Disabled trucks can put other motorists in danger

Commercial vehicles don’t need to be moving to pose a threat to others. For instance, a disabled truck can lead to catastrophic crashes when it blocks traffic or causes secondary accidents when other drivers react to a stopped truck.

Below are a few reasons why trucks can be disabled and what motorists can do if they are in an accident with one.

Route or road restriction violations

There are certain roads on which large trucks and other commercial vehicles cannot travel. They may be too narrow or unable to bear the weight of a massive truck. Or, there could be turns, bridges and other impediments that prevent a large vehicle from navigating that area.

Trucks that travel on these roads can get stuck or cause structural damage, blocking roadways and causing congestion. Drivers should always be alert and use caution around commercial vehicles, particularly on tight roads and in residential neighborhoods.

Jackknifes

A truck can jackknife, meaning its trailer can swing up alongside the truck, disabling the vehicle. As this article notes, it is typically preventable. However, it can and does happen on slippery roads or when a trucker improperly brakes, as it results from a loss of friction. When a trailer starts to swing out, it can hit other vehicles or spill its cargo; a jackknifed truck can block roads.

If you see a truck’s trailer swinging out, keep your distance. And stay alert, especially in inclement weather. Drivers should also avoid cutting off a trucker or unnecessarily slamming on the brakes if a trucker is following closely behind.

Unsafe stopping on the shoulder

Truckers may stop on the side of the road for many reasons: to inspect a problem with the truck or to get some rest, for instance. However, stopping on the shoulder is dangerous and possibly illegal.

Motorists should keep an eye out for these trucks, even though they are not supposed to be there. If you see a trucker stopped, slow down or move over a lane if it is safe to do so. This gives the trucker space and makes it easier for you to avoid any contact with the truck.

These few tips can help truckers and motorists avoid catastrophic accidents resulting from a disabled commercial vehicle.

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