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Why big trucks jackknife and how to avoid a crash when one does

On Behalf of | Oct 27, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Big commercial trucks can cause some of the most dramatic and shocking crashes that you may ever witness on the road. A jackknife accident can impact dozens of people and shut down an entire road.

Jackknife crashes are unique to commercial trucks and vehicles towing something attached with a hitch, although they can sometimes involve smaller vehicles once the big truck jackknives. What causes jackknife accidents, and how can people in passenger vehicles stay safe when a big truck jackknifes on the road near you?

Jackknife crashes are the result of momentum

As a vehicle builds up speed, it also builds up momentum. In most vehicles, the momentum all moves in one direction. However, with a commercial truck, there is a hinge point where the trailer attaches to the cap.

It is possible due to issues with the tires, weather problems or sudden maneuvers for the trailer and cab to travel in different directions. When that happens, the driver loses control and the vehicle can wind up crashing into other vehicles or blocking multiple lanes of traffic. Other cars may not have enough space to stop before they strike a jackknifed truck, complicating the crash.

How you can avoid getting involved in a jackknife incident

As someone in a passenger vehicle, you don’t have to worry about your vehicle jackknifing. What you do have to worry about is the potential for a truck close to you losing control.

Trying to stay out of the lanes immediately on either side of a commercial truck on the interstate can help you avoid these kinds of crashes. Leaving enough space between your vehicle and a truck in front of you to ensure that you can stop if something unexpected happens can also help you.

However, if the situation unfolds in the way that you can’t prevent getting hurt or suffering catastrophic vehicle damage, you may be able to bring a claim against the truck driver who caused the jackknife incident and/or any other parties that may bear some responsibility. An experienced attorney can help.