Many people know that encountering a jack-knifed tractor trailer is a dangerous situation. However, many people may not know why an 18-wheeler ends up in this situation. Jack-knifing is the term that is used when a trailer is being pulled or if any vehicle starts to skid sideways and forms an “L” or a “V” shape.
Remarkably, trailers that are empty are most likely to jack-knife. The reason for this is weight. A full trailer has a greater weight than a trailer that is empty. But why does weight play such an important role in jack-knifing? Friction keeps the vehicles tires adhered to the road and helps keep the vehicle under control, and lighter vehicles have less friction than semis that are carrying cargo.
Jack-knifed trailers are commonly associated with icy or slick roads, however, even in these conditions, jack-knifing can be avoided. One way to help minimize the risk of jack-knifing is to carefully pack the trailer to evenly distribute the weight. This even distribution of weight increases the amount of friction the trailers tires have with the road and can help minimize the swaying in the trailer that often happens prior to a jack-knife. Drivers who are pulling trailers can also be vigilant in keeping a watch on the trailer in the side view mirrors, especially when the trailer is empty.
Another safety precaution drivers can follow is to try to avoid heavy braking when pulling a trailer. If a driver slams on the brakes the tires of the trailer can begin to skid and lose traction with the road.
It is important to remember that vehicles pulling a trailer are often heavier and take longer to stop then just a single vehicle. Therefore one should be extra alert and cautious whenever towing a trailer. Also, due to the extra weight traffic accidents that involve 18-wheelers and towed vehicles can result in more serious injuries to passengers. Truck drivers need to use caution to help minimize the incidents of jack-knifed tractor trailers and other commercial vehicles on the road.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, contract the experienced personal injury attorneys at Ferrara & Gable. Discussing the options that are available in your situation can help you know what option will be best for you and your family.