Jackknifing is when a semitruck’s trailer swings sideways and the vehicle curves into an L shape. It is incredibly dangerous, as a truck that is doing this is completely out of control. It also takes up the entire road. This can put multiple people in danger on the interstate or a two-lane highway.
What can drivers do to avoid it?
- Beware of a loss of traction. This is what causes the truck to jackknife, in many cases. For instance, if the trailer hits a patch of ice that the motorized cab crosses without trouble, it could begin to swing wide.
- Do not slam on the brakes when the trailer starts to swing. It’s a natural reaction to keep from crashing, but it usually just folds the truck up and makes things worse. Instead, drivers are advised to let off the gas or even accelerate to bring the trailer back around.
- Never lock up the brakes. Even if the trailer was not already jackknifing, suddenly braking too hard can make it happen. Drivers need to be aware of their surroundings so that they can slow down in a safe, controlled manner.
Truck drivers need to be aware of the risk of jackknifing at all times, even if they have driven for years without incident. Understanding how to react in an emergency is a critical part of the process. A driver who is prepared can keep people safe.
Have you gotten injured in a truck accident, perhaps because a driver lost control of their vehicle? If so, you could have serious injuries and you must know what legal rights you have to seek compensation.