Semi-Trailer Jack-knifes in Melbourne causing Fatal Crash

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A woman and two horses were killed when a semi-trailer collided with two oncoming vehicles on the Melba Highway at Dixons Creek, north-east of Melbourne.

According to police the semitrailer jack-knifed on the highway and collided with 2 oncoming vehicles.

The incident is a sobering reminder of how serious truck jack knifes can be not only for the truck involved but for other road users who are unlucky enough to be in the vicinity.

Read what happened in the Melbourne incident below, the post is taken from

ONE person has died and at least three others have been injured after a semitrailer collided with two vehicles, including one towing a horse-float, in Melbourne’s outer northeast.

Police believe the semitrailer jack-knifed on the Melba Highway, causing it to collide with two oncoming vehicles about 8.20pm (AEST) on Sunday.

The driver and sole occupant of one vehicle died, while the extent of injuries to the pair trapped in the other vehicle bearing the horse float were unknown, police said.

Emergency crews were working to free the pair, as well as the horse, from the crash.

The male truck driver, aged in his late thirties, suffered minor injuries.

Victoria’s road toll stands at 68, compared to 80 at the same time a year ago.

Read more:

Truckies, how can you guard against a similar incident happening to you?

In order to avoid a jack knife occurring, it is vital to understand why it happens in the first place.

Although a few different factors could cause a vehicle and its trailer to jack-knife, it usually comes down to a loss of traction. Traction has to do with how well a wheel’s tyres grip the road. It’s essential to what makes wheels work.

Wet or slick roads are most commonly the cause of a loss of traction or friction between the tyres and the road surface. Skidding tyres are resisted only by sliding friction, which isn’t as powerful as static friction. In this way, slamming on the brakes could have an adverse effect, causing the tyres to lock and leave the skidding wheel without enough traction to stop. If the tractor or the trailer wheels lock, the loss of traction will allow the rig to swing sideways out of control into a jack-knife.

Sometimes jack-knifes are the result of driver negligence. Truck drivers can avoid jack-knifing by:

  • Keeping a safe distance from other vehicles on the road (especially in wet or slippery conditions).
  • Not decelerating using the brakes at turns or bends. The driver should brake in a straight line prior to the turn. Speed can be increased after the turn is completed.
  • Spreading braking over the longest distance possible.
  • Not braking and swerving during evasive actions. If possible, the truck driver should brake first, release the brakes, swerve, and then reapply the brakes.
  • When the tractor is skidding, the truckie should release the brakes and steer into the skid before the skid causes the truck to jack-knife and possibly crash into other vehicles.
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