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How truck drivers can avoid jackknifing

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2019 | Truck Accidents |

Large truck accidents are all too common in West Virginia, and many of these accidents involve jackknifing, which is when the truck folds in on itself. Jackknifing is preventable; it’s simply that truckers may be inexperienced and not follow certain safety guidelines. Below are a few tips that truckers should follow to avoid jackknifing.

It all starts with checking one’s mirrors frequently for trailer swing. There are two forms of jackknifing to watch for: trailer jackknifing, where the trailer wheels lose traction, and tractor jackknifing, which involves the tractor wheels. The former can arise during braking while the latter can be caused by sudden acceleration. The obvious thing to do, then, is to let up either on the brake or on the gas pedal.

Proper braking is essential. For instance, one should not brake during turns but before them. One should also decelerate slowly when approaching bends and curves. It’s important to try to avoid braking and swerving at the same time. To avoid situations where they must brake hard, truckers should maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of them.

The risk for jackknifing goes up the lighter the load one is hauling. The brakes being designed for fully loaded trucks, over-braking is more common in such cases. Lighter loads mean less traction on the road, too.

When commercial trucks are involved in jackknifing incidents, and if someone is injured in them, then the victim may be able to file a claim against the trucking company. Truck accidents usually end badly for those in passenger vehicles with catastrophic injuries or even death being the result. A successful injury claim might cover things like medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages. Victims may want a lawyer to evaluate their case. The statute of limitations for most accident cases is two years.