may be able to make the corner without issue, but the trailer may begin to skid and lose control. Once again, it needs to be said that maintaining control over the truck can be pretty hard during these situations.
Therefore, you need to have some kind of ability to predict these situations and prevent them before the situations become too dangerous. Corners can be pretty tricky, especially if the weather conditions are not going in your favor. So, giving your best in order to prevent them is something you should pay attention to.
3. Pay Attention to Traffic Ahead
One of the biggest causes of jackknife accidents is braking too quickly, so by paying attention to upcoming traffic a driver may be able to avoid a situation where they have to slam on their brakes to avoid a rear-end collision. Ample distance for braking is important for all vehicles, but especially with a massive vehicle like a tractor-trailer. Once again, we are talking about pretty dangerous situations that can have some pretty severe consequences.
Being focused on the road is not something that can be expected from the driver at all times. It simply isn’t possible. The situation can be even more complicated if you find yourself in a pretty bad traffic condition. It goes without saying that this is the most common situation while you drive in a city. But you can be sure that some of the roads where trucks are the commonest type of vehicles by far can be pretty busy. So, paying attention to all the signs can lead you a long way, believe us.
4. Don’t Tailgate
As with the last point, leaving plenty of space between a truck and the vehicle in front is a great way to avoid having to stop short, possibly triggering a jackknife or a number of other accidents. Tailgating is a dangerous behavior for everyone involved, because it can cause the lead driver to get distracted and intimidated, and can cause the rear driver to have to stop short. We can see that a high percentage of drivers don’t pay attention to this, which is pretty bad.
Maintaining a healthy distance between two vehicles can mean that you are able to predict some of the negatives that can occur from time to time. Plus, you can give the other driver some time to act by not being directly behind another vehicle. So, be responsible and careful at the same time. Don’t endanger both yourself and other participants in traffic. Plus, prepare yourself to act at any given moment, especially when it comes to avoiding situations where risks like this can arise from pretty much nothing.
The Bottom Line
Being a truck driver is a pretty hard job, you can be sure of that. Driving long distances without too much rest during the trip can be pretty dangerous. So, be sure that your level of carefulness is at the highest possible level. It goes without saying that the jackknife accident is pretty common, especially due to drivers being reckless for a couple of moments. Therefore, be sure that you have your focus on the whole duration of the trip.
Jackknife accidents are some of the most commonly seen involving large trucks. Inclement weather and driver fatigue can lead to mistakes on the road. If you’re involved in an accident and you feel you’ve been overworked, reach out to the team at Morris, King & Hodge for support.