On our highways, some of the most terrifying crashes involve 18 wheelers that jackknife. A jackknifing truck is when the cab of the truck skidding in one direction while the trailer goes in another. Due to the length of these vehicles, they can take over the entire width of the highway once the jackknife starts, until the truck finally comes to a rest. Any vehicle caught in the middle of this accident is in real peril, and with forces pulling against each other, so is the driver of the big rig.
What Causes Jackknife Accidents?
Jackknifing can occur for several reasons. One reason is a slick highway. Whether there is precipitation, oil, or some other debris on the roadway, a jackknife can start if the truck driver loses control of his rig due to something causing a loss of firm connection to the road.
Traveling Too Fast
Another problem can be traveling too fast. Sometimes this means the driving is traveling too fast for conditions—fog, rain, ice—which can make a sudden stop necessary and causes a jackknife. Sometimes the conditions involve the load the driver is hauling. The greater the payload, the longer it will take to come to a complete stop.
Vehicle maintenance can be another problem that causes a truck to jackknife. Changing brakes, changing tires, and other maintenance not only takes time and effort, but it costs money. Sometimes the owner of rigs will put that maintenance off as long as possible. If the brakes get soft, the driver can slow down slower than expect and need to slam on the brakes resulting in a loss of control. If a tire blows out or doesn’t respond well to brakes, a jackknife can still happen. Either way, neglected maintenance can put the driver and others on the road at risk.
Finally, if a driver is not properly experienced for a variety of situations, they may panic when in a stressful situation on the road and cause a jackknife. Drowsy drivers may also get into a dangerous situation because their brain isn’t reacting to complicated driving conditions like it normally would.
If you find yourself in a terrifying crash—whether it is a jackknife or not, contact a professional to help you!