What happens when a truck jackknives?

Trucks often cause many drivers on the road some degree of anxiety due to their sheer size and weight. One wrong move with a truck could cause a potentially lethal accident.

This is why jackknifing is such a major problem in the trucking industry. Though rare, it can cause numerous damages when it occurs.

What causes jackknifing?

Trucking Truth discusses jackknifing among trucks. First: what is jackknifing? A jackknife involves the trailer moving at an angle from behind the cab of the truck, usually creating an “L” shape or something similar.

Why does jackknifing happen? In most cases, the causes boil down to inclement weather or improperly loaded trucks. With less traction on the road, truck tires are more likely to slip and slide, causing the trailer to move separately from the cab.

Problems with trailer weight

Likewise, without a properly loaded trailer, weight inside may fluctuate and cause the trailer to move from side to side. Empty trailers also have this same problem. A combination of the two – poorly weighted trailers and slippery or icy roads – has a high rate of resulting in jackknives.

Even taking a turn can cause a truck to jackknife in the wrong circumstances. The smallest difference in degree and angle can cause a truck to go out of balance.

Why is this such a big issue, then? Again, it boils down to the size and weight of a truck. When a truck jackknives, it could potentially block multiple lanes of traffic. It could also hit numerous cars as the trailer sweeps outward, making it a potentially dangerous or even deadly issue.