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What Can Cause a Semi Truck to Jackknife?

Semi-truck accidents occur when the trailer of the truck swings around to either side, ending so it is perpendicular with the truck’s trailer. Jackknifing typically occurs because the trailer is traveling at a faster speed than the cab of the truck. This pushes the trailer forward, causing the trailer to become misaligned. Due to the fact that a jackknifed trailer will cross multiple sections of the roadway, these collisions place everyone on the road at great risk. Jackknife accidents also result in some of the most serious injuries.

The vast majority of jackknife accidents are caused by the negligent actions or inactions of another person. You can file a claim against the negligent party to recover damages. First, you must determine what caused the crash so you know whom to hold liable.

Poor Weather and Road Conditions

Curving roads, steep inclines, and slippery or wet roads all increase the likelihood of a commercial truck driver losing control and causing their truck to jackknife. This is because in these conditions, a truck is more likely to skid and visibility is often reduced. Sleet, snow, and ice can also create slippery conditions, which can increase the chances of a semi-truck jackknife accident.


Truck drivers often speed in an effort to ensure they meet the tight deadlines that are imposed upon them. When a truck speeds, the truck driver is more likely to lose control of the vehicle, causing a jackknife crash. Also, when a trucker drives above the posted speed limit, they may brake too quickly when they come across debris in the road or another vehicle. This is often enough to throw the tractor and the trailer out of alignment, resulting in a crash.

Improper Maintenance

All truck drivers and trucking companies are required by federal law to properly maintain their trucks. However, improper maintenance still occurs. When the brakes on a truck particularly are not maintained properly, there is an increased likelihood that they will lock, especially if the driver brakes sharply or quickly. The trailer will then drag behind the tractor and fall out of line, jackknifing as it does.

Improperly Loaded Trailers

The cargo on a truck must be loaded very carefully and correctly. If it is not, it can easily shift during transport, which can throw the entire truck off balance. The trailer can easily become misaligned with the tractor and jackknife, causing serious injuries as it does.

Other Accidents

Another accident on the road may cause a truck driver to brake suddenly or swerve to avoid the crash. All of this can cause the trucker to lose control of their vehicle, which always increases the risk of a jackknife accident.

Our Truck Accident Lawyer in Illinois Can Determine the Cause of Your Crash

You must determine the cause of a collision that left you with serious injuries, but while you try to recover is not the time to do it. At Brassfield & Krueger,  Ltd., our Illinois truck accident lawyer will fully investigate the crash and collect evidence to prove your case so you claim the full and fair settlement you deserve. Call us now or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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