By M0tty via Wikimedia Commons


One may think that driving a huge truck like a semitrailer makes you formidable on the road. However, on the contrary, truck drivers are put under great pressure than most motorists. In fact, they must possess the necessary experience in order to keep themselves, their load, as well as other people safe while on the highway. There are plenty of reasons behind road accidents; even though truckers try their best to keep those things from happening.

One of these particularly devastating truck accidents is called jackknifing.

What Is Truck Jackknifing

Jackknifing takes place when large vehicles such as semi trucks make sudden brakes. The trailer that is attached behind them continues to skid forward; causing it to spin at a 90 degree angle, just like a jackknife. Do NOT confuse jackknifing with trailer swing as both circumstances are completely different. During a trailer swing, the load or attached trailer merely swings on the left or right but returns into place. In a jackknife situation, it totally skids out of control.

What Causes a Truck To Jackknife

The main reason behind jackknifing is when a large vehicle suddenly hits the brakes. Here are other factors that could prompt a trucker from making such a dangerous move:

  • to avoid pedestrians
  • to prevent rear-ending another vehicle
  • to regain control of a vehicle from a low-friction surface of the road
  • to avoid hitting a parked automobile

Most truck jackknifing incidents occur due to brake problems, weather as well as road conditions. Sometimes, it’s the truck manufacturer’s fault for providing defective equipment. Every now and then, it’s the driver to blame for not doing routine maintenance before a trip. A thorough investigation needs to be done to uncover the true reasons behind a jackknifing episode.

Just because a semi jackknifed does NOT mean you will be compensated. As listed above, there are plenty of factors involved. There needs to be proof that the driver or another party had been negligent before you can be entitled to a claim. If you see a truck jackknife ahead of you, a good tip is to think quick and try to avoid the situation if you still can.

Fatalities from Jackknifed Semi Trucks

Getting involved in a jackknifing accident will result in serious – if not fatal – injuries and property damages. Semitrucks are allowed to weigh as much as 80,000 pounds on interstate highways and can carry trailers of up to 28 feet each. If you were driving behind or alongside them when they jackknife, consequences may be deadly. However, if you or your loved one were lucky enough not to suffer anything major, be sure to visit a doctor still. Some injuries take days or weeks to show up, so it’s important not to ignore them.

Semi truck accidents involving jackknifing could mean life or death. So when driving with these mammoth vehicles, it’s in your best intentions to follow road safety guidelines AND keep your distance. Trucks are notorious for having insane blind spots. Don’t be a statistic! Keep yourself – and your loved ones – safe from fatal truck accidents by practicing responsible driving habits.

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