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Avoiding a jackknifing incident

Many of the big rig accidents that occur in New Hampshire involve jackknifing. There are two types of jackknifing. In a trailer jackknife, the trailer wheels lose traction, usually during hard braking. In a tractor jackknife, the tractor wheels lose traction during sudden acceleration. To avoid causing a catastrophic accident, truckers should know how to avoid such incidents.

Truckers should first of all check their rearview mirrors for any trailer swing. This will happen more often when truckers are hauling a light load, the reason being that light loads give you less friction on the road. Light loads are also dangerous in that they make it easier to "overbrake." This is because the brakes are made for fully loaded trucks.

In the two types of jackknifing mentioned above, truckers obviously should know how to respond: letting up on the brakes in trailer jackknifing and letting up on the accelerator in tractor jackknifing. Before it comes to that, though, truckers should try to avoid incidents where they need to brake hard.

This means increasing one's distance from vehicles and decelerating slowly when approaching bends and curves. One should brake before a turn, not during it. Braking and swerving should never be simultaneous. Truckers can apply the brakes a little and then swerve before braking again.

Of course, it's not only truckers who can jackknife. Passenger vehicles towing trailers or boats can cause such an incident, too. When motor vehicle accidents are clearly the fault of one driver, victims may file a claim against the at-fault party's auto insurance company (or trucking company) for damages. The process can be difficult, so victims may want a lawyer by their side. The lawyer could handle all negotiations for a settlement, litigating only if necessary.

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