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Avoid a winter jackknife crash by understanding the causes

On Behalf of | Dec 21, 2021 | Motor vehicle accidents |

In the winter months, Indiana tends to see ice and snow. These inclement conditions may lead to slick roads and hazards that make it dangerous for truck drivers to be on highways or other roadways.

As someone who has to commute to work, you may have no choice but to be around large trucks in the winter. If you will be, then you need to know the risk of a serious accident involving a jackknife.

What causes trucks to jackknife?

Jackknifing happens when there is uncontrolled braking of a semi-truck or truck-trailer combination vehicle. The uncontrolled braking results in the trailer rotating out of position, swinging into adjacent lanes.

Jackknife accidents are more common when the trailer isn’t symmetrically loaded or when the rear wheels don’t brake with the same intensity as the front wheels. For example, if the front cab has to stop quickly and the rear wheels cannot get enough friction to break due to ice and snow, then the trailer may swing to one side or the other. It won’t continue forward in most cases. This is because the hitch prevents the frame from doing so.

How can you recognize the risk of jackknifing?

When you’re around large trucks, you need to pay close attention to the driver’s behaviors. If they are braking quickly or if the trailer seems to be weaving in the lane, then you should attempt to back off by slowing down or speeding up to get ahead of the truck and out of the trailer’s potential swing range. If an accident occurs, then call 911 and consider looking into a claim against the driver for losing control of the vehicle.