When one is driving next to an 18-wheeler, one must be aware at all times that it does not behave the same way as an automobile. A semi-truck is technically in two pieces at all times, and sometimes one piece will travel at a different speed than the other, which can lead to unpredictability. When accidents occur due to this proclivity, it is referred to as jackknifing. If you have been injured in an accident with a jackknifing truck, you may be entitled to compensation, but it is imperative that you understand the ramifications of the situation.
When Does It Happen?
If one examines statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), one can see that the recorded number of jackknife accidents is fairly low. However, a significantly higher percentage of jackknife accidents resulted in fatalities (5.6 percent) than injuries (roughly 0.8 percent) or property damage (0.5 percent). It is understandable to conclude that jackknife accidents are highly dangerous, even if one may not understand why.
There are multiple causes of jackknifed trucks, but many of them relate back to weather issues. Because an 18-wheeler is in two pieces, joined by a pivot point, either piece skidding can cause real problems. If a driver is unable to retain control over both pieces, the weight of the piece that may be slipping or skidding will pull the other piece with it. Thus, anything that makes it more likely that the truck will lose control can be a cause, and weather is among the most common. Everything from ice on the road to too much salt in one’s brake lines can potentially cause a loss of traction and control.
How to Avoid Accidents
While obviously, some accidents simply happen, others are avoidable with the right amount of precaution and the ability to foresee potential problems. A truck driver can avoid being involved in such an accident (or at least drastically lower their chances) by taking actions like doing preemptive maintenance on brake lines and tires and driving defensively. They can also ensure that they have taken enough time to replenish their faculties and catch up on sleep – driver fatigue has been shown to play a major role in truck crashes of all types.
If you have been injured in an accident with a jackknifed truck, you may want to investigate whether or not these suggestions have been followed, or whether issues like maintenance and driver well-being have been ignored. While there is no set of hard and fast rules that will always guarantee safety, common sense measures are important and can help a truck driver lower their chances of causing or being involved in a dangerous crash.
Contact Our Truck Accident Lawyers Today
Texas highways see countless numbers of truck accidents each year, and if you are unfortunate enough to experience one, you need an attorney you can trust to help you obtain appropriate compensation. The dedicated New Braunfels accident attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm are happy to try and assist you with your case and to try and get you the compensation you need to get back on your feet. Contact our office today to set up a consultation.