We rely on trucks and big rigs to get us our goods—food, water, gas, packages, products, and more—but we often fail to think about the actual process involved in getting these goods from Point A to Point B. The fact of the matter is that trucks are driven by men and women, and no matter how experienced or qualified these drivers are, they are still human, and prone to error, especially when it comes to operating such large vehicles over long stretches of highway.
Jackknifing is one truck driving risk that can cause serious damage to the truck and driver, as well as anyone else who happens to be sharing the road. Jackknifing is the term used to refer to any instance where an 18-wheeler truck or semi-tractor trailer skids on the road, and causes the trailer or back portion of the truck to swing out on one side—similar to the angle that a knife forms between the blade and the handle. A jackknifed truck can very easily roll over across the highway, wreaking havoc on any other cars in its path.
What Causes Jackknifing?
When the drive wheels on a truck lock up, and the truck is approaching a particularly wet or slippery spot on the road, the driver can lose control of the trailer. The trailer will continue to move forward even though the front of the truck is slowing down, and will swing out to the side. If this is about to happen, the truck driver can typically lock the steering axle brakes, which will keep the truck and trailer moving in a straight line, even if he turns the wheel.
This is the fastest way to prevent a truck from jackknifing, but if the driver fails to lock the steering axle brakes, and instead chooses a different braking option, he puts himself and the other drivers on the road at risk. Braking the truck by locking the drive axles or the trailer axles can cause the truck to jackknife.
Preventing Jackknifing Accidents
Truck drivers have a great deal of responsibility when they are hauling their cargo across the highway. Because their vehicles are so much bigger and heavier than regular cars and vans, they have more to worry about and consider whenever they’re behind the wheel, particularly in poor driving conditions.
Jackknifing can be avoided if a truck driver uses extra caution, and leaves enough space between his truck and the cars ahead and behind him, especially when it’s raining or snowing. Truck drivers can also avoid this hazard by maintaining the proper speed, while traveling in a straight line and taking bends and turns in the road.
Contact a Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If you have been injured in a truck accident that occurred because the truck jackknifed or rolled over, you may be able to seek restitution for your injuries and any damage done to your vehicle. For more information about truck accidents and jackknifing, contact a Chicago truck accident lawyer at Jackowiak Law Offices today.