Before you learn how to prevent a jackknife accident you must first understand what causes this type of truck accident. A loss of traction is almost always the culprit behind a jackknifing. There are other factors that can contribute to a jackknifing, but the relationship between the rubber and the road is almost always at the root of the problem. If a truck loses traction on a slick road, the tires will skid along the pavement instead of gripping the asphalt. If a trucker then slams on the brakes causing them to lock, the truck will swing sideways into a jackknife.
However, even in adverse weather, jackknifing is preventable.
Use these tips to help prevent your truck from jackknifing:
- Check for Trailer Swing--Every time you brake hard, check your mirrors to make sure you are not starting to jackknife
- Let Go of the Brake--if your trailer is already starting to jackknife, experts recommend easing off of the brake and allowing your wheels to resume rolling and regain traction
- Ease off of the Gas--if you're experiencing a tractor jackknife caused by sudden acceleration, ease off of the gas and steer out
- Be Aware of Your Load--In the majority of trailer jackknifes, the trailer is empty. With an light trailer, there is less friction between the tires and the road. Also, it is much easier to overbrake because tractor brakes are desigined for a full trailer load.
- Proper Braking--Avoid slamming the brakes. Instead of braking during turns, decelerate slowly on the strectch before the turn.
- Install Anti-Lock Brake--Anti-lock brakes help prevent the wheels from losing traction during braking.
- Use Caution in Bad Weather--Be especially aware of jackknifing when there are adverse weather conditions.
- Give Drivers Emergency Handling Training--The more knowledge and experience truckers have with truck hazards, the more likely it is for them to regain control of their truck and avoid an accident.
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