What may cause a semitruck to jackknife?

On Behalf of | Jan 9, 2023 | Trucking Accidents |

Sharing the roadways with semitrucks means that all drivers should know a few important points about these large rigs. Some people think they’re only at risk of being struck by a semitruck when road conditions are bad, but that’s not the case. Many things can lead to a crash with a big rig.

One issue that may occur is jackknifing. This occurs when the rear of the trailer swings forward toward the cab. Jackknifing is possible for any vehicle with a trailer, not just semitrucks. This risk is one of the reasons it’s crucial to give vehicles with trailers appropriate room on the roads.

4 common causes of jackknifing

There are several causes of jackknifing. All of these causes result in the rear of the rig’s trailer swinging forward toward the cab. The trucker can’t control the semitruck when this occurs, so the entire vehicle becomes an uncontrollable projectile that can slam into other vehicles around it.

  • Slamming on the brakes: The momentum of the trailer keeps it moving despite the cab stopping or slowing down.
  • Trailers with light loads: Wheels on the trailer may not have proper traction with the road, which can lead to it becoming uncontrollable.
  • Speeding, especially around curves: Trailers can become unbalanced when there are sudden changes in direction, especially at higher speeds or tighter curves.
  • Bald tires or bare brakes: A truck with bad brakes or tires may slip or skid, impacting the trailer’s movement.

While wet or icy roads can play a role in jackknifing, this safety hazard can also occur on dry roads. A driver can usually prevent jackknifing from occurring when the weather isn’t a factor in the incident. They must be paying attention to the roadway so they can adjust to hazards that might be coming up.

Anyone struck by a semitruck may need considerable medical care, which can be costly. Seeking compensation is possible, but you must determine who’s liable for the wreck. Liable parties are those you name as defendants. You must determine this quickly because Missouri has a time limit for filing your claim.