One of the most dangerous accidents that can occur while you are behind the wheel is a jackknife accident. A jackknife accident occurs when your tractor and trailer get to a very severe angle that you can’t straighten out, and they don’t just happen to new or unskilled drivers! Here are some tips on preventing a jackknife accident next time you are in your rig.
What Causes a Jackknife?
Jackknife accidents typically start with either the trailer swinging to the side or the tractor skidding to the side after over braking, engine deceleration, or going too fast for the current road conditions (even if it’s dry road). The most common cause of a jackknife is over braking your trailer.
Check Your Mirrors
Checking your mirrors frequently should already be a habit, but if it isn’t—start now! To stay safe at all times on the road, you should be paying attention to how your trailer is riding and the cars and road around you. Anything from road debris to black ice could lead to your trailer riding strangely and an eventual jackknife.
Take Your Foot Off the Brakes
If you see your trailer starting to wobble behind you, the wheels aren’t sitting properly on the road due to an imbalance of the weight in your trailer and the friction from the road. Take your foot off of the brakes to increase the friction on the pavement and restore the alignment of your truck, avoiding a jackknife accident. Once you have successfully avoided a jackknife, make sure to stop at the next rest stop to check how the cargo in your trailer is distributed and fix it if necessary.
In addition to proper braking when making a recovery, steering is just as important. Once a jackknife reaches 15 degrees, your chances for recovery are low to nonexistent. If you can make the right steering correction quickly and easily, you can avoid a jackknife accident altogether.
Baltimore Freightliner-Western Star for All of Your Trucking Needs
Whether you are looking to upgrade your fleet to electric trucks or simply interested in the latest electric trucking technology, you can rely on Baltimore Freightliner-Western Star. We have provided top-notch service for the trucking industry for 30 years and would love to assist you in buying a new top-of-the-line truck, finding the specialty parts you need, or repairing your truck. Give us a call toll-free at 800-832-7278 or locally at 410-685-4474, or contact us online. To find out more about what we are up to, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.