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Conditions that increase risk of tractor-trailers jackknifing

Truck drivers in Missouri have to deal with changing road conditions all the time. They use their knowledge of their vehicle and proper driving strategies to mitigate situations that could send their big rigs out of control. Jackknife accidents are a common occurrence on highways, and they often result from wet and slick roads or empty trailer loads.

Truck drivers can watch for the first signs of a jackknife by monitoring their trailers in their mirrors. A trailer that swings out means that the tractor and trailer are out of sync. Drivers should check for this problem whenever they need to brake hard. The early stage of a jackknife could be reversed if a driver releases pressure on the brakes. By allowing tires to turn again, the tires have a chance to regain traction and resume a proper course.

If a trailer starts to swing out when the brakes are not in use, a driver might correct it by accelerating slightly. If the tractor edges toward a jackknife, a driver might need to reduce speed to alleviate the problem.

Jackknife wrecks tend to happen when trailers are empty. The lighter load reduces tire traction and increases the chance of overbraking. Therefore, drivers need to be extra vigilant when hauling empty trailers.

A well-trained driver and functional systems like antilock brakes help reduce the chance of crashes occurring. A driver’s best efforts, however, cannot always prevent truck accidents. Additionally, driver fatigue, inadequate training or poor truck maintenance also can contribute to accidents. When a person suffers injuries in a truck crash that was caused by recklessness, an attorney could gather evidence to support a personal injury claim. A lawyer might collect trucking logs about driver hours and maintenance to illustrate the negligence that led to his or her client’s injuries.