Jackknife Truck Accidents Are Very Common and Very Deadly

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by Edward Rebenack, Esq.

How Does Jackknifing Put Everyone on the Road at Risk?

While all motor vehicle accidents are serious, jackknife accidents involving huge trucks are particularly dangerous. The sheer size and weight of a truck can increase the risk of serious personal injuries and even death. Knowing how and why these accidents can happen can give you a better understanding of their danger.

What Is Jackknifing in a Truck Accident?

Jackknifing is a term used for truck accidents that see the two components of the truck come together in an L or V shape. The cab goes in one direction, and the trailer goes in another, which brings to mind a jackknife shape. This hinging of the two parts of the truck often occurs as a result of dangerous braking by the truck driver. When the truck jackknifes, it can put the vehicle at risk of tipping over onto its side due to the shift in weight and puts everyone on the road in potentially grave danger.

What Are the Causes of Jackknife Accidents?

Driver negligence is one of the reasons for truck accidents. However, there are additional factors that can lead to a jackknife truck accident happening. Trucks often carry significant weight in their cargo, which means they can end up weighing upwards of 80,000 pounds. As a result of that weight and the huge size of a commercial truck, it’s only natural that accidents occur. Some of the common causes of jackknife accidents include:

  • Speeding. When a truck travels too fast, it can create a disastrous situation. Trucks take longer than other vehicles to come to a complete stop, which means that if the driver suddenly brakes, it can increase the risk of jackknifing and a crash.
  • Road curves. Steep road curves can cause a truck to jackknife. Even if the truck is traveling at a moderate speed, a steep curve can lead to the trailer swinging while the cab is at a different angle through the turn.
  • Wet weather conditions. Inclement weather, such as rain, snow or sleet, can lead to slick, slippery roads. The truck can lose traction with the road and abruptly jackknife. This can happen even if there’s only minimal slickness on the road.
  • Poor road conditions. Roads that are in disrepair with potholes, cracks and uneven pavement can also lead to a jackknife truck accident. If the truck driver has to maneuver to avoid a hazard, the trailer can jackknife.
  • Equipment malfunction. If any component of the truck suddenly malfunctions, it can cause the driver to lose control, and a jackknife situation can occur. In the worst-case scenario, the truck can fall onto its side.

What Kinds of Injuries Can Occur With Jackknifing?

Truck accidents, including those caused by jackknifing, can cause serious catastrophic injuries. If a huge truck tips over, it can impact many people. Jackknifing covers a wide area and can result in permanent injuries, including:

Hiring a personal injury attorney is important if you or a loved one has beenn in an accident with a truck.

How Can Truck Drivers Prevent Jackknifing?

Truck drivers can take measures to prevent jackknifing accidents from happening. Braking properly and carefully is one of the best ways to do that. Instead of quickly slamming on the brakes, the driver should ease off the gas pedal first and then slowly press on the brake. However, it’s important to properly brake ahead of time due to the slowness of the truck coming to a complete stop.

It’s also essential for the driver to ensure that there’s plenty of room between the truck and the vehicle ahead. This allows for a better stopping distance so that the truck has enough time to effectively slow down before the brake is applied.

If you are in New Jersey and need a personal injury attorney to help you prepare your case, contact Rebemack Aronow & Mascolo, LLP – RAM Law at your earliest convenience.

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To schedule a confidential consultation, contact us online or call our offices, in New Brunswick at (732) 247-3600, in Somerville at (908) 448-2560, or in Freehold at (732) 828-2234.

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