Special Considerations in Florida Trucking Accident Cases
There are certain unique dangers that are often involved in truck accidents. These include:
- Jackknifing: Sudden braking or turning can cause large trucks to jackknife. Jackknifing is often the result of a truck driver's error.
- Turning Accidents: Often, truck drivers use two lanes to make a right turn. In some instances, the fact that a vehicle was turned in this manner is sufficient to establish a truck driver’s fault in an accident.
Rollover Trucking Accidents
While any vehicle can roll over under the right circumstances, those with a higher center of gravity - such as trucks, vans, and SUVs - are much more likely to do so.
Trucking rollover accidents typically occur at highway exit and entrance ramps,when a driver misjudges the turn and enters it going too fast. Other possible factors in a rollover semi-truck accident include:
- Not being aware of tractor/trailer limitations
- Steering truck onto soft shoulder
- Drifting off road and abruptly overcompensating
- Driving while impaired by fatigue, alcohol, drugs, etc.
- Driving recklessly
- Unusually top-heavy load
- Improper cargo distribution
- Load shift
- Collapsed suspension
- Under-inflated tires
- Poor brake performance
- Speed advisory
- Super elevation (banking)
- Transition curvature
- Shoulder condition
Jackknifing Semi-Truck Accidents
When used to describe a trucking accident, jackknifing refers to the dangerous situation when a semi-tractor trailer skids, causing it to swing out to one side. If a truck jackknifes at virtually any speed,there is a high likelihood of a rollover accident. Generally,jackknifing occurs when the wheels of a truck's cab lock up during wet or slippery conditions. While slippery roads can contribute to jackknifing, often jackknife trucking accidents are the result of negligence by the truck driver.
What Causes a Truck to Jackknife?
Jackknife accidents occur when the cab's wheels lock as the truck approaches a slick spot. The trailer continues to roll forward, causing the driver to lose control and the trailer to swing out to one side. During an emergency, a truck driver has three braking options:
- Locking the steering axle brakes, which causes the rig to move straight ahead regardless of wheel angle.
- Locking the drive axles. This often results in a jackknife accident.
- Locking the trailer axles, which may cause the driver to lose directional control.
In most cases, locking the steering axles clearly produces the most desirable outcome. Although the driver will not be able to steer the cab, the truck and the trailer will travel in a straight, predictable path. If a truck accident is caused by the driver locking the drive axles, he or she may be guilty of negligence.
Trucks have unique speed, turning, visibility, and braking requirements. When drivers fail to observe them, such negligence can cause or contribute to a truck accident. Often, truck drivers use two lanes to make a right turn. In some instances, the fact that a semi-tractor trailer was turned in this manner is sufficient to establish a truck driver’s liability in an accident.
At Michael T. Gibson, P.A., our semi-truck accident lawyers understand that the outcome of difficulties on the road depend on the driver's actions. Contact our Orlando Trucking Accident Attorneys right now by calling 407-490-1271 and schedule your free consultation.