AR Highway 5 North was the site of a multi-vehicle accident during bad weather recently. According to THV 11, three tractor trailers ended up jackknifing, and one vehicle overturned. A request was made by emergency personnel for the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department to send salt or sand trucks to make clearing the road possible. However, this request was denied and the highway ended up being shut down, leaving some motorists stranded.
Tractor-trailer accidents, and especially jackknife crashes, can happen in bad weather. Unfortunately, truck crashes can also happen in good weather too when drivers make irresponsible choices. Jackknife crashes like the ones experienced by the three trucks during the recent bad weather event are among the most common kinds of crashes trucks become involved in. Two other especially common types of truck collisions include rollover accidents and underride accidents.
Common Types of Truck Accidents
The three trucks that jackknifed on the highway during the recent bad weather are among the many tractor-trailers that end up jackknifing because of driving on slippery roads. Wikihow cautions that using retarders or engine brakes while operating a truck on a slippery surface can cause the drive axle to lock up and the trailer to skid out. When a trailer skids, it can sometimes push out from behind and cause the entire towing vehicle to spin out. Drivers can lose control and can hurt themselves or others around them.
Truck drivers are urged to prevent jackknife truck accidents by avoiding high risk behaviors. Truckers should avoid fast braking when going down hills and should avoid braking and decelerating when coasting around curves.
Curves are also a location where truckers can have problems with rollover crashes. One paper from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicated rollover accidents account for 18 percent of all truck accidents and account for 35 percent of deadly truck accidents. Rollovers are more likely to occur with trucks because trucks are top heavy and have high centers of gravity. When going around curves, centrifugal force can cause the truck to lean away from the curve, creating a significant risk the truck will tip. An unbalanced load adds to the danger.
Truckers can try to prevent rollovers by going slowly around curves and keeping their loads more balanced. Truckers should also try to ensure appropriate safety equipment is used on their trucks. Using rear and side underride guards, for example, could help to keep motorists safe. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates more than 5,000 injuries occur each year and an estimated 432 fatalities each year occur because of underride accidents. These crashes happen when cars slide underneath the body of a truck, causing very serious injuries to those who are in the passenger car.
Truckers should try to prevent these three common kinds of crashes, which account for a significant number of total truck collisions.