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Big Rig Jackknife Dangers and Prevention

Any accident involving a large commercial truck has the ability to produce immense danger and damage, but what’s known by truck drivers as a “jackknife” is among the most treacherous due to the high likelihood that an accident of this kind may impact other vehicles on the road. A jackknife occurs when the front cab and the back trailer of a truck bend at an extreme angle (the movement is similar to that of a hunting knife folding). When a truck folds in this manner, the driver loses complete control and the enormous vehicle often ends up in a careening slide across numerous lanes of traffic.

Jackknife Statistics and Causes
In 2009, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported 295,215 accidents involving large commercial trucks and buses. Out of those, 4,146 involved a jackknife, of which 3,000 resulted in the damage of property, 1,000 resulted in personal injury, and 146 resulted in deaths.

Factors that may cause a Pennsylvania jackknife accident include:

  • Vehicle malfunction: When a truck’s brakes fail, the vehicle can jackknife. As a last resort during brake failure, a driver may even purposefully attempt to jackknife a truck.
  • Dangerous highway conditions: Bad weather and other uncontrollable or inadvertent road scenarios can result in big rig jackknifes. This can stem from any outside circumstance that reduces a driver’s control (rain, sleet, or snow) or reaction time (an object in the roadway).
  • Driver error: The act of jamming the brakes abruptly may cause a jackknife to occur. Other situations involving driver error may also stem from incorrect braking or poor maneuvering, including distracted driving and alcohol or drug use.

It’s every commercial driver’s responsibility to operate their truck safely and responsibly. If you’ve been injured in a big rig jackknife accident that you believe was caused by driver negligence, contact a Philadelphia tractor trailer accident attorney to discuss your case.

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