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Jackknife Accidents: Large Truck Hazards

By Luke Dow on January 10, 2018

A large truck coming right at a carLarge trucks are an essential part of commerce in the state of Texas. These vehicles bring good into and out of the state, and it's hard to imaging our roads without them. While most truck drivers are safe and attentive, some may act negligently, leading to catastrophic or even fatal truck accidents.

Jackknife truck accidents can be among the most deadly given what they involve. The team at our Austin, TX law firm would like to consider the basics of these kinds of accidents.

What Is a Jackknife Truck Accident?

Large trucks consist of two parts: a cab and the connected trailer. These parts of a vehicle articulate, allowing for greater control and maneuverability of the truck when making turns.

A jackknife truck accident refers to instances in which the trailer of the vehicle folds in toward the cabin. The motion is reminiscent of the folding of a pocket knife. When a large truck jackknifes, it can lead to the loss of vehicle control and the trailer swerving into adjacent lanes.

The Dangers of Jackknife Truck Accidents

When a large truck jackknifes, the trailer can strike vehicles that are in adjacent lanes. The truck itself may slam into vehicles ahead of it since the driver can no longer maneuver the vehicle. Large trucks can generate a great deal of force during impact given their size and weight. That is why collisions of this kind can be deadly.

Why Do Jackknife Truck Accidents Occur?

There are a number of common causes of jackknife truck accidents. These may include:

  • Sudden stopping and abrupt application of brakes
  • Abrupt movements of the steering wheel
  • Vehicle equipment failure
  • Poor road conditions/bad weather

When a truck's brakes fail, a truck driver may try to intentionally jackknife their vehicle as an attempt to slow down. This is generally an action of last resort given the risks involved.

Statistics on Jackknife Truck Accidents

The following numbers were compiled by the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In the year 2013, the following types of jackknife accidents were recorded:

  • 5,000 accidents only causing vehicle damage
  • 1,000 accidents only causing vehicle damage and injuries
  • 183 accidents resulting in motorist fatalities

Prevention of Jackknife Accidents

Jackknife truck accidents can be prevented. An experienced truck driver will know how to operate their vehicle safely, and understand how to break and turn with caution to minimize the risk of jackknifing. When driving in poor weather or on slippery roads, the truck driver can exercise additional caution to keep the vehicle safe.

Special equipment on a truck can help prevent jackknife accidents from happening. Electronics can help apply brakes to the trailer carefully, allowing the trailer to slow down at a rate similar to the cab.

Holding Negligent Parties Accountable

Even though a jackknife accident occurs, it may not be the driver's fault. Issues with equipment failure, poor vehicle maintenance, and other problems related to the road and other factors may have contributed to the accident.

Complexities like these are the main reason you should speak with an auto accident attorney about your case. They can analyze the evidence, decide whether or not you have a case worth pursuing and against whom, and determine your best course of legal action.

Contact Our Law Firm

For more information about your legal rights following a large truck accident, be sure to contact an experienced injury and accident attorney today. The team at Luke Dow Law Firm is here to help you in your time of legal need.

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