Semi-Truck Jackknife Accidents

June 16, 2020

To “jackknife” a vehicle means to fold a multi-sectional vehicle, such as a semi-truck with a trailer, so that it resembles the angle of a folding pocket knife. When a vehicle towing a trailer begins to skid, the trailer can push the truck from behind until it turns around and faces backward. 

Vehicle jackknifing in Stroudsburg and elsewhere throughout the state may be caused by equipment failures, such as defective brakes, improper braking technique, or dangerous road conditions like icy or wet road surfaces. Under certain circumstances, a semi-truck driver may attempt to deliberately jackknife a vehicle in order to halt it following a brake failure. 

When a multi-sectional vehicle jackknifes, the cab is facing in the opposite direction of the trailer, making it impossible for the driver to move the truck and therefore the truck becomes stuck. Jackknife accidents can cause significant congestion and vehicle backups on roadways since a jackknifed truck is almost always facing sideways across the lanes of a road and can no longer move. If you’ve been involved in a crash, let our Stroudsburg personal injury lawyer help.

Who Is at Fault in a Semi-truck Jackknife Accident?

Semi-truck jackknife accidents can be caused by a wide variety of factors, including:

  • Insufficient driver training.
  • Driver failure to apply brakes correctly.
  • Other types of driver error.
  • Driver fatigue.
  • Distracted or impaired driving.
  • Defective equipment or equipment failure, particularly brake failure.
  • Wet, frozen, and/or slippery road surfaces or other dangerous road conditions.
  • Poor weather or other adverse driving conditions affecting visibility.
  • Overloaded or poorly loaded trailers. 

Further compounding the danger of semi-truck jackknife accidents is the fact that wherever a vehicle as large and heavy as a semi-truck is turned sideways at even moderate speeds, the chances of a rollover are particularly high. Rollover accidents typically result in particularly severe property damage and personal injuries.

How to Prevent Semi-Truck Jackknifing Accidents in Stroudsburg and Elsewhere

Semi-truck jackknifing accidents rarely occur in fair weather with properly trained, experienced, and alert drivers. This illustrates the importance of semi-truck driver training and adherence to the hours of service regulations and other rules established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for semi-truck drivers.

Still, the more experienced a semi-truck driver is in handling adverse situations, the safer everyone is. Semi-truck drivers can help reduce the risk of jackknife accidents taking a few simple precautions, including:

  • Avoid braking and turning at the same time.
  • Driving slowly carefully during inclement weather.
  • Taking turns as slowly and widely as possible.
  • Braking before attempting to turn.
  • Braking slowly over long distances.
  • Turning “into” the curve; i.e., steering in the direction of the turn rather than braking against the turn.

Contact a Stroudsburg Personal Injury Lawyer at Drake, Hileman & Davis

Semi-truck jackknife accidents are typically devastating in terms of property damages and personal injuries. The issues involved can be complicated, and your insurance company is not on your side.

This is why anyone involved in semi-truck jackknife accidents needs the help of a Stroudsburg personal injury lawyer at Drake, Hileman & Davis. Our attorneys understand the complexity of the various issues and can help you sort through your various options and assist you in filing any insurance or legal claims.

The attorneys at Drake, Hileman & Davis can help you understand the issues and examine your options if you have been involved in a semi-truck jackknife accident. If you need our help contact us online.