Large commercial trucks are substantially different than passenger vehicles in a number of ways. They are bigger and heavier, and they are all so structurally very different. Those differences are among the reasons that dangerous jackknifing incidents occur.
In a jackknife incident, the trailer of a commercial truck will wind up traveling in a different direction than the cab of the commercial truck, resulting in loss of control and the potential for major collisions. Understanding what causes jackknife incidents can help you stay safer while driving near commercial trucks.
Excessive speed and loss of control are the primary factors
At its most basic, a jackknife incident involves the two primary parts of a commercial truck no longer moving in the same directions safely. Heavy winds and slippery streets are major contributing factors, as a loss of traction is often one of the primary issues that lead to a jackknife event.
Commercial drivers and commercial truck fleet owners need to ensure that they engage in adequate maintenance of commercial trucks, particularly their tires, to avoid jackknife incidents. More importantly, commercial drivers should adjust their speed and driving practices to reflect road conditions that could lead to jackknife events.
Continuing to drive at or over the speed limit when the roads are slippery could drastically increase the likelihood of a jackknife incident. In most cases, jackknife incidents are preventable with proper driving practices. Those hurt in jackknife incidents may be able to use the very fact that the jackknife of the truck driver not engaging in safe driving practices or their employer failing to adequately maintain their vehicle when seeking compensation.