“Jackknife accident” is a term used to describe an incident in which the trailer of a semi-truck swings out and forms a V-shape. The trailer maneuvers the same way as a folding jackknife (hence the term).
A single jackknife accident can cause a massive amount of damage to other cars on the road. As a result, several people can be severely injured or killed in a single crash. A jackknife truck accident can also cause traffic to back up for several hours, creating swerve risks and the likelihood of pileups.
In most cases, drivers don't have enough time to stop or get out of the way. That doesn't mean these types of truck crashes are not preventable, however.
What causes jackknife accidents?
Jackknife truck accidents tend to happen on major roadways and interstates. Curvy roadways and slick road conditions may be contributing factors, but these types of crashes are always caused by the actions of truck drivers.
Common causes include:
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Abrupt braking
- Poor handling of curves, ramps, and turns
- Abrupt steering or over-steering
- Poor loading of cargo or imbalanced cargo
- Mechanical defects due to poor truck maintenance (brake failure, blown tires, wheel loss, etc.)
What should truck drivers do to prevent jackknife accidents?
Since fully-loaded trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, truck drivers have a duty to operate them with utmost care. Jackknife accidents are preventable when truck drivers do the following:
- Obey the posted speed limit or drive at a speed that is safe and prudent.
- Maintain a safe following distance from other cars, in case traffic slows down or stops.
- Slow down significantly when handling curves, ramps, and turns.
- Avoid distractions, and keep eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
- Do not over-steer or brake abruptly.
- Ensure that cargo is properly balanced.
What should I do if I was injured in a jackknife truck accident?
Unfortunately, not all truck drivers use caution when operating large semi-trucks. We often hear about the devastation and tragedy caused by negligent truck drivers. Many trucking companies and the insurance companies that represent them care more about saving money than ensuring that crash victims are fully compensated.
If you were injured in a truck accident, your claim will be highly complex. The trucking company will use its own team of investigators and attorneys to downplay any wrongdoing on the driver's part. Even when settlements are offered to crash victims, they are generally small and don't cover all medical costs, lost wages, and other damages accrued from the crash.
That's why you need an experienced and dedicated Alabama truck accident attorney on your side. Attorney Dean Waite and his team of litigators have spent nearly two decades advocating for truck crash victims in the greater Mobile area.
The legal team at Dean Waite & Associates, LLC will take on the trucking companies and their insurers and help you get the compensation you need. Contact us online or call 866-434-5840 to schedule your free case consultation.