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Jackknifed Semi-truck Caused Series of Other Car Accidents


A jackknifed semi-truck caused a series of other minor car accidents on Highway 395 in Kennewick because of the slow down in traffic. The semi-truck’s trailer turned sideways across both southbound lanes of the highway. After a few hours, traffic began moving again after police diverted cars and trucks onto Highway 240. Both southbound lanes of Highway 395 remained closed for over two hours. The semi-truck also dumped a large amount of diesel onto the roadway. No injuries were reported in any of the motor vehicle accidents. It is unclear what caused the semi’s trailer to jackknife.

What Causes a Semi-truck to Jackknife?

Semi-truck accidents are some of the most dangerous of all types of motor vehicle accidents. In fact, in 2016, more than 3,800 people were killed as a result of a semi-truck accident according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. About one in ten highway accidents involve a large commercial truck. One of the most dangerous types of semi-truck accidents is when the truck jackknifes.

A semi-truck jackknifes when the trailer of the semi skids in one direction while the cab goes in another direction. Frequently, the semi overturns because it is out of control. A jackknife semi-truck accident can happen in an instant. If you are following behind a semi when it jackknifes, you could be caught in a semi-truck accident in a heartbeat.

Problems with the Brakes

Semi-truck jackknife accidents can occur for a variety of reasons. One of the most common causes is that the truck is in need of brake maintenance or adjustment. When the brakes are not functioning as they should, it causes the axles to lock up, especially when braking hard. The truck then drags the trailer with locked brakes, pushing it out to the side of the cab.


Another cause for a semi-truck to jackknife is if the semi-truck driver is going too fast. Semi-trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. When a semi needs to brake quickly, it can become too much for the trailer to handle and thus the cab stops at a different rate than the trailer and causes the semi to jackknife.

Road Conditions

Roads that are slippery can also cause a semi-truck to jackknife because the tires lose tracking and slide. The driver than is unable to gain control and thus a jackknife semi-truck accident occurs. Besides weather conditions, road curves or trying to maneuver around debris can also factor in a jackknife semi-truck accident.

Driver is Inexperienced

If the semi-truck driver is inexperienced at handling such a large vehicle, a jackknife accident may occur. This is likely the case in many jackknife semi-truck accidents. An inexperienced driver or one who is simply fatigued and not able to handle the truck, often causes the semi to jackknife.

Semi-truck Accident Lawyers in Kennewick, WA

Semi truck accident attorneys or tractor trailer accident lawyers at Parke Gordon Law Firm in Kennewick believe every client deserves fair representation. Our semi truck accident lawyers are experienced in representing clients involved in accidents caused by semi trucks, big rigs, tractor trailers, or other commercial vehicles. Truck accidents can cause serious injuries and sometimes result in wrongful death claims. Special considerations are owed in handling a semi truck accident due to the safety of special federal and state laws that regulate trucking companies and their drivers. Let the expert truck accident attorneys at Parke Gordon Law Firm in Tri-Cities, Washington handle your case. Our experienced semi truck accident attorneys can get you results! Call us now for a free consultation at (509) 582-7274!

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Parke Gordon LLC

8905 W Gage Blvd, #200
Kennewick, WA 99336
Phone:(509) 582-7274

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