Why Semi Trucks Jackknife

The Increasing Phenomenon of Truck Accidents


One of the most distinct road accidents are those involving trucks. Because of their daunting presence, trucks do not only look dangerous, driving past them is a definite scare because of the severe accidents that happen in the blink of an eye. Seeing a jackknifed semi truck on the highway has become commonplace these days because of a number of reasons, all of which can be fatal for the cars and people around the semi-truck.

Situations in which a semi truck Jackknifes

Jackknifing of a semi-truck is when a trailer folds on its hinge and comes on an acute angle with the semi or the engine cab. Jackknifing is a result of a number of reasons; all revolving around the way a truck is handled. Semi-trucks are designed to carry huge loads on a frequent basis. These trucks have a unique balance of weight and structure that makes them prone to stability even during week-long commutes with thousands of tons of weight loaded on the trailers behind them.

Severe braking and skidding of a semi-truck are the two most common scenarios under which jackknifing occurs. Some of the common causes for a trailer to skid are:

  • Curvy Roads: a semi truck on a road that has a sharp curve is dangerous to be near to. While the truck makes the turn, the trailer behind it has to be kept in sync or it loses balance, going in the opposite and folding inwards.
  • Speeding: research has shown that for a speed of more than 55mph, semi-trucks have a higher chance of skidding. Such a speed is hard to decrease, therefore making the driver lose control and the truck folding up as a result.
  • Weight of the truck vs. its size: because of the unique structure of a semi-truck, a general rule of thumb is that the more the weight of it, the lesser the chance of it jackknifing. Consequently, when a semi-truck travels with less weight at a high speed, it jackknifes easily compared to a truck that is loaded to capacity (however not beyond it!)
  • Bad weather conditions: hazardous weather conditions make for a very dangerous drive, especially for a semi-truck. During heavy rain or snow, trucking companies usually force truck drivers to cover long distances despite decreased visibility and slippery roads. Such a situation is not only dangerous for the truck driver but is also a hazard for the society in general.

Increase In Overall Truck Accidents

Trucking accidents have increased over the last two decades by 20%. Out of all these accidents, 10% are a result of jackknifing of semi-trucks, which overshadows and topples every small vehicle behind or beside it because of its sheer size. Drivers of small vehicles who are sidelined because of a jackknifed truck are liable to receive compensation so that their moral and physical loss can be made up for. The parties responsible, the kind of compensation due and the entire procedure to follow in such a case are important questions to ask. And a truck accident lawyer will be able to give you the right answers.

Jonathan Rosenfeld is a Chicago truck accident lawyer and sponsor of the website www.chicagotruckinjurylawyers.com dedicated to truck safety and motorists rights.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn