Interstates 95 and 75, the Florida Turnpike, and many other busy highways run through South Florida, and these routes carry heavy traffic from large trucks. Therefore, it is no surprise that crashes involving semis, 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, and other commercial vehicles are common. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there are more than 10,000 truck accidents yearly, causing 345 fatalities and injuries to almost 5,200 people.
Though any truck collision can cause serious harm, some types lead to massive destruction.
One of the most horrific scenarios with truck accidents is a jackknife, in which the trailer goes in one direction and the cab heads in the other. The result is an L-shape similar to a jackknife that skids sideways, taking down everything in its path. Florida law provides you with rights if you were hurt or lost a loved one, and a Miami jackknife truck accident attorney will handle the legal process. It is also helpful to understand how these collisions happen.
Causes of Florida Jackknife Accidents
Truck driver negligence is usually behind these incidents, where the operator fails to exercise reasonable care behind the wheel. Some of the most common causes of jackknife crashes are:
- Hazardous Weather Conditions: South Florida may not get the snow and sleet that often causes truck accidents, but plenty of other weather conditions affect driving. Heavy rain creates slippery surfaces, causing trucks to slide or hydroplane – often leading to a jackknife.
- Sharp Curves: Commercial vehicles are huge and carry enormous weight in cargo, so there are limitations when negotiating sharp turns and curves. The cab maneuvers the curve, but the trailer can swing out and around. The truck driver may lose control and cause a jackknife collision.
- Equipment Failure: Carelessness with inspections, maintenance, and repairs can often cause the truck’s parts and components to malfunction. The biggest concerns with jackknife accidents are brake and steering failure.
- Improper Loading: If crews do not properly load and secure the cargo, it can shift within the trailer. The imbalance may cause the trailer to move erratically.
- High Speed Limits: The FMCSA reports that a fully loaded semi traveling in normal weather and traffic conditions can take up to 200 yards to come to a stop. In the presence of a threat, the driver does not have sufficient distance. If the operator slams on the brakes, the trailer still has momentum. Often, the rig will overturn, putting any motorist in the vicinity in harm’s way.
Our Miami Truck Accidents Lawyers Will Support Your Rights
It is helpful to know how jackknife crashes happen, but you may not be able to avoid one when the truck driver does not take proper precautions. Our team at Gerson & Schwartz, PA is prepared to tackle the challenges with truck crash claims, so please contact us to discuss your legal remedies. You can call (305) 371-6000 or go online to schedule a free consultation at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL.