Many truck accidents happen in Kentucky when a tractor-trailer or other large commercial vehicle jackknifes while traveling on this state’s highways. A jackknife happens when a truck’s tires are no longer gripping the road to maintain traction meaning, just like a person who has lost his balance, the truck will start to travel in two different directions, the trailer going one way and the truck itself going another.
When this happens, the truck’s trailer may sweep in to other lanes of traffic, catching other motorist unaware and hitting them with the full weight of the truck’s trailer. Obviously, such a scenario can leave other Kentucky motorists seriously injured or even dead.
Truck jackknifing usually involves a braking issue, which is why it often happens when a truck is heading downhill or through a curve and is trying not to pick up too much speed. A lot of times, hitting the brakes too quickly or doing so when the roads are wet or icy can cause the truck to jackknife, as can the improper loading of the trailer. Even the most experienced truck drivers can jackknife their vehicles, however, so jackknifing should not be considered a rookie mistake.
Sometimes, even the truck’s equipment itself can contribute to jackknifing. For this reason, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandates that many if not most trucks have an anti-lock braking system and imposes additional mandates for the braking systems on tractor-trailers. The goal of these regulations is to prevent a dangerous jackknifing situation.
Although jackknifing happens for many reasons, it is actually a preventable occurrence. Drivers need to be mindful of what is happening down the road so they don’t have to brake suddenly or too hard, especially in less than ideal road conditions like rain or snow. Trucking companies need to ensure that their trucks’ braking systems are in good order, and all parties need to make sure a truck gets loaded correctly every time.
When drivers and companies do not do these things, Kentucky motorists can easily get hurt in a jackknifing accident. These victims should consider their options for pursuing compensation against the truck driver and his trucking company.