Explaining The Dangers Of A Florida Truck That Jackknifes

January 15, 2022 Personal Injury

Large trucks, such as tractor-trailers, are responsible for some of the most catastrophic accidents on Florida roadways. The leading cause of death in trucking accidents is due to jackknifing, which occurs when a truck with a cab and a trailer folds in on itself at the point where the two parts join together. It results in the cab and trailer forming a ninety-degree angle. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) report, approximately 10% of truck occupant fatalities are related to a jackknifing incident. 

Causes of Jackknifing 

Common causes of jackknifing include:

  • Speeding: A speeding truck can take a significant amount of time to slow down if a driver needs to stop quickly. When the driver slams on the brakes, they may lock up, causing the truck to jackknife.
  • Inclement Weather: Slippery roads and high winds can cause hazardous conditions leading to a jackknifing accident.
  • Cargo: Improperly secured cargo, or improperly weighted down load, can shift on the bed of a truck, causing the shipment to move around and cause an accident.
  • Curvy Roadways: Sharp curves can cause a truck with an extended trailer to swing, especially when the angle of the road is very steep. 
  • Equipment Failure: All equipment on a truck should have regular maintenance and any worn or defective parts replaced. However, even with these precautions, the equipment can sometimes fail, causing a tractor-trailer to jackknife.

Injuries Common in Jackknifing Accidents

Injuries incurred in jackknifing accidents have a high probability of being catastrophic. Some of the injuries most commonly seen in these accidents include:

  • Brain and Head Injuries: Injuries to the brain and head, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), skull fractures, broken bones in the face and head, and concussions.
  • Internal Injuries: Injuries are often sustained to internal organs due to broken ribs and seat belt injuries. 
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Injuries to the spinal cord causing partial or complete paralysis of the limbs. 
  • Lacerations & Burns: Lacerations, cuts, and burns are common occurrences.

Ways to Prevent A Jackknifing Accident

There are steps that truck drivers can take to reduce the risk of a jackknifing accident. They include:

  • Proper maintenance of equipment
  • Driving the speed limit, or less, especially when weather is bad
  • Keeping a safe distance from vehicles traveling in front of them on the roadways, enabling them plenty of time to stop in case of an emergency
  • Ensure that all cargo is loaded correctly and its weight evenly distributed
  • Gradual use of brakes
  • When driving around a curve, go slowly and do not suddenly engage the use of the brakes

An Experienced Florida Truck Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in a trucking accident or lost a loved one in Florida roadways, you need guidance from an experienced Florida truck accident attorney. You may reach us by calling 239-323-9820 or via our contact page.