Truck collisions occur in multiple ways and many factors can contribute to causing one to occur. One common type of truck accident we see on South Carolina roadways is called a jackknife accident. This term describes an accident that involves a large truck such as an 18-wheeler whose cab and trailer “get out of sync” with one another which causes the truck to form an L or V shape, according to How Stuff Works. “The phrase gets its name from the shape the truck and the trailer creates, which bears a resemblance to a knife whose blade folds into the handle.”

What causes a truck to jackknife?

A jackknife truck accident generally happens when a truck’s wheels lose traction, or the wheels begin to skid. Once this happens and the trucks tractor or trailer locks, “the loss of traction will allow the rig to swing sideways out of control into a tractor jackknife or a trailer jackknife.” Now, according to the Lewis County Driving School, there are three main reasons why skidding, or a loss of traction, occur which include:

  1. Conditions of the Road

The following roadway conditions are known to contribute to causing a truck to lose traction:

  • Icy, snowy, or slippery roads
  • Wet roads
  • Muddy roads
  • Roadways that are packed with wet leaves
  • Broken or uneven road surfaces
  • Adverse camber on curves
  1. Condition of the Vehicle

A truck’s condition also can play a role in causing a truck to lose traction and jackknife. Some vehicle conditions include:

  • The front wheels are out of alignment which causes the vehicle to pull to one side and can essentially cause the vehicle to skid when the brakes are applied.
  • The tires are worn down and/or the tire pressure is uneven. The Lewis County Driving School highlights that “if there is a different pressure in one tire from that in the opposite one, the effect can be similar to that of unevenly adjusted brakes because one tire will drag more than the other tires.”
  1. Actions of the Driver

Some driver actions that can cause a large truck to lose traction and jackknife include:

  • A driver who turns the steering wheel abruptly, especially when traveling on slippery surfaces. Sometimes, truckers do this to avoid colliding into the vehicle in front of them but end up causing an accident themselves simply because the truck can’t always handle a maneuver of this sort.
  • The driver abruptly changes the vehicles speed.
  • The brakes are hit too hard.
  • When a driver is traveling at an excessive speed while making a sharp turn, this can increase the chances of the truck jackknifing.

When a truck jackknifes, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is going to engage in an accident as the driver can sometimes regain control and reposition the vehicle. However, in many instances involving a truck that jackknifes, there is a chance that the truck will crash into other vehicles, especially if the roadways are busy, and it could roll over and potentially drag more vehicles into the accident.

What should I do if I was involved in a jackknifing truck accident in South Carolina?

Truck collisions are among some of the worst types of accidents to occur on our roadways today. Between the size and weight of these vehicles, it is likely that an individual who was involved in a wreck with a truck or while operating a truck sustained serious or even life-threatening injuries. Sadly, this can impact your life and livelihood. Therefore, if you were recently involved in a wreck and wish to find out how an attorney from can help you recover compensation so that you can afford the treatments you need and can focus on recovering, contact today to schedule an initial consultation.