Preventing Jackknife Accidents
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Preventing Jackknife Accidents in Michigan

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

A jackknife truck accident can be a devastating event for the truck driver and more so for the passenger and car drivers who are also involved. In Michigan, according to the Office of Highway Safety Planning, the number of truck accidents increased 29% from the year before. This statistic means that more than ever before a truck accident attorney at our law firm will be involved to protect the drivers, passengers, and other victims of these accidents.

In the United States as a whole, 1 out of 10 deaths that occur on the highway are the results of accidents with large trucks, and in 2016, 3,986 people died with only 17% being the passengers or drivers of the trucks. The remaining 66% were drivers or passengers in automobiles, and the final 16% were motorcyclists or pedestrians.

A jackknifing incident is one of the most frightening and harmful of all truck accidents. When this type of accident develops, the truck, and the trailer that is being towed forms a V-shape or L-shape on the road due to the cab of the truck stopping too quickly causing the trailer to push into the cab and forcing the driver to lose control. The sliding 18-wheeler can virtually demolish almost anything in its path due to a combination of the speed of the truck, the weight of the load, and the road conditions.

The Causes and Prevention of Truck Jackknifes

One of the most common reasons that a truck can jackknife is due to the inconsistent braking mechanisms between the truck cab and the trailer. Although these systems are mechanically connected and should function in coordination with the speed and road conditions, often they do not. The brakes of the cab may grab before the trailer slows, and this can cause a jackknife to occur. Regular maintenance and particular attention to the braking system can prevent many accidents.

If a truck is traveling at speeds over 55 miles per hour, there can be a tendency for the truck to sway and lean when navigating sharp turns or evasive maneuvers when there is an unexpected traffic development. If the trailer rolls onto one side at a dangerous angle, then the driver can lose control and when trying to correct it, allowing the weight of the trailer and contents to slide pulling the cab behind it. A qualified truck accident lawyer at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. will always look at police records to determine if high speed was a factor in an accident.

Slippery roads due to ice and snow, or poor visibility due to fog or rain are also causes of jackknifing. To prevent accidents because of weather conditions, it is always wise to slow down, keep safe distances between vehicles, and even pull off the road if the conditions are too severe. The experienced drive will usually make the right decision.

jackknife truck accident

Unfortunately, in Michigan as well as in the rest of the U.S., there is a shortage of truck drivers. That means that drivers are being trained quickly to meet the demands for the transportation of goods, and many do not have the experience to handle the responsibilities and challenges of driving a large truck. An inexperienced driver will often be the cause of a jackknifing incident, and the only prevention is more and better training. In addition, because of the driver shortage, some drivers will push the limits and stay behind the wheel longer than permitted by regulation creating the possibility of falling asleep or the condition of a slow reaction to traffic or weather.

Final Thoughts

Truck driver fatalities due to accidents as well as auto passenger victims are on the increase in Michigan. Sometimes it is just common-sense maintenance and good driving that can work to reduce these accidents. However, if you are involved in an accident with a truck, it should be your first move to contact the Law Offices of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. to ensure that your needs are protected. We can be contacted at or by calling 866-MICH-LAW for a free consultation.

Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Tristan is a professional writer and had careers as a teacher of English, school administrator, and as a broker in real estate sales. He has gained a great deal of legal experience through his service as the president of a teacher's union, a member of the board for a real estate association, and as the chairman of the Government Affairs Committee for the real estate board of directors. Before beginning a full-time job as a freelance writer, he was the Executive Director of the Global Business Alliance for a local Chamber of Commerce and sat on the Government Affairs Committee for the Chamber.



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