When a semitruck jackknifes, the trailer and the cab fold toward one another. The hitch where the two are connected acts more like a hinge, and they swing around the same way that a jackknife closes. This is where the name for this type of accident comes from.
This is a very dangerous situation because the truck will usually be completely out of control by the time this occurs. This means it can easily drive into other lanes or even block all of the lanes as it spins sideways. Anyone around the truck could be severely injured in the crash. So why does this happen?
Much of the time, the issue is that the roads are slick and the trailer’s tires lose traction. This can cause it to begin moving either to the left or to the right, and this motion, when unchecked, can become a jackknife accident. This is especially common when the trailer is empty and so it carries far less weight than usual, and when the driver presses the brakes and locks up the brakes on the trailer but not on the cab.
This can also happen if the truck has to slow down in an aggressive manner. For instance, maybe a truck driver wasn’t paying enough attention to the road ahead of them and then they suddenly looked up and saw that there was a traffic jam. They may hit the brakes as hard as possible to attempt to stop, but this could cause the trailer to jackknife and they can slide into those other stopped cars in an out-of-control fashion.
Have you been injured?
When something like this happens on the road around you, there’s very little that you can do to avoid the accident. What is important is to know how to seek financial compensation for serious injuries following a wreck with a truck.