Jackknifing occurs when a towing vehicle’s trailer slides or skids out of control and swings around into its own towing vehicle. If the driver is unable to correct it in time, the trailer pushing from behind will continue to push the towing vehicle. This can cause immense damage to other vehicles and property. Losing control in any situation is scary, but jackknifing can be a driver’s worst nightmare.
Here are some ways to help prevent jackknifing:
- Be wary of light loads - A heavy loaded vehicle is unlikely to jackknife. Generally jackknifing only occurs with light loads, empty trailers or when weight is badly distributed
- Use your brakes gradually and space your braking out over the longest possible distance
- Avoid braking or decelerating on a curve – Apply brakes while moving in a straight line and then release your brakes before you begin the turn. This will help prevent any loss of traction
- If you must make an evasive maneuver, don’t brake and swerve at the same time
- Be cautious about using your engine brake or retarder – On a slippery surface this could lock up the drive axle and cause jackknifing
- Make sure the maintenance on both the vehicle and trailer are up to date – Uneven brakes, worn tires, and faulty suspensions components increase the risk of losing control
Jackknifing can often create a deadly scenario for anyone on the road. With these safety tips we can help prevent jackknifing and keep everyone safer.