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What causes trucks to become involved in jackknife accidents?

If you've ever seen a tractor-trailer involved in a crash whereby the cab turns in the opposite direction of the trailer in what some would describe as a "V" shape, then you've seen a jackknife accident. These types of incidents are perhaps one of the scariest type of events that can happen to a truck driver.

They most often occur when a the semitruck's wheels lock at the same time the driver is approaching a slick spot. When this happens, the trailer will continue moving forward. The driver's loss of control over his wheels will cause the trailer to swing out in the opposite direction of the cab.

When a trucker notices that his wheels are locking, there are three main reasons they have difficulty in averting a jackknife incident. If the drive axles are locked up, then this almost always leads to a jackknife occurring.

If the trailer axles lock up, then it too can lead to this type of event occurring, largely because the trucker loses directional control. Third, if the steering axle brakes are locked, then it will continue propelling the rig straight ahead no matter what way the wheel is turned, ultimately causing it to jackknife.

Industry experts warn that jackknife incidents are best avoided by truckers always keeping a safe distance between them and others, especially when roads aren't dry. They note that it's important for truckers to avoid accelerating as they approach turns or bends as well.

Braking should always be a progressive move, not a sudden one as this can lead to a jackknife occurring. Truckers should also avoid making abrupt movements. If a trucker finds himself or herself skidding, it's also important that he or she steers in the direction of the skid in an effort to avoid a jackknife.

Jackknife incidents are among the deadliest types of truck accidents due largely to just how sudden, violent and unpredictable they are. If you've been seriously injured as a result of having been caught up in a jackknife crash, then a Houston attorney can advise you of your right to recover medical expenses and more in your case.

Source: Evan Transportation, "Why do jackknife accidents occur and how are they avoided?," accessed March 30, 2018

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