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How jackknifing happens and what it means for motorists

Every motorist is capable of making mistakes behind the wheel. Sometimes these mistakes are minor and no one even notices; other times, the mistakes have a catastrophic impact on the lives of many people. Oftentimes, it is impossible to predict which will be the case, so minimizing mistakes by paying attention and following proper procedure is always wise.

Let's consider this in the context of a jackknifing accident. These happen when the wheels of a truck lose their grip on the road and the trailer swings forward, making it impossible for the truck to continue moving. The cause of jackknifing can often be tied to improper operation.

As noted in this article, it is possible to avoid jackknifing with various acceleration and braking maneuvers as well as proper steering and cargo loading.

If a driver obeys speed limits and gives other vehicles enough room, he or she will have no reason to slam on the brakes. If a driver monitors the trailer in the mirror to watch for signs of swaying, any potential problems can be resolved before it is too late. Making sure the weight of the trailer is distributed evenly and using precaution when the trailer is empty can prevent loss of traction.

However, during any given trip, a driver can fail to do one or all these things. In some cases, there is no harm done; in other cases, the truck jackknifes and causes a serious hazard for other motorists on the road.

This is why it is so critical for commercial vehicle drivers to be alert and safe whenever they are behind the wheel. Those who are not, even if only for a brief moment, can end up causing a serious, potentially fatal accident.

If you have suffered injuries or lost a loved one due to an accident involving a jackknifed truck, it is critical that a thorough investigation is conducted. This will ensure that any mistake -- no matter how seemingly minor -- is uncovered. This information will provide critical support for any civil claim you choose to file against a negligent truck driver or owner.

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