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How can truck drivers help prevent jackknife accidents?

On Behalf of | Aug 13, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

In the fast-paced world of transportation, truck drivers play a pivotal role in keeping the economy moving. However, their task comes with a great responsibility for road safety. One of the most dreaded incidents on the road is a jackknife accident – a situation where a truck’s trailer swings out to the side, resembling the folding of a jackknife.

These accidents pose a serious risk to the truck driver and other vehicles on the road. Below are effective strategies truck drivers can employ to help prevent jackknife accidents and ensure safer roads for everyone.

Mastering defensive driving techniques

Defensive driving is the cornerstone of accident prevention. Truck drivers should undergo this specialized training that focuses on maintaining situational awareness, anticipating potential hazards and reacting promptly. This way, they can significantly reduce the risk of jackknife accidents by keeping a safe following distance and being prepared for sudden stops or obstacles.

Driving at an appropriate speed 

Speed is a critical factor in helping prevent jackknife accidents. Driving within the safe speed limits and adjusting speed according to road conditions can greatly enhance a driver’s control over the vehicle. Slower speeds may provide more time to react, and gradual braking reduces the chances of losing traction and control.

Learning proper trailer braking techniques

Jackknife accidents often occur due to abrupt braking, causing the trailer to skid and swing uncontrollably. Therefore, truck drivers should be well-versed in proper trailer braking techniques, such as using the trailer brakes before the tractor brakes. This method can help straighten out the vehicle and maintain stability.

Checking whether loads are properly distributed and secured

Improperly loaded or unsecured cargo can lead to weight imbalances, making the trailer more susceptible to swinging during sudden maneuvers. As such, truck drivers should try to ensure proper load distribution and securement to help maintain stability and prevent unexpected weight shifts.

Road safety should always be the top priority for truck drivers. If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance when pursuing the compensation you deserve.