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Jackknifing

Santa Clarita Truck Accident Attorney

If you have ever handled a pocket knife, you know that the mechanics of the tool cause a powerful snap when the knife is closed in on itself. An otherwise straight tool, the knife has a hinge between the handle and the blade that allows it to be folded in half and closed in on itself.

You also know that leaving a finger to be caught in-between as the knife is closing can be very painful. The same is for semi-trucks, which have a main cab connected to a large trailer by a hitch. Jackknife accidents earned their name because of the acute angle that takes form as the trailer swings into the cab, forming a narrow V-shape, much like the way a knife closes into the handle of a pocket-knife.

These accidents are one of the most dangerous types of truck accidents anyone can be caught in the middle of. For the driver, these accidents cause them to loose complete control of their vehicle, as the largest portion of the truck skids to the side and eliminates any ability to slow down or maneuver. For other motorists, there are a number of ways that they accidents can be extremely dangerous.

First, as the trailer swings to the side, it blocks oncoming traffic as a horizontal barrier. On high speed roads such as highways, it can be extremely difficult to react in time to avoid colliding with the trailed head on, especially a night when light is scarce.

Secondly, jackknife accidents can turn into real-life nightmares for cars or vehicles driving in the lane directly beside the truck when the trailer begins to fold in. As the V-shape turns into itself, the vehicle can get caught in between the trailer and the cab and be completely crushed as the giant trailer comes into meet its counterpart.

Causes of Jackknife Accidents

The science behind jackknife accidents is quite basic. There are a few key ingredients that make semi-trucks so susceptible to this type of accident: the weight of the vehicles, the split design and the velocity caused by speed and weight.

These three elements are combined in a few different ways to cause jackknife accidents:
  • Sudden Application of Brakes: This is either due to driver negligence or incompetence. The weight of the truck calls for slow and steady application of breaks because if the wheels lock, all of that weight is still moving at height speeds. The tires lose traction and the driver loses all control of the vehicle, leaving the trailer with a few options of how to keep moving at the current velocity. Its options are to rollover, skid or jackknife, all of which are extremely dangerous to both the driver's safety and others on the road.
  • Improperly Adjusted Brakes: The brakes of trucks must be adjusted according to the weight of the load they are carrying. If, for instance, a trailer is unloaded and the brakes are not properly adjusted, the signals between the cab brake system and the trailer can be misguided. If the brakes are improperly adjusted, a loaded trailer traveling at a high speed can easily jackknife.
  • Driver Negligence/Error: Driving trucks is something that requires caution, care and training. If a driver brakes and swerves at the same time, the large truck can easily jackknife. Speeding and dangerous driving also increase the likelihood of a jackknife accident as well.

Jackknife accidents are an especially common type of truck accidents in Santa Clarita, as the interstate 5 freeway travels through the valley and into the mountains. It is no secret that the freeway is a main travel path for trucks.

The downgrades on different parts of the road create a perfect climate for jackknifing especially if the driver is driving too fast, the road conditions are slippery, visibility is low or the truck is not maintained properly. Drivers should be aware and keep safe distances from semi-trucks to allow their drivers to react to changes in road conditions and to protect themselves from being collateral damage in the event that an accident does occur.

Jackknife Accident?
Call a Santa Clarita Injury Attorney Today!

If you were involved in a jackknife accident in the Santa Clarita area, turn to The Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus and find dependable legal assistance in claiming compensation for the damage. Jackknife accidents can cause some of the most serious if not fatal injuries. We understand the devastation and trauma that such an event can cause. The saddest part of jackknife accidents is that the most effected victims are often the most innocent. In such an event, you deserve to be compensated as much as possible in order to help you recover and move on from the accident.

Contact a Santa Clarita personal injury attorney today and receive a free case consultation on your situation.

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