If a tractor-trailer jackknifes (this occurs because the trailer swings outward), it creates a scary and dangerous situation for other drivers on the same road. The trailer has the potential to swipe away several lanes of traffic, hitting multiple vehicles along the way.

prevention tips for Atlanta jackknife accidents
Causes and Prevention Tips for Atlanta Jackknife Accidents

Unfortunately, this is the most dangerous type of truck accident and can cause many damages and injuries.

At Hines Law, our professional car accident attorneys want to help you understand how jackknife accidents occur and what you can do to avoid them. If you ever are injured due to this type of accident on a Georgia road, simply call our attorneys for help.

Common Causes of Atlanta Jackknife Accidents

Some of the most common causes of jackknife accidents in Atlanta include:

Sudden Stopping or Braking

If big rig drivers must slam on the brakes, the possibility of a jackknife accident may be inevitable. The truck’s cab and laded trailer won’t stop at the same speed, which means hitting the brakes will cause the trailer to pivot.

You may witness this if there is a sudden stop in the flow of traffic or if the driver hits the brakes while going down a steep hill.

Sharp Turns

It’s tricky for trucks to navigate curvy roads. If they try to make a turn that is too sharp, the trailer may sway, which can cause a jackknife accident if the driver can’t regain control of the truck.

Improperly Loaded Trailer

Some trailers can only carry a set amount of cargo. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating determines the amount. What this means is if the trailer is overloaded, it may cause the truck to jackknife when it is driving down the road.

However, even when the weight is within limits, the trailer may swivel if it is not loaded appropriately. When cargo trailers are balanced, the heaviest 60% of all cargo is in the front part of the trailer. All items have to be secured, so they don’t move or slide in the trailer and cause the truck to lurch.

Driver Negligence

Like other accidents on Atlanta highways, driver mistakes like fatigue, distraction, and speeding can increase the likelihood of a jackknife accident.

While jackknifing isn’t an accident that doesn’t just occur to new drivers, individuals who don’t have as much experience may find it difficult to control an 18-wheeler in a situation where jackknifing may occur.

Lack or No Traction

If the roads are icy or wet, any vehicle’s tires can lose traction. Unfortunately, the skidding that results is extremely dangerous for large trucks. If a truck is slipping and sliding on icy roads, it will likely jackknife.

Improper or No Truck Maintenance

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires that most trucks have anti-lock braking systems. For tractor-trailers, even stricter regulations are in place.

However, a lapse or defect in maintenance may cause the truck’s brakes to fail, which can cause a jackknife accident. If the truck’s brakes are not working properly, the axles can lock up. Dragging a trailer that has locked brakes will cause it to slide and move to the side.

Regular maintenance and inspections will help find these types of issues. However, accidents and dangerous situations may arise if maintenance is not provided.

How You Can Avoid Being Injured During a Jackknife Accident

Unfortunately, Jackknife accidents occur on Atlanta roadways all the time. While there is no way to prevent these, you can take steps to protect yourself as a driver.

If you are driving around big rigs, stay aware of what is going on and the road conditions. If you see a potentially hazardous situation, take steps to prevent being in the path if the truck begins to jackknife.

Compensation You Can Recover After a Jackknife Accident

If you are one of the unlucky drivers who is hit during a jackknife accident, our team can help you recover compensation for:

  • Current and future medical costs
  • Rehabilitation
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Damages to your vehicle


In some cases, multiple parties are considered liable for trucking accidents. Our team can determine who to hold liable and handle filing the lawsuit on your behalf. Once we know the facts of your case and situation, we can better assess the type and amount of compensation you may receive.

Contact Our Attorneys for Help

If you are hit and injured because of a jackknife accident, our accident attorneys are ready and able to help. We can gather evidence and provide proof that another person caused your injuries. Our team at Hines Law will work for you to help you recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages. Contact us as soon as possible after the accident to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case.