31 December, 2011

Jackknifing Accident along Pan Borneo Highway

Trailers Skidded at Bkt Bangunan

This incident happened last weekend during the Christmas Holiday. This incident occured along the Pan Borneo Highway at Bukit Bangunan (uphill section on the way to Kuching). Along the Pan Borneo Highway, Bukit Bangunan section is the steepest uphill and downhill section of the highway where the gradient is about 10 degrees. This section of the highway had registered many accidents involving all types of vehicles.

In this case, the 18 wheelers trailer seemed to be involved in a jackknifing accident. Jackknifing means the folding of an articulated vehicle (such as a truck towing a trailer) such that it resembles the acute angle of folding knife. Refer to the following video as an example of jackknifing accident.

 I am still puzzled about this particular incident because based on the position of the vehicle, the trailer seemed to be traveling uphill and usually the vehicle is moving at a very low speed due to the steepness of the slope (about 10 degree). Jackknifing accident occurs usually at a very high speed where the momentum of the trailer will push it forward and causes it to spin and faces backward. Luckily, there are no casualties involved in this accident and also luckily that the trailer did not obstruct the major Pan Borneo Highway. If the trailer skidded in the other direction where the trailer obstruct both directions of the highway then the Pan Borneo Highway will be totally cut off and renders impassable to all traffics.

Therefore, the exact cause of this accident was due to speeding while the trailer was traveling downhill. Upon applying the brake, the back of the trailer jackknifing and the trailer kept on traveling in the opposite direction of the traveling lane until it stopped in the drain as shown in the picture above. Can you imagine if there were vehicles traveling uphill at the instances and you can imagine what possibilities that might happen to the oncoming vehicles. That is the reason why heavy vehicles must travel at a maximum of 80 kph speed limit.

In case that the trailer obstructed both traveling lanes, commuters between Kuching and the rest of major town in Sarawak will have to find other road alternatives (may be nearby estate road). Based on my observations, the trailer was left unattended at the particular accident spot for several days may be due to the long weekend where most of cranes or tow trucks are not easily available to help move the trailers from its position.

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