Jackknifed Truck Halts Traffic on Capital City Freeway


Jackknifed Truck Halts Traffic on Capital City Freeway

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento truck accident lawyer. A jackknifed truck on Capital City Freeway yesterday impeded early morning commuter traffic heading west after a truck jackknifed on a bridge over the American River in the vicinity of Exposition Boulevard and Highway 51. A Sig-Alert was issued shortly after the accident occurred.

Details of the Accident

According to the California Highway Patrol, the accident happened shortly after 7:30 a.m. Initially, all lanes heading west were closed to traffic, although two lanes opened up after 8:30 a.m. with all lanes reopening at 9:46.  At the time of this report, details are sketchy concerning why the truck jackknifed. No reports have been forthcoming as to whether other vehicles were involved. A CHP representative said no one was injured in the crash.

What Is a Jackknifed Truck?

When a truck jackknifes, the cab of the truck is headed in one direction and the trailer in another in a formation that resembles the letter “l” or “v”. Its name refers to the image of a jackknifed truck resembling a knife blade folding into the handle. When this happens, the truck will be unable to stop and may continue in this configuration down the roadway for some time.

Risk Potential of Jackknifed Trucks

The risks associated with a jackknifed truck are:

  • A jackknifed truck often remains as a highway obstacle resulting in multiple vehicle crashes.
  • On two-lane roads, oncoming traffic may not be able to stop in time and hit the cab or the trailer head on.
  • The truck may roll over causing loss of cargo.
  • If a truck is carrying flammable fluids, an explosion may ensue.

Reasons a Truck Jackknifes

When a truck goes into a skid, it can jackknife. Curves, wet roadways and other emergency situations can result in a truck driver reacting to reduce his or her speed quickly by hitting the brakes. The trucker can try to slow the vehicle by either locking the steering axle brakes, causing the truck to move in a forward direction, locking the trailer brakes, which can make the driver lose control or locking the drive wheel brakes. When the drive axles are locked, the cab portion of the truck will slow but the trailer will continue moving forward. Since its forward momentum is hampered, the trailer will turn out toward the side.

Speed and Jackknifed Trucks

In 2010, a causation study into jackknifing was done by the National Highway Traffic Safety  Administration that showed the incidence of jackknifed trucks is greater when the speed limit is 55 mph or more. Ninety percent of jackknife accidents involve a truck tractor pulling a single trailer, causing 10 percent of all fatal accidents for truck occupants.

How to Prevent a Jackknife From Happening

  • Use extra caution when the cargo load is light or if no cargo is in a trailer since the trailer will have reduced traction.
  • Do not brake quickly. Rather, apply the brakes slowly and gradually.
  • Maintain a proper distance from other vehicles, giving you time to brake slowly.
  • Don’t brake on a curve. Apply your brakes before entering the curve instead.
  • When going downhill, you need to slow down before making a turn since the trailer will continue to move forward. A sharp turn while still moving can result in a jackknife. Some recommend slowing almost to a standstill.
  • If you have to maneuver away from an obstacle in the road suddenly, brake then turn away. Never brake and turn at the same time.
  • Using engine brakes can cause locking of the drive axle mand a subsequent jackknife.
  • Maintain your vehicle since worn tires and brakes that are unbalanced can lead to jackknifing.

Reasons Why You Need a Seasoned Truck Accident Lawyer

Truck accidents are complex, and discovering the reason the accident happened and who was liable for the crash requires an attorney with extensive experience. Some trucking companies allow drivers little time to make deliveries and do not have strict maintenance policies. Determining whether a driver is liable for a crash or if the trucking company is also liable due to over scheduling, maintenance issues or other acts of negligence will make a difference in whether you are justly compensated for the damages you suffered.

Sacramento Truck Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento truck accident lawyer. When you are injured or if a member of your family dies due to a negligent trucker, call me, Ed Smith, at (916) 921-6400. If you are outside the calling area, please call my  toll-free line, which is (800) 404-5400. I will offer friendly advice that is free of charge.

Northern Californians, including Sacramento area residents, need an injury lawyer to help them obtain the compensation they deserve for traumatic injuries and wrongful death claims. Many have turned to me and my legal team.

Some of my prior cases and how they were resolved for my clients can be seen on my Verdicts and Settlements page.

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Million Dollar Advocates Forum only allow trial lawyers to be members who can demonstrate that they’ve won verdicts or settlements of $1 million or more. I am a member from the state of California.

To view comprehensive pages on personal injury law, go to my website,, which I founded and own.

Photo Attribution:

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