Tractor-trailer semi-trucks are a vital part of our transportation/supply system. However, weather, drivers that are not careful and/or well-trained can cause dangerous and sometimes fatal accidents. One type of accident resulting from truck driver negligence is the jackknife accident. Jackknife accidents are extremely catastrophic because they can involve numerous vehicles. Almost all of them involve life-altering or fatal injuries. Here’s what to know about these violent truck crashes.
A jackknife occurs when the trailer of semi-truck swings to one side at a 90-degree angle and uncontrollably overtakes other lanes of traffic. The term comes from the look of the tractor-trailer after the crash resembling a jackknife or the letter L. When a jackknife wreck happens, the trailer and cab can hit and crush other vehicles in its path. It can also block numerous lanes leading to additional collisions. Jackknife crashes can also be considered rollover crashes when the truck slides and rolls over onto its side, although not all rollovers end in a jackknife.
Jackknife collisions are often either the cause of driver negligence or inclement weather, other distracted drivers, truck maintenance, or a combination. These include the following:
Research shows that jackknife crashes can cause widespread damage, as they usually spread across multiple lanes of traffic. Because of this, there is the danger of secondary crashes or vehicles not initially involved in the crash, running into the tractor, trailer, or scattered wreckage and debris.
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Girotto, Edmarlon et al. “Working conditions, and sleepiness while driving among truck drivers.” Traffic injury prevention vol. 20,5 (2019): 504-509. doi:10.1080/15389588.2019.1609670
Gray, Garry. “A bird’s eye view of driving safety culture: Truck drivers’ perceptions of unsafe driving behaviors near their trucks.” Work (Reading, Mass.) vol. 64,2 (2019): 187-194. doi:10.3233/WOR-192985
Smith, Joyce A et al. “Spine and spinal cord injury in motor vehicle crashes a function of change in velocity and energy dissipation on impact with respect to the direction of the crash.” The Journal of trauma vol. 59,1 (2005): 117-31. doi:10.1097/01.ta.0000171534.75347.52
Stavrinos, Despina et al. “Commercial Truck Driver Health and Safety: Exploring Distracted Driving Performance and Self-Reported Driving Skill.” Workplace health & safety vol. 64,8 (2016): 369-76. doi:10.1177/2165079915620202
Stein, H S, and I S Jones. “Crash involvement of large trucks by configuration: a case-control study.” American Journal of public health vol. 78,5 (1988): 491-8. doi:10.2105/ajph.78.5.491
The information herein on "Jackknife Tractor-Trailer Accidents and Crashes" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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