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Causes of Jackknife Trucking Accidents – and How Truckers Can Avoid Them

Jackknifing is a term used to describe the position a truck’s cab and trailer form during an accident. The form is similar to that of a semi-closed pocketknife, often shaped like a “V.”

Jackknifing frequently occurs due to treacherous weather conditions, poor braking, or improperly maintained equipment, and can result in severe and sometimes life-threatening trucking accidents.

While jackknifing can be treacherous for truck drivers, it is often even more dangerous to other vehicles in close proximity. Truck drivers can often avoid jackknifing by implementing standard safety practices.

Drive Carefully and Take Precautions to Stay Safe on the Road

Truck drivers should receive safety training, which includes a variety of braking procedures. Drivers should never slam on their brakes; instead, brakes should be applied gradually over the course of a stretch of road. This means truck drivers should also leave enough space between themselves and other vehicles.

Additionally, drivers should check for their trailers swinging while driving. If a swing is noticed, drivers should not continue to brake; releasing the brake will allow tires to regain traction on the road, especially if drivers can slightly accelerate. If attempting to go around a curve or downward bend, drivers should decelerate before approaching the turn.

Maintain Truck Cabs and Trailers

Most modern trucks are equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS). This system uses sensors to detect circumstances of probable wheel lockup and improves braking by applying pulsing brake pressure. If trucks are not equipped with ABS, it is ideal to outfit them with this functionality as a further precautionary measure.

When loads inside truck trailers are not properly distributed or are too light, jackknifing is much more likely. When weight is proportioned to one side, center of gravity can be thrown off. Light loads also cause trailers to become prone to swinging, and thus jackknifing.

Balding tires and worn brakes can also lead to accidents involving jackknifing. Truck drivers and trucking companies should perform brake, tire, and other mechanical upkeep on a regular basis.

Contact Ashenden & Hollingsworth, P.C. for a Free Truck Accident Consultation

Ashenden & Hollingsworth, P.C. is Atlanta’s leading trucking accident law firm. Our attorneys specialize in the representation of clients who have been injured in trucking accidents due to driver fatigue and negligence, defective trucking equipment, driver error, tire blowouts and other causes.

Learn more about our services or speak with one of our lawyers by contacting our office at (770) 394-8909. Feel free to also send us an email through our online form.