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Why big trucks jackknife

At the Law Office of Kerley & Associates, we know how impatient you usually feel when you get stuck behind a line of 18-wheelers on one of Illinois’ roads or highways. If traffic is so heavy that you cannot quickly pass the trucks one by one, your frustration increases and you may attempt to pass several at once when you get a chance to do so, such as on a downhill grade with no oncoming vehicles. This can be a dangerous decision, however, because as Evan Transportation explains, the possibility of a jackknife increases substantially when a truck goes downhill or when it goes around a curve or turn in the road.

When a big truck jackknifes, its trailer folds in on its cab much the same way as your pocket knife closes. The angle between the trailer and cab becomes ever more acute and finally the trailer crashes into the cab. If such a catastrophic accident happens right in front of you, or right beside you, you face serious injury or even death in the resulting crash.

Jackknife causes

A jackknife happens when a truck’s trailer wheels fail to follow the direction its cab’s wheels go. This can happen under a variety of circumstances, including the following:

  • When the trailer wheels lose traction with the road, such as during rainy or other bad weather
  • When the driver fails to sufficiently reduce speed while negotiating a curve or turn
  • When the driver applies too much brake pressure while going downhill

Once the cab and trailer start jackknifing, the driver can do very little to control or prevent the impending crash. In addition, no one can predict exactly how a truck will behave during a jackknife. Your best strategy to prevent injury to yourself and your passengers is to respect the enormous size and weight of 18-wheelers and give them as wide a berth as possible.

For more information, please visit this page of our website.

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Springfield, IL 62704

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