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Why are jackknife accidents so dangerous?

On Behalf of | Oct 13, 2023 | Trucking Accidents |

In road safety, jackknife accidents stand out as one of the most dangerous scenarios. These incidents, characterized by a truck’s trailer folding in on itself, can have catastrophic consequences.

Analyzing the intricacies of jackknife accidents and exploring the factors that make them so hazardous can enable truck drivers to take the necessary measures to help prevent them.

What are jackknife accidents?

Jackknife accidents occur when a truck’s trailer swings out to one side, forming an acute angle with the truck cab. This resembles the motion of a pocket knife folding, hence the name “jackknife.” The outcome is a dangerously uncontrollable situation, with the potential for devastating collisions and highway chaos.

These accidents primarily result from a loss of traction and control on the road. For instance, if a truck’s rear wheels lose traction while the front wheels maintain it during heavy braking, the trailer can skid out of control. Rain, ice or oil on the road can also reduce tire traction, making it easier for a trailer to jackknife. Sharp turns or overcorrection while steering and malfunctions in a truck’s braking system can also trigger a jackknife.

The dangers of jackknife accidents

Due to the size and weight of commercial trucks, jackknife accidents often result in fatalities. Collisions involving these massive vehicles can be devastating for all parties involved.

Additionally, when a truck jackknifes on a busy road, it can block multiple lanes and disrupt traffic for hours. This not only causes inconvenience but also increases the risk of secondary accidents.

Moreover, spills of hazardous materials from the truck’s cargo can result from jackknife accidents, posing a significant environmental risk.

Suppose you suffer catastrophic injuries in a crash caused by a commercial truck; you should consider pursuing compensation for your losses.