How to Prevent a Jackknife In Your Semi


Being alert is key to preventing and correcting a jackknife accident.

Jackknifing is a type of truck accident in which the two separate parts of the truck (cab and trailer) fold in on themselves at the point of separation. The term “jackknife” refers to the acute angle at which this happens, and how it resembles the action of a pocketknife blade folding into its handle while closing. Many truck drivers dread this happening, and understandably so. A driver that find him or herself in this position can cause serious injury. Imagine 80,000 pounds and 28 feet of piercing metal swinging towards your vehicle. Scary, isn’t it?

How  Does a Jackknife Happen?

Typically, a jackknife occurs when a driver is accelerating too much as they are turning and the tires do not gain enough traction in order to keep the trailer and the truck properly aligned. Slight curves, slippery road conditions or equipment malfunctions can also contribute to this problem.

Preventing a Jackknife

There are a couple of steps you can take to prevent a jackknife from occurring and drive safer. Quite simply, if you don’t put yourself in the position for a jackknife to happen, then it won’t! Follow these simple steps to help avoid a jackknife while behind your semi truck.

  • Brake as you begin to make a turn.

  • Rather than slamming on your breaks when you are stopping or slowing down, decelerate slowly.

  • Apply power to the drive axle in a smooth manner.

  • Shift gears carefully and engage the clutch without placing too much or too little pressure.

  • Use your side mirrors to always keep an eye on your trailer. You should watch to see if the trailer is swaying or swinging outward, especially if you’re driving over a slippery road.

If you ever find yourself in the middle of a jackknife with your rig, the best thing to do is to try to steer it out. The faster you notice what is happening the sooner you will be able to make a correction and recover. That’s why semi truck drivers need to be extra alert.

For All Your Trucking Needs

Follow us here at Evan Transportation to get more updates on driving tips and the trucking industry. Evan Transportation provides trucking and transportation services for clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. All of our drivers and staff are offered competitive salaries, benefits, and are guaranteed to be home every day. Interested in finding out more? Visit us online or give us a call at 443-673-3365. For even more information, visit us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.

This entry was posted on Friday, November 4th, 2016 at 3:03 pm. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.