By: Passalacqua & Associates

What Does “Jackknife” Mean in Regards to a Semi-Truck?

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You may have come across accidents involving semi-trucks in the past where the truck and trailer appear to be going in separate directions. The truck or trailer may also be overturned, as is sometimes the case. This is a result of the Semi-Truck getting into a jackknife situation. Multiple things can cause this to happen, which we will discuss further below.

If you have been impacted by a jackknife accident and would like a strategy session with a trusted team of attorneys, contact our law firm today at (315) 500-6425.

What Causes a Semi-Truck To Jackknife?

There are multiple scenarios that can cause a semi to jackknife.

Speeding is one of the main causes of these accidents. Even empty trailers attached to semis are extensively heavier than average vehicles on the road. If the trailer is loaded down, this can add tons of weight, and if the truck needs to slow down abruptly, the trailer and truck sometimes slow down at different speeds, causing the trailer to push up towards the front or in a different direction than the truck itself.

If inclement weather is in the area, this can be the main cause of these accidents as well. Whether the driver is experienced or not, sometimes weather-related issues on the road can cause even the best drivers to end up in situations they wouldn’t normally be in. Several of the operators of semi-trucks travel long distances, crossing into and out of multiple weather systems, causing their risks to be higher.

Substantial training and rest are incredibly important for operators of these vehicles. Just as they are important to those of us driving average-sized vehicles, when operating something on a much bigger scale, reaction times are different and make preparation, training, and rest imperative for safety.

Brakes malfunctioning can also cause these instances to occur. Axles can lock up due to brake malfunction (this can also happen due to inclement weather), causing the trailer to move out of alignment with the truck and causing the truck to jackknife.

Can Improperly Loaded Cargo Cause a Truck Accident?

What the trailer is hauling is also important to safely operating a truck and avoiding a jackknife situation. If the weight is distributed improperly, a natural imbalance occurs and can cause the trailer to shift erratically. Similarly, if the cargo isn’t secured properly within the trailer and shifts while the truck is moving, this can end in the same result.

Why Do I Need Attorneys?

Chances are, if you are involved in one of these accidents, you have a long road to recovery, and it is important to have experienced representation from the beginning. Having a trained team to help you understand your rights and what to expect moving forward can be invaluable. Contact us today at (315) 500-6425 to learn more about your options and how to get started.