Jackknife Truck Accidents: When Big Rigs Lose Control in Alabama

Truck drivers face unique challenges when operating large, heavy vehicles on Alabama’s roads and highways. One particularly dangerous situation is a jackknife accident, which occurs when a tractor-trailer folds and the cab ends up at an angle to the trailer. These frightening crashes can lead to catastrophic injuries and even death. Understanding what causes jackknifing and how to prevent these accidents is critical for truckers and other motorists sharing the road.

What Causes a Jackknife Truck Accident?

A jackknife crash happens when the tractor loses traction and the trailer swings out and pulls the cab around. Braking hard on slippery roads, particularly in wet or wintry conditions, is a common trigger. Going too fast for conditions or improperly maintaining the brakes can also lead to wheel lockup and skidding.

Shifting the weight of the load, known as “cargo surge,” could force the trailer to swing out. Making a quick evasive maneuver, like a sudden lane change, can also cause the tail end to whip around faster than the tractor. Blowouts, uneven roads, high crosswinds, and poorly secured loads increase the chances of a jackknife as well.

Preventing Jackknife Truck Crashes

Truck drivers must remain vigilant about inspection and maintenance to help avoid these incidents. Checking brake condition, tire pressure and tread depth, hitch lubrication, and load security should be part of every pre-trip routine. Be sure the fifth wheel is properly lubricated and the trailer is balanced front-to-rear. Over- or unevenly loaded trailers are at higher risk.

Driving defensively is also key. Leave extra room between other vehicles, watch your speed, and focus on the road. Slow down well in advance when approaching intersections or stopped traffic. Brake early and gradually before curves or downhill grades. Get to know areas prone to high winds or hazardous road conditions and exercise additional caution in these spots.

Consequences of Jackknifing Accidents

When a loaded semi-trailer jackknifes at highway speeds, the results are often devastating. The massive rigs can barrel through guardrails and slide across medians into oncoming traffic, smash other vehicles, or roll over. Occupants may be thrown from the semi cab, crushed by cargo that breaks free, or trapped in the wreckage. Hazardous freight releases can further endanger motorists and first responders.

Even the most experienced truckers may not be able to regain control once a jackknife starts. Attempting to steer out of it typically makes the situation worse. Bringing these runaway giants to a halt requires tremendous braking distances as well. That means other drivers often have little time to react before getting slammed and suffer the worst injuries.

Damages Sustained in Alabama Jackknife Crashes

Survivors of a jackknife collision face significant bills for medical treatment, lost income, and other accident-related costs. Injuries like brain trauma, spinal cord damage, crushed bones, burns, amputations, and PTSD can leave victims with permanent disabilities. Families lose loved ones and may have no financial support.

Compensation available includes:

  • Medical expenses from hospitalization, surgeries, therapy, prescriptions, assistive devices, and in-home nursing care
  • Lost income due to missing work time during recovery
  • Property losses like a totaled car or motorcycle
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship for the family of a deceased victim

Holding negligent parties accountable is critical. An experienced truck accident attorney can help victims and families understand their options and legal rights. Do not delay in seeking counsel from qualified lawyers.

Contact Alabama’s Trusted Truck Accident Attorneys

If you or a loved one suffered harm due to a jackknife semi-truck crash in Alabama, the dedicated injury lawyers at Monge & Associates are here to help. With offices in 32 locations across 19 states, including Alabama, Florida, and Nebraska, we have spent decades representing clients in complex truck accident claims and fighting to maximize their compensation.

Contact our office today on (888) 477-0597 to schedule a free consultation.