For those who are not familiar with the term, a large commercial truck "jackknifes" when the wheels on its trailer move in one direction while the cab of the truck continues to move in another direction, thereby causing the trailer to swing to one side of the road or the other. When a truck jackknifes, the trailer can easily slam into unsuspecting motorists in the vicinity, possibly sweeping them off the road in the process.
A jackknife is the end result of a skid, that is, a situation in which the wheels of a truck simply do not have enough traction on the road for the truck to travel in a straight line. Skids can happen to even the best, most careful truck driver, but there are ways of preventing these common occurrences from turning into jackknifes and, for that matter, serious multi-vehicle accidents.
For instance, a trucker can, and should, consistently monitor to see if his or her trailer is swinging slightly from side to side. If it is swinging, a jackknife may be imminent. Moreover, a driver needs to be able to brake slowly and safely, particularly when traveling through the hills and curves surrounding Reno. A sudden stop, particularly on a curvy or wet road, can cause a significant skid from which a truck driver may not be able to recover.
Finally, a driver and his or her company must make sure a truck's tires and brakes are in good working condition, as this equipment must be in good order to prevent a jackknife. On a related point, a truck that is not properly loaded can be more prone to jackknifing.
Because they are preventable truck accidents, a driver and his or her company can be held financially accountable after a jackknife that leaves a Nevada resident injured. A victim can work to recover compensation for damages, like past and future medical bills, lost wages and non-economic losses such as pain and suffering.