"Jackknifing" Explained by a Trucking Accident Attorney

Semi trucks, big rigs, 18-wheelers and other large trucks with a trailer attached on the roadways are more dangerous than other vehicles simply based on their size and the skill it takes to operate and control them.  Especially in treacherous weather conditions, operating a “rig” presents challenges on the roads that can be dangerous for the truck as well as other vehicles on the road.   One of the most serious of all types of trucking accidents takes place when the truck jackknifes.

What is Jackknifing?

Jackknifing is a dangerous phenomenon that can happen to a semi truck when the driver loses control of their rig, and the vehicle can jackknife or fold into itself. The vehicle and its attached trailer get out of sync, and form an “L” or a “V” shape.  This phenomenon is referred to as jackknifing because the shape the truck and the trailer create resembling a knife whose blades fold into the handle. As a result, the trailer swings outward often resulting in the rollover of the truck.

A semi truck can jackknife when the vehicle’s wheels lose traction.  Traction has to do with how the wheels are gripping the road. Think about the last time you had your vehicle stuck in the sand or mud.  Your vehicles wheels spin and spin but never grip the ground, allowing you to move. A semi truck can lose traction and the driver lose control of the vehicle from traveling too fast on  wet or slick roads,  braking improperly, improper down shifting, and taking a curve at a high rate of speed  just to name a few. When these scenarios happen, a dangerous situation can take place that could wreak havoc on any vehicles and pedestrians in its path.  It is important to stay focused when traveling on the road and be aware of your surroundings.  If you see a semi truck trailer swerving, driving erratically or too fast for weather conditions, stay away.

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a jackknife trucking accident, call the trucking accident attorneys of Michles & Booth for help.  Your first consultation is free of charge.


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