• By: Graham Sutliff
  • Published: May 2022

Due to their massive weight and size, trucks frequently cause accidents with devastating outcomes. Truck accidents occur for various reasons, but they are often caused by “jackknifing.” Named after the angle created by the blade and protecting handle of a pocket knife, jackknifing occurs when a commercial truck’s trailer and cab bend into a 90-degree angle. This type of accident puts the truck driver as well as other motorists at risk. Jackknife accidents have been known to cause fatalities.

Those who have been injured due to a jackknife accident may be entitled to compensation for their injuries and any damages they suffered as a result. It may be beneficial to work with truck accident lawyers who have the knowledge and experience to handle all the particulars of such a case while you focus on your recovery.

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How to Help Prevent Truck Jackknife Incidents in Texas

Learning how to recognize a potential jackknife incident before it happens can help prevent catastrophe. Below are some safe driving tips that apply especially in the case of driving around large trucks.

Keep a Safe Distance from the Truck

Keeping a safe distance between your car and the one in front of you is an essential aspect of road safety. If there is a truck ahead of you having problems, you want to have a good buffer zone that allows you to have time to react. Driving too closely or tailgating a truck will make it difficult for you to maneuver out of the way if the truck starts to show signs that it may be jackknifing.

Use Extreme Caution in Inclement Weather

Driving in extreme weather is vastly different than doing so in normal road conditions. Inclement weather makes roads much more dangerous. Weather like extreme cold or heavy rain requires drivers to maneuver more slowly and carefully as they could hydroplane or skid otherwise. Things can change quickly in poor weather conditions, and a truck is more likely to experience jackknifing in such weather.

Only Drive When You Are Fully Awake and Alert

Driving while fatigued can severely delay your reaction time. If a truck is jackknifing on the road, you must be able to react as quickly as possible to avoid getting involved in the accident. You may not be able to act quickly enough to avoid an accident if you are not fully awake and alert behind the wheel.

Observe the Posted Speed Limit and Other Traffic Laws

Speed limits and traffic laws are in place to keep roads orderly and safe. Neglecting to follow the posted speed limit or failing to adhere to traffic laws can make things more dangerous for you and other drivers, especially in cases where trucks are experiencing a jackknife accident. It’s more difficult to avoid such an accident if you drive too quickly. Speeding reduces the time you have to realize that a situation is dangerous and react to that danger.

Make Sure to Brake Properly

To avoid a jackknife accident, you should break gradually. It is risky to break unexpectedly, especially when driving near large commercial trucks. If you have to slam on your brakes, you may be driving too close to the truck, making it challenging to avoid the truck accident. Also, stopping so abruptly does not give the motorist behind you enough time to respond, potentially leading to a multi-car collision.

Check to See if the Truck’s Trailer Swings Whenever They Brake Hard

If you are on the road with a commercial truck, you should be able to recognize the signs of a truck about to have a jackknife accident. When a truck brakes hard, they are more susceptible to jackknifing because braking harshly makes a vehicle more susceptible to skidding, which is an integral part of jackknifing.

If you notice that a truck in front of you is braking hard, check to see if the truck’s trailer swings. It could be a sign that the trailer is becoming misaligned and about to cause the truck to jackknife.

See How the Attorneys at Sutliff & Stout Can Help Your Truck Accident Case

Driving with a large commercial vehicle on the road can be nerve-racking. You can do your best to drive safely to avoid a devastating accident, but accidents often happen when you least expect them. Trucking companies must properly train their drivers, but in some cases, drivers end up on the road without knowing how to operate the truck properly, leading to an accident. When that occurs, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.

At Sutliff & Stout, we realize how stressful it can be to deal with the aftermath of a jackknife accident. Our firm has represented many auto accident victims over the years, so we know how difficult it can be to stand up against the trucking business, insurance, and lawyers. Allow our Texas truck accident attorneys to assist you with the legal process. For a free case evaluation, contact our office immediately at (713) 987-7111 or fill out our contact form.

About the Author

Graham Sutliff is a founding partner at Sutliff & Stout, Injury & Accident Law Firm. Among other awards and certifications, he is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law and has been recognized by Thomson Reuters as a Super Lawyer for the past decade. In 2019 alone, Graham recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for his clients who were injured by others. To learn more about Graham, click here.

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