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How to avoid jackknifing in a semi-truck

Truck accidents account for a growing number of highway safety issues. Jackknifing is a major cause of collisions, but in some cases, it can be avoided. Follow these tips to ensure that you do all you can to avoid a jackknife situation.

Be aware of weight

Most often, jackknifing occurs when loads are light. The trailer simply does not have enough weight to stabilize it if the towing vehicle starts to skid. Knowing that your lightweight trailer is more susceptible to jackknifing is part of avoiding truck accidents.

Keep vehicle and trailer maintained

Though jackknifing can happen regardless of the shape of your vehicle, worn tires, faulty suspension and uneven brakes can enhance your chances of skidding. Skidding is the top cause of jackknifing. Truck accidents are easily avoided with proper vehicle maintenance.

Decelerate gradually

Keep a good distance behind other vehicles so that you have the time to brake slowly. Fast, urgent braking is a quick way to start a skid, especially when surface conditions are slippery.

Avoid braking on a curve

Decelerate well before reaching a curve. When you are going straight, your trailer is moving at its own momentum and cannot adjust as quickly as your vehicle. Make sure to brake well in advance of any curves in order to slow the trailer’s forward movement. Enter the curve at a reasonable speed, and your trailer will follow.

Downhill curves can be especially dangerous and prone to jackknifing. You are fighting the trailer’s downhill trajectory while trying to slow down, so make sure to slow your speed prior to the decline.

Braking in emergencies

If you must brake quickly for pedestrians or debris, don’t slam on your brakes and press your clutch down. Gingerly tap on the brakes. Additionally, hold tightly to the steering wheel to keep control of the vehicle.

Given that so many reasons behind jackknifing involve driver error or lack of maintenance, a crash could be caused by negligence. If victims of a collision can prove negligence, they may be able to collect compensation for their losses.