Jackknife Or Brake Accident

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There are many causes of commercial truck accidents, but chief among them are braking problems that cause a big truck to jackknife, resulting in many injuries and sometimes even the death of those involved in a jackknifing accident.

Jackknifing Explained

Jackknifing is a type of accident in which the trailers attached to tractor trucks swing out and come to rest at a 90-degree angle from the truck. These trailers can hit other vehicles and people when they jackknife before coming to a complete stop. Jackknifing can also result in immense destruction of property. Another concern in a big truck that is speeding or going too fast is that if it jackknifes, there is a very good chance of the truck rolling over to either side, which can result in an even worse truck accident.

Why Do Big Tractor-Trailers Jackknife?

Jackknifing usually occurs because of sudden braking of a truck. If the truck is going at a high speed, and the truck driver needs to apply the brakes suddenly, then the entire truck, along with the trailers, can go into a skid situation. If the truck and trailer skid long enough, the trailers will have in all likelihood jackknifed when the rig finally comes to a stop.

The braking system of big trucks is not the same as smaller cars and vehicles. A truck has three types of braking options the steering axle brakes, the drive axle brakes, and the trailer axle brakes. If the steering axle brakes are applied suddenly, the truck will continue to move straight ahead, irrespective of the angle of the tires, but it becomes difficult to steer the truck. When the drive axle is locked, the front wheels lock but the rear ones do not, which is why jackknifing occurs.

A few other ways jackknifing can occur are by downshifting, accelerating on a surface that is low in friction, engine retardants, or entering a curve too quickly for the truck to handle.

In emergency circumstances, such as when a truck driver is braking to avoid hitting someone or a parked car, if the brakes are not applied properly, and if all the various components of the braking system are not in perfect working condition, then the truck will jackknife.

Jackknifing Accidents

In order to receive compensation for your injuries in a truck accident case, it is necessary to prove the negligence of the truck driver, trucking company, or other party. In proving negligence of truck drivers, there are some special allowances made for the truck drivers, and one such allowance is in case of jackknifing.

Just because a truck has jackknifed is not enough to prove the negligence of a truck driver. If the truck driver applied the brakes suddenly, or swerved suddenly, in order to avoid hitting someone who ran in front of the truck, or to avoid hitting a stalled car, then the resulting jackknifing is not considered to be due to the negligence of the truck driver.

In such situations, you may look to prove the negligence of some other responsible party, such as the trucking company, the driver of the stalled vehicle, etc.

A truck accident attorney is your best advisor in case of injuries due to a truck accident. He or she can help you determine who the responsible parties are in the case of the jackknifing accident, and can steer you in the right direction so you receive all that you are entitled to.


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