The massive size and mass of semi-trucks make them especially dangerous when they’re involved in accidents on our highways and roads. In fact, big rigs are responsible for some of the deadliest motor-vehicle accidents. These highway giants seem to materialize everywhere, all in response to our ever-increasing consumer demands. With more big rigs come more accidents, and these can include a jackknife truck accident, which are often caused by driver error.
With Highways 99 and 5 locally, which are state thoroughfares, Sacramento drivers encounter a lot of trucks during their daily driving. Unfortunately, the sheer number of trucks on the road increases the likelihood that you could be injured in a truck accident. If this has happened to you, after you’re recovered, contact a Sacramento truck accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Zappettini & Bradley.
Truck Accidents Statistics
Unfortunately, in a jackknife truck accident, the most serious injuries and fatalities occur in the passenger vehicle and not the semi. Passengers in smaller vehicles are more vulnerable to the forces at play in a truck accident. Typically, a big rig weighs 20-30 times more than a passenger vehicle, and they are taller with higher ground-clearance, which is great for them, but can be disastrous if another vehicle gets caught underneath.
- A total of 3989 people died as a result of large truck accidents in 2016
- Truck accident fatalities were higher by 27% from 2009 to 2016
- More than 11% of all traffic fatalities in 2015 involved big rigs
- 97% of vehicle occupants killed in two-vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck in 2016 were occupants of the passenger vehicles.
These stats are pretty disturbing, but the do serve to demonstrate how dangerous accidents with big trucks can be. It’s impossible to avoid every truck on the road, but you can certainly be sure you understand how to share the roads with them safely.
Were you injured in an accident with a jackknifed big rig? If the answer is yes, it’s crucial to consult a qualified truck accident attorneys as soon as you are able. Your health and rights are way too important to gamble with. You can count on the compassionate and dedicated team at the Law Offices of Zappettini & Bradley in Sacramento to make sure truck accident victims get the maximum amount of compensation available.
Involved in a Jackknife Truck Accident?
In a semi truck, there is a joint between the cab and the trailer, and many refer to them as “articulated” vehicles. By placing the joint in the vehicle’s frame, large trucks become more maneuverable, but they also have an increased risk of a particular type of accident., called a “jackknife” accident.
A jackknife truck accident involves the trailer and cab fold toward each other, resembling the closing of a jackknife (pocket knife). There are variables that can contribute to a semi jackknifing, and most of them pertain to driver error or negligence. Here are a few of them:
- Improper braking for the conditions
- Distracted driving
- Turning too quickly
- Poorly loaded cargo
As driving professionals, with specialized licenses, truck drivers are held to higher standard than the drivers of passenger vehicles. Just one of the above elements can be enough to trigger a jackknife truck accident, and every one is directly linked to driver negligence. In the case of improperly loaded cargo, however, a driver may share liability with the loading crew or trucking company.
Let examine more connected elements in jackknife accidents a little more:
Every trucker carries a massive responsibility when operating such a massive vehicle. If a truck driver makes the conscious choice to speed, or make unsafe lane changes, said truck driver is driving negligently and dangerously. With increased speed comes increased stopping distance, and speed is a huge factor in jackknife accidents.
Generally, mild turns or curves aren’t much of an issue for truck drivers, steep or sharp ones can certainly present a hazard. Steeper, sharper curves or turns carry an increased risk of jackknife accidents. Truck drivers are supposed to be well versed in this area, and ideally are very attentive in these areas.
In California, we are pretty blessed with our weather, but we do get rain and fog that can reduce visibility and traction on the roadways. Any loss in traction for an 18-wheeler can result in a major accident, including a jackknife. Bad weather often means slippery roads and low visibility, and when it comes to 18-wheelers, any decrease in traction with the roadway can lead to dangerous accidents, including jackknifing. It is vital that truck drivers exercise due regard to contribute to roadway safety during bad weather conditions.
Big rigs represent a significant hazard on our roads, and their drivers must follow to strict safety practices—or endanger everyone else they share the roads with.
Distracted driving is the number one cause of all accidents, including trucking accidents. This has become such an epidemic, that the US created an entire website devoted to the subject. Anything that takes your attention from the task of driving is considered to be a “distraction.” There are three categories of distractions:
- Cognitive distractions
- Manual distractions
- Visual distractions
Cellphones are really the trifecta of distractions. They encompass all three categories, and when a truck driver is distracted by a mobile device, they are far more likely to be involved in a jackknife, or any other type of accident. Due to the mass involved, any collisions with a semi can have catastrophic consequences.
Why do You Need an Attorney?
Any trucking accident can be scary, and a jackknife truck accident even more so. If you were hurt in a jackknife accident, an experienced attorney can help you through this difficult time, and make sure you are fully compensated for your injuries. That way you can worry about recovering. The Law Offices of Zappettini & Bradley are experienced with trucking accidents, and are committed to making sure you get the compensation you are entitled to. Contact us today at 916-457-5022 or schedule a FREE CASE EVALUATION here.