What Causes Trucks to Jackknife?

Written by greg on February 21, 2019

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Truck accidents are among the most dangerous of all types of crashes on our roadways. Big rigs, also known as 18-wheelers, can cause terrifying crashes. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more than 3,800 people died in 2016 as a result of a truck accident. About one in 10 highway crashes involves a large commercial truck. Truck crashes are dangerous and can cause severe injuries and fatalities. One of the most dangerous types of truck crashes occurs when the truck jackknifes.

About Jackknife Accidents

We have all seen jackknifed truck crashes that sprawl across multiple lanes of highway traffic. Jackknife accidents occur when the cab of the truck skids in one direction while the trailer goes in another direction. In many of these crashes, the truck overturns because it is completely out of control. A jackknife crash can happen in an instant, and if you are behind the truck, you could end up getting caught up in the accident.

Jackknife crashes can occur for a variety of reasons. One of the most common problems that may cause a truck to jackknife is improper brake maintenance or adjustment. When the brakes are not functioning properly, it causes the axles to lock up, particularly when braking hard. Then, the truck is dragging the trailer with locked brakes, so it is pushed out to the side of the cab.

Traveling too fast is another reason for jackknifed semi trucks. Semi trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. Sudden braking is too much for a loaded trailer to handle, and the result is that the truck stops at a different rate of speed than the trailer, causing them to go in two different directions.

Road conditions may also cause trucks to jackknife. Roads that are slippery cause trucks to lose traction and slide. The driver is then unable to gain control and the result is a jackknife accident. Road curves and trying to maneuver around debris on the roadway can also cause a truck to jackknife.

Driver inexperience is likely a contributing factor to many jackknife accidents. An inexperienced driver or one who is fatigued is not able to properly handle the truck, especially when encountering an unexpected or challenging situation. Improved training and adequate rest is essential to ensuring proper control over an 18-wheeler.

What to do Following an 18-Wheeler Accident

Jackknife accidents often involve multiple vehicles. If you have been injured in an accident with a truck, always seek medical treatment immediately after the crash. Contact an experienced truck accident attorney to resolve your case and get the compensation you deserve. The cause of the accident needs to be determined. Sometimes the truck driver may not be at fault for the crash. A complete review of the accident will determine how it happened and whether the truck driver was negligent.

Truck accident cases can be extremely complicated. It is best to get help from a knowledgeable truck accident attorney as soon after the accident as possible. The law limits the time to file a claim to two years, in general.

Contact our legal team at Baumgartner Law Firm to discuss the details of your injuries today.

Call (281) 587-1111

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