The roads we travel are filled with large trucks, and we learn how to share the roads with these vehicles as soon as we begin driving. For the most part, cars and heavy trucks coexist on the roads without incident. However, when collisions involving passenger cars and commercial motor vehicles do occur, it can spell danger for the occupants of the smaller vehicle.
In 2014, there were 11,848 crashes involving large trucks in New York State. In these large truck collisions, there were 5,003 injuries, 4,002 of which were occupants of the smaller vehicle versus only 740 large truck occupants. There are many types of large truck accidents, including rear-end collisions, side-impact collisions, head-on collisions and jackknifing.
What is a Jackknife Accident?
Jackknifing occurs when a truck’s trailer moves in a perpendicular motion to the front portion of the vehicle, creating an angle that resembles an “L” shape, or a folding jackknife. Jackknifing can result in many different types of accidents, as other drivers can potentially get caught or struck by the truck’s trailer. Drivers attempting to avoid collisions could also become involved in an accident.
What Causes Jackknifing?
These accidents can occur in many different ways. Jackknifing accidents frequently involve braking issues and can often be traced back to driver error. For example, if a driver brakes suddenly on a slick surface, it can cause jackknifing. In some cases, defective or poorly maintained equipment can be the cause, such as poorly maintained brakes or tires.
How To Avoid Jackknifing
There are a few tips that truck drivers, or anyone operating a vehicle with a trailer attached, can do to avoid jackknifing.
- Always allow plenty of space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
- Leave extra space in between vehicles for braking in bad weather conditions like snow, ice or rain.
- Be especially mindful if carrying light loads or loads with poor weight distribution.
- Avoid braking excessively while navigating curves.
- If at all possible, avoid swerving and braking at the same time.
- Always have your equipment properly maintained and repaired.
What To Do Immediately Following A Jackknifing Accident
- First, make sure that you and those in your vehicle are safe.
- If you or anyone else has been injured, call for immediate medical attention.
- Contact the police so they can respond to the scene of the accident and file a report.
- If you are able to do so, take pictures of the scene and any damage to your vehicle.
- Talk to any witnesses and gather their contact information.
- Do not sign anything given to you by the truck driver or representative of their company.
- Contact your attorney.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a jackknifing accident, you might be able to receive compensation for your injuries. It is important to act as quickly as possible after these crashes. Large trucking companies have systems in place to reduce their liability after an accident involving one of their drivers. If a representative of that company approaches you, direct them to your attorney. The truck accident lawyers at Kaplan Lawyers PC have handled these types of cases before, and we know how to deal with the legal teams of trucking companies. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.