According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the United States saw a 6 percent increase in the number of large truck occupants in 2010. In that same year, over 10,000 truck occupants were killed due to a motor vehicle collision. In addition to the 6 percent increase in the number of large truck occupants, the U.S. also saw an 8.7 percent increase in the number of large truck fatalities due to traffic crashes.
Even worse than the above statistics, the U.S. sustained a 16 percent jump in the number of large truck occupants killed in multivehicle crashes. In general, the impact and severity of a truck collision is far more serious than that of a passenger vehicle. Jack knife accidents, in particular, present some of the greatest dangers present on the roads and highways of North Carolina today.
Large semi-trucks, 18 wheelers, and other vehicles which have a tractor and trailer component all have the potential to jack knife, which typically causes serious damages and severe injuries. A jack knife accident occurs when the tractor and trailer become out of line with one another, causing the trailer to swing around and create a “V” or an “L” shape. When this happens, the vehicle and the other vehicles on the road are at serious risk.
Due to the sheer size and weight of large trucks capable of jack knifing, jack knife accidents usually involve more than one vehicle, taking out smaller cars as they trailer swings across the road. Multi-vehicle pileups are common outcomes of jack knife collisions in North Carolina. If you or a loved one has been injured by a crash with a large commercial truck, Lewis & Keller is here to help you achieve justice.
To learn more about a Winston-Salem truck collision attorney, complete a Free Case Evaluation today.
Causes of Jack Knife Accidents
The folding of a semi-truck, commercial truck, tractor-trailer, 18-wheeler, or any kind of large truck is referred to as a jack knife collision. In a more “classic” situation, a jack knife accident involves the cab of the truck swinging around into the trailer. However, tandem trailer jack knife crashes are another common incidence, where the rear tandem trailer is in a locked position before the front axle or drive axle tandem.
Jack knife truck crashes are commonly associated with bad weather, such as snow or heavy rain. This association stems from the fact that jack knife accidents often occur when the truck driver brakes too suddenly, causing the trailer to swing around and fold. When the truck skids, the driver automatically slams on the brakes, initiating the jack knife motion.
While brake failure is the most common cause found in jack knife collisions, the following are a few additional causes:
- Sudden Braking
- Driver Error
- Inadequately adjusted brakes
- Improper Loading
- Slick surfaces (snow, rain, etc.)
- Empty Trailers
- Truck Axle Locks
- Distracted Driving
- High Speed Turns
- Shifted loads in trailer
- Failure in anti-lock system
When a jack knife accident occurs, the injuries associated are typically very severe. Due to the forceful impact of such a large vehicle, trucks have the potential to cause massive damages to other vehicles, as well as additional collisions due to vehicle pileups. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation to recover from your losses.
Lewis & Keller has a Winston-Salem truck collision attorney on staff and prepared to guide you throughout each step of the process. We understand that you are overwhelmed in the days following a collision, allow us to handle the litigation process so that you have an opportunity to get back to your normal life.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation to get started today.
How to Prevent Jack Knife Crashes
The American Trucking Association estimates that there are approximately 3.1 million truck drivers navigating the roads across the United States today. Responsible for transporting the goods that American consumers utilize and need every day, truck drivers have an enormous obligation to navigate the roads and highways safely.
While some accidents are simply unavoidable, there are a number of precautions that truckers can take to prevent jack knife crashes from occurring. The following are a few methods of minimizing the number of truck accidents, injuries, and fatalities:
- Ensure that all truck drivers have taken and passed both the written and driving test for truckers
- Reduce speeds during sharp turns
- Alter driving habits during adverse weather such as rain, snow, or heavy fog
- Pay attention to loads, light loads and uneven loads tend to cause jack knife accidents
- Anti-lock system to reduce the swinging of trailers
Because truck drivers are licensed to operate such enormous vehicles, they are held at a much higher standard than other operators of smaller vehicles. In doing so, they are required to properly load their trailers, exercise increased safety while navigating dangerous roads, and also err on the side of caution when taking turns. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to a jack knife truck collision, a Winston-Salem truck collision attorney is dedicated to seeking justice for you.
Contact a Winston-Salem Truck Collision Attorney
With years of combined experience, Lewis & Keller maintains the knowledge and resources to build a successful, winning case. When a truck accident occurs, we understand that the damages are typically severe. With this in mind, we exercise a heightened level of sensitivity when speaking with our clients. The overwhelming feeling following a crash can be difficult to handle, our lawyers understand that it is our responsibility to handle all legal aspects, leaving you to focus on feeling better.
Our offices in Winston-Salem and Greensboro have continued to service the residents of North Carolina with pride and passion. Our success lies in our ability to satisfy our clients. As a result, we dedicate our time, energy and resources to ensuring that we place our client in the best position to win the compensation that they deserve.
For more information regarding your case, please complete a Free Case Evaluation today.