What causes trucks to jackknife, and what can other drivers do?

Numerous design elements make semitrucks significantly different than passenger vehicles. Their overall height and length mean that they have bigger blind spots than other vehicles. Their weight means they take longer to come to a full stop.

The separation of the largest part of the vehicle from the cab is also a significant difference. That point of connection is why commercial trucks can jackknife. That’s a unique kind of accident that can block multiple lanes of traffic at once.

What happens when a truck jackknifes?

A misalignment of the two main parts of the vehicle causes trucks to jackknife. It could be the result of a maneuver or the shifting of items inside the trailer. All of a sudden, the trailer does not align with the cab, and the trucker loses control of the vehicle.

A jackknifing vehicle may travel at an angle or swing to the side and block the entire road. Sometimes, a jackknifing truck will even roll over. When a jackknife incident occurs, other nearby vehicles could get struck by the erratic movements of the truck or wind up colliding with the vehicle because it blocks their lane of traffic unexpectedly.

How can drivers avoid involvement in a jackknife crash?

The simplest way to avoid getting caught up in a jackknife incident if it occurs is to give as much space as possible to commercial trucks, especially on roads with high speed limits and when the weather is particularly bad. Keeping a watch of nearby traffic conditions can also help, as you may be able to change lanes or stop before you actually reach the jackknife collision.

While proactive safety practices can help you, they will never eliminate the risk that comes from sharing the road with big trucks. Knowing about your right to seek compensation can help if you are injured by a semitruck.