The Indiana news is often filled with stories about jackknifed tractor-trailers. These large vehicles can pose a serious danger to others on the road when they end up in a jackknife situation. IN.gov reports that jackknifing is when a semi’s trailer slides sideways towards the cab of the truck. The most common cause is braking issues where the brakes lock up. It is recommended that all trucks are equipped with anti-lock brake systems, which can help reduce this situation from occurring. Both the truck and the trailer should have ABS.
Drivers should also become familiar with the way their truck handles so they can recognize when a skid is occurring or what conditions may lead to a skid. If a driver feels that a jackknife situation may be eminent, he or she should let up on their brakes. This can often help prevent the situation from getting worse.
HowStuffWorks also reports that drivers should also be aware of their trailer loads. The majority of jackknifing accidents occur when the trailer is empty. An empty trailer creates less friction, which in turn makes it much easier for tires to slip and harder for them to get a good grip on the road. Unbalanced loads are also an issue that should be addressed. Having a load that is not properly balanced leads to more friction on one side than the other and may cause a trailer to sway to one side, which adds to the risks of the trailer sliding out sideways.