Why are Jackknife Truck Accidents So Dangerous?

A dangerous jackknifing accident can occur when a large commercial vehicle begins skidding and its trailer swings to a 90-degree angle. When truck drivers jackknife their trucks, they are more likely to cause a rollover accident, even if they drive at slower speeds. Some jackknife accidents happen when professional truck drivers who should know how to maneuver their vehicles safely fail to do so. Jackknife accidents are dangerous because they leave the truck in a position where it is blocking part of the roadway, becoming a danger to oncoming traffic.

Why Do Jackknife Accidents Occur?

A driver might find their truck in a jackknife position if the wheels lock while driving over a slick spot and the truck's front wheels and the trailer continue moving forward. They can also happen when the roads are slippery and a driver takes a curve too quickly or has to swerve to avoid colliding with another vehicle. Driver inexperience and fatigue are other common causes of jackknife accidents. When drivers are fatigued, their judgment and reaction time will be impaired. In this condition, they are more likely to jackknife the truck.

Sometimes, trucking companies hire new drivers who may have a commercial driver's license but may need to be more experienced or have enough training to drive a vehicle safely. They may be incentivized to hire younger, inexperienced drivers so they can pay them less than more experienced drivers. However, when inexperienced drivers get into a situation where their trucks jackknife, it may be because they were unprepared to respond properly when they encountered a dangerous situation. Trucking companies must ensure their employees receive enough training and experience to operate their vehicles safely.

When a Truck Jackknives, the Driver May Be At Fault

When trucks jackknife, it is not always the truck driver's fault, but in many cases, the driver's negligence contributed to the accident. Truck drivers should always engage in the following types of safe driving practices to avoid jackknife collisions:

  • Maintain a safe distance between the truck and other vehicles sharing the road
  • Do not decelerate when turning or approaching bends
  • Try to break early and spread the break over the longest distance possible
  • Do not take sudden evasive actions or swerve
  • If the truck starts to skid, steer in the direction of the skid, not away from it
Jackknife Truck Accidents Can Cause Severe Injuries

Accidents are dangerous for several reasons. The truck's size and weight can significantly damage other buildings, cars, or objects on the road. The trailer can swing out uncontrollably and collide with anything in its path. When a truck jackknifes, it often blocks multiple lanes of traffic, leading to additional car accidents.

Multi-vehicle pileups on the highway can cause fires and explosions, making it difficult for emergency personnel to reach the victims. Jackknife accidents can also cause severe injuries or fatalities to drivers and passengers in smaller vehicles. When a massive truck collides with a smaller vehicle, the smaller vehicle often bears the brunt of the impact, leading to catastrophic injuries or death.

How Do People Get Injured in Jackknife Accidents?

There are several ways in which people can get injured in jackknife truck accidents. If a truck collides with another car, the driver and passengers in that vehicle may suffer serious injuries such as brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, bone fractures, burns, internal organ damage, or even death. If the vehicle is approaching the right angle of the truck, it could easily slide under the carriage, which is called an underride collision. Underride collisions are frequently fatal because the truck crashes the front and top of the vehicle.

Victims can become injured in jackknife accidents due to secondary collisions. For example, when a truck jackknives and blocks multiple lanes of traffic, other vehicles may collide with the truck or with each other while attempting to avoid contributing to the pileup accident. Secondary truck accidents can also cause catastrophic injuries, severe burns, bone fractures, or even fatalities to those individuals who are involved.

How Can a Charlotte Attorney Help Me After a Truck Jackknife Accident?

Accidents involving commercial vehicles can be difficult and complex. When you work with Arnold & Smith, PLLC, you can rest assured that we will carefully investigate the accident, gather evidence, and determine who is liable for your injuries and losses. The fault may lie with the driver, the trucking company, the manufacturing company, or all of the above. Our attorneys know how to negotiate with insurance companies and other parties to pursue the full compensation you need. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to schedule a complimentary case evaluation.

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