Large commercial trucks, including big rigs, semis, and tractor-trailers, require a great deal of skill and care to drive safely. When these large vehicles lose control on the road, their massive size can cause tremendous damage. One example of a catastrophic loss of control is when trucks jackknife. Read on to learn about why jackknifing happens, and what can be done to prevent jackknifing.
The cab, also known as the “tractor” of the “tractor-trailer,” is the portion of the truck that has powered wheels and brakes. Should that portion of the truck come to an abrupt stop or skid sideways while braking, the non-powered wheels in the large trailer will continue moving in the same direction as before, causing the truck to fold into a V or jackknife shape. Truck drivers cannot control the vehicle after it jackknifes, and if the truck is moving at a sufficiently high speed, the truck can even roll over when jackknifing.
What causes trucks to jackknife?
For the most part, jackknifing occurs due to the truck losing traction with the road for one reason or another. Perhaps the truck’s brakes have locked up, robbing the driver of control and causing the wheels to skid, or icy or wet roadway conditions caused the skidding. Additionally, if the trailer’s wheels have lost traction with the road, then the trailer may cause the loss of control.
Proving liability for a jackknife accident
There are several common causes of a jackknifing accident that stem from negligence on behalf of the driver or carrier company. For example, if the carrier company has failed to properly load the trailer, a poorly-distributed load can cause the trailer to lose traction and to jackknife. Trucks that have not been subjected to necessary and regular maintenance may also be subject to jackknifing. Carrier companies must also provide extensive training to their drivers in how to decelerate and brake over a long period of time in order to minimize the risk of skidding. Drivers are obligated to devote their full skill and attention to the task of driving, and their employers may be held liable for any injuries these drivers cause through negligent or reckless driving.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a tractor-trailer accident in Florida or Alabama, find out if you have a claim for money damages for your injuries by contacting the dedicated and skilled personal injury attorneys at Whibbs Stone Barnett for a no-cost consultation, at 888-219-4561, with offices in Pensacola, Ft. Walton Beach, and Fairhope.