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What are the leading causes of jackknife truck accidents?

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2023 | Auto Accidents |

A jackknife truck accident occurs when a large commercial truck skids, causing the trailer to swing outward and form a “V” or “L” shape with the cab. This term is derived from the folding motion resembling the folding of a pocket knife. Jackknifing poses significant risks to the driver, other motorists and property, making it a crucial concern for road safety.

The size and weight of commercial trucks amplify the impact, resulting in extensive property damage, injuries and sometimes even fatalities. Furthermore, the potential for collateral damage is immense, including multi-vehicle collisions and hazardous spills if the truck is carrying hazardous materials. So what are the leading causes of jackknife accidents? Keep scrolling to find out!

Overloaded or unbalanced cargo

The proper loading and distribution of cargo are vital in preventing jackknife accidents. Overloading a truck or unevenly distributing the cargo can cause the weight to shift, affecting the vehicle’s stability. Therefore, trucking companies and drivers should comply with load regulations and try to ensure that cargo is appropriately secured and balanced.

Poor road conditions

Adverse road conditions also significantly contribute to jackknife accidents. Slippery surfaces, such as wet or icy roads, reduce traction, making it challenging for the driver to maintain vehicle control. Additionally, uneven road surfaces, potholes and inadequate signage can increase the likelihood of jackknifing. 

Improper speed management

Excessive speed or sudden speed changes can initiate a jackknife event. When a truck driver travels too fast, a sudden deceleration can imbalance the weight distribution between the cab and the trailer, leading to a loss of control. Luckily, this problem can be addressed when truck drivers receive proper training, adhere to speed limits and exercise caution when maneuvering.

Jackknife truck accidents present serious threats to road safety, causing injuries, fatalities, and significant property damage. By addressing the leading causes of these accidents, trucking companies and truck drivers can reduce their occurrence. If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident after a semi jackknifed, it may be time to seek legal guidance.

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