A tractor trailer or semi-truck is said to “jackknife” when the trailer swings around form behind and off to the side so that the truck comes to rest in the form of an “L” or “V” shape. The movement is much like that of a folding pocketknife, which is where the “jackknife” comes from. The fact is that jackknife accidents can be devastating for many on the roadway when it occurs. Jackknife accidents have been known to shut down whole sections of highways for several hours at a time while the scene is contained and cleaned up. Many can be injured in such an accident while the oversized truck sweeps out across the road, impacting everything in its path with the force of thousands of pounds of metal behind it.
The Dangers of Jackknife Accidents
When a jackknife accident occurs, it can mean multiple vehicles are impacted across multiple lanes of traffic, even those lanes of traffic where vehicles were traveling in the opposite direction of the truck. Upon a large truck jackknifing, it can be nearly impossible for nearby vehicles to avoid the oncoming impact. Considering the size of these large trucks versus the other, smaller vehicles on the road, most other vehicles and vehicle occupants do not fare well in accidents of this type, to say the least.
Jackknife accident victims can sustain debilitating and painful injuries that can have impacts on their life and well-being far into the future. Common jackknife accident injuries include:
- Bone breaks
- Spinal cord injury
- Head trauma
- Traumatic brain injury
- Internal damage/bleeding
Some of the more common causes of jackknife accidents include:
- Speeding: When a large truck is speeding, it is even more dangerous than when a smaller vehicle engages in the same behavior. This is because the average semi-truck weighs upwards of 80,000 pounds. The force of this weight impacting with another vehicle can be devastating. Furthermore, this amount of weight requires much more time to effectively brake than other, smaller vehicles. When a truck is speeding and needs to stop quickly, the trailer is more susceptible to swinging out resulting in jackknifing.
- Trucker fatigued: Fatigued drivers have slowed reaction times. This makes them much less able to avoid roadway hazards and more prone to dangerous maneuvers in order to try and avoid a hazard last-minute. Sudden maneuvers can easily lead to the truck jackknifing and causing sweeping damage across the roadway.
- Improperly loaded cargo: When cargo is improperly loaded onto a truck, it can shift in transit. Such a shift in weight can cause the truck to jackknife.
- Inclement weather: When bad weather reduces roadway traction and visibility for truck drivers, it can lead to a variety of accidents being more likely to occur. One such accident type is the jackknife accident.
Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in a jackknife accident, you are likely to have significant damages. Dedicated Attorney Michael LoGiudice is here to fight for you and help see to it that you are fully compensated for all of the losses you have sustained. Contact us today.