Truck Jackknifing Accidents A Serious Danger In Florida
Eighteen-wheelers and semi-tractor trailers truck drivers are charged with maintaining control over vehicles that are massive in terms of both size and weight, and even the slightest error or mistake can have potentially deadly consequences. In addition to endangering the truck driver, truck accidents present a major hazard for other motorists, and are an unfortunately common occurrence on highways and interstates throughout Florida. Jackknifing, in which the trailer end of the truck swings out causing it to go sideways, is one of the most common types of truck accidents, generally occurring under conditions which could have been avoided
Truck Jackknifing Accidents In Florida
A July 2017 truck accident on I-81 that killed two drivers and injured several others near the Gulf Coast in Florida is just one in a series of jackknifing accidents which occurred over the last six months throughout the state. According to the Sun Sentinel, the crash involved two tractor trailer drivers, one of whom jackknifed while going over a highway overpass. The truck went over the side and landed on the interstate below and immediately caught fire, while another tractor trailer following behind it jackknifed and became wedged into a bridge abutment before exploding in flames as well. The crash, which occurred at 9:30 p.m. on a Friday night, involved multiple vehicles, and left the interstate completely closed for hours afterward.
These types of accidents are not isolated incidences. Crash statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) indicate that jackknifes are one of the most common types of truck accidents, injuring more than 88,000 people each year while claiming the lives of as many as 4,000 others. In many of these cases, accidents could have been avoided had the driver followed proper procedures and the appropriate safety precautions.
Common Causes of Jackknifing Accidents
Union Test Prep, which helps to prepare semi-tractor trailer and other big rig drivers for their CDL license, claims that jackknifing accidents can happen to even the most experienced of drivers if they fail to take the steps needed to prevent them. Jackknifing accidents can occur when the tires of the truck lose traction, in which the wheels skid rather than roll, causing the vehicle to go sideways. Common reasons why this occurs include:
- Speeding and going too fast when going downhill or when taking curves or turns in the road;
- Wet, rainy road conditions, which decrease tire traction;
- Poor truck maintenance, such as faulty brakes or tires which are improperly inflated or lack tread;
- Improper loads, which can shift or put excess weight on one side of the trailer.
Once a truck begins skidding, truck drivers can potentially avoid a jackknife if they respond appropriately, but factors such as improper training, lack of preparation, and reckless driving may also be involved. If you suffer injuries as the result of this type of accident, contact Gregg Wexler. We can arrange a consultation with our West Palm Beach truck accident attorney, who can advise you on how to hold both the driver and the trucking company responsible for the damages you suffer.