A large truck "jackknifes" when some or all of its wheels lose traction on the road, causing the trailer on the truck to head in one direction, while the tractor or cab of the truck, either continues along its intended course or veers off in another direction.
The results of a jackknife in and around New Orleans can be devastating. Since the trucker no longer has control of his rig, the vehicle can easily sweep other cars, trucks or vans off the road, causing a serious and potentially catastrophic tractor-trailer accident.
Although no driver is immune to losing traction, it is possible for careful truck drivers to prevent jackknifing. For instance, one of the keys to avoiding this dangerous situation is to avoid braking hard, especially when traveling downhill or on a slick or wet surface.
Trying to avoid sudden stops means a truck driver to be aware of what is happening down the road and must anticipate how she will react to a sudden change. A driver who wants to avoid jackknifing cannot afford to be even a little preoccupied when driving.
Preventing jackknifing also means a driver has to keep his truck safe and in good working order. Poor brakes and balding tires can contribute to a jackknifing accident, as can an improperly loaded trailer.
It should come as no surprise that driving carefully and keeping one's truck well-maintained and safe goes a long way to prevent jackknifing, as these same things prevent other types of truck accidents as well. When truck drivers and trucking companies do not do what they can to prevent jackknife accidents, then they are putting other motorists at risk. If their carelessness actually causes an accident related to jackknifing, then victims can pursue compensation.