Jackknife accidents are one of the more common and very damaging types of tractor trailer accidents seen on highways today. A truck that is jackknifing is a danger to the driver of that vehicle and to all vehicles in close proximity to the truck. Trucking accident attorneys who deal with the devastating results of these types of accidents suggest the best ways for others to avoid becoming involved in one is to always leave plenty of space around their vehicles and any big trucks. Unfortunately, because of the way in which a jackknifing accident occurs, avoiding these accidents is sometimes impossible.

What Happens When A Truck Jackknifes?

Jackknifing is when the trailer part of a tractor trailer combination truck slides sideways on the road until the back of the trailer is facing the direction that the truck was initially traveling. When a loaded trailer begins to jackknife, there is often little that a driver can do to prevent it, other than preventing the trailer from starting to slide in the first place.

How Does Jackknifing Happen?

Attorneys who deal with the aftermath of trucking accidents explain that jackknifing happens because the rear wheels on a trailer lose traction and the rear of the trailer begins to slide sideways. The most common cause of this is either hard braking or some kind of problem with the truck’s brakes that prevent them from working properly. When the brakes on the combination are unresponsive or do not work as anticipated, the result can be a loss of traction at the rear of the trailer. Slick and wet roads can also contribute to this, making it even easier for the rear wheels to lose traction and begin to slide.  

When this sliding is not immediately corrected, it can continue until the back of the trailer slides all the way to the side and then around toward the truck’s cab, folding the truck and trailer up like a "jackknife." These tractor trailer accidents are extremely dangerous because as the trailer is sliding, it can hit any cars beside it, or pin and crush cars within the fold of the jackknife. This type of accident is particularly deadly when it happens.

Why Do Trucks Jackknife?

As mentioned above, one of the main reasons why trucks jackknife is due to faulty brakes or because a driver brakes too hard, causing a loss of rear traction. Another cause of jackknifing is a driver being forced to brake hard because they were cut off by another vehicle or a vehicle drove into their lane and then braked immediately in front of the truck. In these situations, the attempt to avoid a dangerous rear-end accident leads instead to the truck jackknifing. Trailers are also more likely to lose traction and jackknife when the rear of the trailer is not as completely loaded as the front, especially in slippery driving conditions.

A truck that jackknifes is a danger to all vehicles on the road around it; whether this is due to bad brakes, bad road conditions, or for some other reason. The best way for vehicle drivers to avoid being involved in often fatal tractor trailer accidents is by driving safely around big trucks and always giving them plenty of space. Those hurt in accidents caused by jackknifing trucks should immediately contact attorneys with experience in trucking accidents, who can help them obtain compensation for their injuries!

Pearland, Pasadena, Webster, League City, Webster, Manvel, Alvin, Friendswood, La Marque, Texas City, and Galveston

Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP

Robert W. Hildebrand, Attorney at Law

J. Daniel Wilson, Attorney at Law

7830 Broadway, Suite 122

Pearland TX 77581

Phone: (281) 408-2190

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