A flatbed 18-wheeler laden with scrap metal jack-knifed across eastbound Loop 1604, spilling debris and causing multiple vehicle crashes.
The wreck took place near the Green Mountain Road exit. The truck driver apparently rounded a corner at a high rate of speed, causing the back of the truck to smash into a concrete median. As the vehicle began to jack-knife, two trailing cars slammed into the out-of-control tractor-trailer; a third car was forced off the highway and careened down a grassy embankment.
At least one driver was rushed to the hospital with multiple injuries, and authorities completely shut down the highway to investigate and clean up the site.
Dangerous Truck Crashes
Large trucks nearly always jack-knife if the trailers exceed a 45-degree angle from the cabs. If that happens, the drivers completely lose control of the vehicles, regardless of their individual experience levels, and the 80,000-pound truck proceeds along the highway horizontally instead of vertically. The government estimates that about 5 percent of large truck crashes involve a jackknifed vehicle.
Some of the factors that contribute to jack-knife crashes include:
- Speed: In most cases, the driver controls the cab and not the trailer. So, when the driver steers around a corner, the trailer should follow. But if the driver is going even a few miles per hour too fast, the trailer keeps moving forward for a split second or two, and that amount of time is often enough to cause disaster.
- Slick roads: If there is any moisture on the pavement, truck drivers must slow down even further, because if the tires cannot grip properly, the load may shift. But many drivers are paid by the load, so slowing down is not really a viable economic option.
- Equipment failure: If the brakes, hitch, and other items are not meticulously examined and maintained, any flaw can cause a serious wreck, especially given the extreme wear and tear that takes place on the road.
Due to the extreme nature of the injuries from burning fuel and large metal, victims in these cases are often entitled to significant compensation for their economic and noneconomic losses. Punitive damages are also available, in some cases.
Large truck crashes cause devastating losses. For a free consultation with an experienced New Braunfels personal injury attorney, contact us. Our main office is conveniently located between Austin and San Antonio.