Preventing a Jackknife While In Your Semi

Anyone who is a truck driver knows to fear the dreaded jackknife. When a driver finds themselves in this position it can cause serious injuries or even death should the truck be traveling at a high speed. A jackknife by definition occurs when the trailer of the truck reaches a position in which the driver cannot straight the truck and trailer back out.  This often occurs when a driver is accelerating too much when they are turning and the tires cannot gain the traction they need in order to keep the trailer and truck lined up.

In order to prevent a jackknife from occurring there a couple of steps you can take. If you never put yourself in the position for a jackknife to happen, then it won’t, simple as that. The following tips will help you to avoid a jackknife from occurring while you are behind the wheel.

  1. Make sure you brake before you begin to turn.
  2. Decelerate slowly in general rather than just slamming on your brakes when you are stopping or slowing down.
  3. In a smooth manner, apply proper power to the drive axle.
  4. Carefully shift gears in a smooth fashion and engage the clutch without placing too much or too little pressure.
  5. Keep an eye on your trailer in your side mirrors. Especially when on slippery roads, watch to see if the trailer is swaying or swinging out.

If you happen to find yourself in the middle of a jackknife in your rig the only way to handle it is to steer out of it. The sooner you notice and begin to correct what is happening, the more likely it is that you will be able to recover. So stay alert!

For more safety tips for truck drivers, check back to Transpro Burgener! We are the experts, after all.