A jackknifed tractor trailer on the highway is a somewhat common occurrence, but it is a lot more than just another traffic delay for those in vehicles around it. Jackknifing is a very dangerous situation and a common cause of injurious 18 wheeler wrecks. It is also a type of big rig accident that has the potential to leave many people injured and in need of the services of truck accident attorneys. Although it is not always possible to avoid becoming involved in an unexpected jackknife accident, understanding these events and how they happen helps all drivers to stay safer on the highways.
What Is A Jackknifed Tractor Trailer?
Tractor trailers are huge vehicles comprised of two articulating parts - the tractor, which houses the engine and the driver’s cab, and the trailer part, which carries the cargo. When a tractor trailer jackknifes, it means that the trailer part of the combination slides out of control, literally folding the two units in half like a pocket knife.
How Does Jackknifing Happen?
Jackknifing happens in conditions where the tractor part of the truck must stop quickly, and the trailer part loses traction and slides. The tractor, which controls the whole rig’s speed and braking, and how the combination maneuvers on the road, pulls the trailer along. In certain conditions - like when a driver needs to brake hard, or if the brakes fail and become locked up . The trailer portion of the truck can lose traction and slide to the side and keep moving forward until the rig becomes jackknifed.
Circumstances more likely to lead to jackknifing are roads with high traffic volume that are also traveling at high speeds, slick and slippery roads, poor mechanical maintenance leading to brake failure, driver inexperience, and many others. It requires a lot of skill to stop a loaded tractor trailer quickly without jackknifing. Sometimes it is unavoidable when there are things happening on the road that requires a driver to stop quickly.
Jackknifing Is Dangerous to All On The Road
The reason why a truck that is jackknifing is so dangerous is that due to its size, a big rig experiencing this effect will very often end up hitting cars around it. The trailer portion of a tractor trailer is as long as some highways are wide, so even when other drivers see it happening, there is not always room for them to get out of the way.
Out of control trailers hit other vehicles as they slide to the side, and they can even pin smaller vehicles between the trailer and the tractor, crushing them. These types of accidents also tend to happen most in high traffic conditions, meaning the chance that other vehicles will be involved is high.
Avoiding Jackknife Accidents
As mentioned above, much about jackknife accidents depends on driver experience and road conditions, but many times these incidents are difficult to prevent. The best prevention for those sharing the roads with tractor trailers, especially in high traffic or on slippery roads, is to give trucks space. By staying clear of big rigs in these conditions, even if a truck begins to jackknife, drivers can avoid having their own vehicles caught up in the momentum and stay safe.
Jackknifing is a highly dangerous, yet very common type of trucking accident that frequently results in property damage and serious injuries. Staying alert on the road, and being aware of driving conditions is the best way that other drivers can avoid becoming involved in dangerous 18 wheeler wrecks. If the inevitable should occur, anyone injured in a jackknifing accident should contact experienced truck accident attorneys as soon as possible to get the legal assistance needed for their truck accident injury claim.
Pearland, Pasadena, Webster, League City, Webster, Manvel, Alvin, Friendswood, La Marque, Texas City, and Galveston
Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Robert W. Hildebrand, Attorney at Law
J. Daniel Wilson, Attorney at Law
7830 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
Phone: (281) 408-2190