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How is a jackknife different from a wide-turn trucking accident?

On Behalf of | May 2, 2024 | Truck Accidents

Large trucks are vital for keeping the economy moving, but their size also presents a safety risk on the road. Two common types of trucking accidents can be particularly dangerous: jackknifes and wide turns.

While both involve a loss of control, the way the vehicles move and the causes differ significantly. Understanding these distinctions can help both commercial drivers and everyday motorists to stay safer.

The folding maneuver: Dissecting the jackknife accident

A jackknife accident occurs when a semi-truck’s trailer swings out of alignment with the cab, forming a sharp angle that resembles a folding pocket knife. This loss of control can have devastating consequences.

A jackknife accident can occur due to sudden stops. Harsh braking, especially on slick roads, can cause the trailer to continue moving forward due to inertia, pushing the cab at an angle. Taking a turn too quickly or overcorrecting a steering error can also lead to a jackknife, as the trailer struggles to follow the sharp turn of the cab.

Wide turns: When taking up too much space leads to trouble

A wide turn accident happens when a truck driver misjudges the turning radius of their vehicle, causing it to veer into oncoming traffic or onto sidewalks. Unlike a jackknife, the trailer remains aligned with the cab, but the entire truck swings excessively.

A wide turn might occur when a truck driver fails to check blind spots or miscalculates the space needed to change lanes. Navigating unfamiliar roads with tight corners or narrow lanes can also lead to a wide turn if the driver is unaware of the limitations of their vehicle.

Jackknife and wide-turn accidents are severe threats on the road. By recognizing the causes and warning signs, truck drivers and regular motorists can navigate shared roadways more safely. That said, motorists who get involved in any of the two accidents due to a truck driver’s recklessness can pursue compensation for their injuries.


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