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How to prevent jackknifing while driving

On Behalf of | Aug 20, 2021 | Truck Accidents

Virginia has mountains and roads where you have to make tight turns, and there isn’t always a guardrail to protect you. You must know how to safely drive in these conditions, especially when you drive a tractor-trailer. Larger vehicles are more susceptible to loss of control.

Brake gradually

Sudden braking makes it more likely that your vehicle will jackknife. Lighter loads and unbalanced packing in the trailer also make it easier for your car to jackknife because of how powerful the brakes are. When the trailer is empty or light, its powerful brakes can trigger a loss of control. You must brake even more gently under these conditions. Stopping too quickly is one of the major causes of truck accidents.

Slow down when approaching a curve

Don’t brake when you’re going through a curve. You need to slow down before taking the curve and then apply a little acceleration to get through the turn. This helps your wheels maintain traction. Downhill curves are more dangerous because the trailer will want to continue going in a straight line. You need to slow down more before taking a downhill turn. In some cases, you have to come to a complete stop in order to make this type of turn.

Don’t simultaneously brake and swerve

In an emergency situation like a child running onto the road, you may feel the urge to brake hard and swerve at the same time. However, this combo could cause you to lose control. You should first slow down the vehicle as much as possible without braking too aggressively. Take your foot off the brake, and then swerve. Keep your hands in the 10 and 2 positions on the steering wheel with your thumbs pressed against the rim and your elbows locked in.

Maintain your tractor and trailer

Avoiding truck accidents also requires proper maintenance of both your tractor and trailer. Worn tires, uneven brakes, and other problems increase your risk of losing control over your tractor and trailer.

Jackknifing is an issue that you can often prevent with the right training in driving your tractor-trailer. Go easy on your brakes and know how to regain control if your vehicle begins skidding.