A jackknife truck accident is one of the scariest crashes that can occur on Georgia highways because of its potential to involve multiple other vehicles and their occupants. The length of a tractor-trailer and the truck pulling it can cross several lanes of traffic as it slides out of control, blocking other lanes and causing vehicle after vehicle to crash into it and each other. The results are often catastrophic, as many can remember was the case two years ago, when four tractor-trailers and a pickup truck were involved in an accident that killed both occupants of the pickup.
HowStuffWorks explains that jackknifing essentially is a loss of traction, which can happen easily on slick roads. If the tires begin skidding and the driver panics and slams on the brakes, they can lock and leave wheels without the traction needed to stop. If the wheels lock on either the tractor or trailer, the traction loss allows the rig to swing sideways, coming up alongside the tractor in an L-shape, or jackknife.
Along with speeding, slippery roads and brake failure, improper braking can cause a truck jackknife. The state’s Department of Driver Services offers specific instructions for truck drivers on how to brake properly in many traffic conditions, with and without antilock brakes.
Normal stops, emergency stops, stopping distance and how to handle a rig with brake failure are all described in the Georgia Commercial Drivers’ Manual. To obtain a commercial driver’s license, applicants must pass both a written and road test that measures their knowledge of how to properly brake, among many other skills. They also must demonstrate knowledge of proper driving techniques in dangerous conditions, such as slick roadways.
Like others on the road, truck drivers can panic, however, and do the wrong thing, or be involved in an accident that they did not cause. The facts are, however, that jackknifed truck accidents often have tragic consequences for others.