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Why trucks jackknife on the road

When a semi jackknifes, it’s one of the most dangerous accidents for cars around that semi. The truck is completely out of control during this type of crash. As the trailer spins around the wrong direction, folding toward the cab — which is what gives the accident its name — the trailer may take up the whole road. Cars in front of, next to and behind the semi could all be drawn into a devastating crash in a matter of seconds.

Naturally, a semi should never jackknife. So why does it happen?

One potential reason is a slick road. It doesn’t have to be ice or snow. Just a wet road could be enough to cause those tires to lose traction. That’s when there’s a risk of the trailer sliding in the wrong direction. Traction plays heavily into all jackknife accidents in one way or another.

Improper braking also causes jackknife accidents. When the driver locks up the brakes and tries to stop quickly — maybe they didn’t see the stopped traffic in the construction zone ahead of them until the last second — the trailer may slide out around the cab. Trucks are designed to speed up and slow down gradually. Drivers have to be aware of the vehicles’ limitations and drive in such a way that they do not cause a crash.

Have you been injured in an accident with a semi, perhaps after that driver made a critical error? If so, you may be facing high medical bills and many other costs, and you need to know if you have a right to compensation.