How To Prevent Jackknifing

Tips for Preventing Truck Jackknifing

Truck jackknifing is a common type of trucking problem that can occur when the vehicle skids, causing the trailer to turn and collide with the cab. In many cases, jackknifing can lead to severe injuries as well as long-standing vehicle maintenance problems. Fortunately, there are multiple steps that truckers can take to prevent their vehicle from jackknifing during upcoming truck load trips. To help you stay safe over the coming weeks, here are some tips to avoid truck jackknifing.


Control Your Trailer Load

While this is not always a factor over which the driver has complete control, you should try to control the size of the truckload for your trailer where possible. Trucks that have a trailer full of a heavy load are unlikely to jackknife because the vehicle will be better balanced. The entire rig, from the braking system to the steering, is designed specifically for a full load, and so it’s crucial that you’re more cautious than usual if you must drive with a limited load in the trailer.

Commit to Optimal Maintenance

Another one of the more common reasons for jackknifing is uneven brakes. Brakes that are worn down more on one side than the other can cause the entire vehicle to become unstable. You might also find that the suspension components experience significant degradation over time, which is another leading factor behind jackknifing. By taking the time to speak with your vehicle maintenance team about vehicle inspections and repairs, you can prevent these challenges and ensure the vehicle performs safely for the months ahead.

Brake Gradually

A leading factor in many accidents is the speed at which you brake, and the pressure you place on the brakes as you bring your vehicle to a halt. Slamming your foot down on the brakes can cause a significant accident and may lead to the jackknifing of your vehicle. Make sure that you have time to brake by driving a safe distance behind other vehicles. Keeping this distance between your truck and the vehicle in front will give you time to brake.

Another consideration when braking is your timing. When you’re about to take a curve, you should begin braking while your vehicle is traveling in a straight line, not while the vehicle is already turning. Trucks taking a turn downhill are particularly prone to jackknifing, so it’s essential to slow down considerably when approaching a downhill turn with your vehicle.

Follow the Latest Training Guidelines

Ultimately, the responsibility for safe driving and the prevention of truck jackknifing belong with the trucking company and their staff. And so, it’s up to you as the driver to follow all safety regulations provided by your company. Ask if any information provided is unclear and ensure that your company supports ongoing training as further safety considerations arise.

Our experienced team can help you to prevent trucking safety challenges for the months ahead. To learn more about our company and to maintain your safety on the road, call today.


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