How Truck Drivers Can Avoid Jackknifing

Bay & Bay Transportation urges drivers to be especially careful in the icy conditions this winter.

Ice is particularly treacherous for the transportation industry and especially for truck drivers in Minnesota. Jackknifing is one of the most dangerous situations that a truck driver may have to maneuver out of safely. Bay & Bay Transportation  wants each of our drivers to have all of the safety tips needed while they are out on the road, so we’ll explore how jackknifing happens and how to avoid it.

What is jackknifing?
Jackknifing is when a truck cab and its trailer become out of sync with each other. This usually creates an L or a V shape, which is similar to what a pocket knife looks like when folded down.

How does jackknifing happen?
Usually, a truck will jackknife because of a loss of traction. This can be the result of either slick roads, improper braking, or a combination of the two. Tires will then skid across the pavement instead of rolling. This sliding friction is not nearly as powerful as the static friction of braking on dry roads. Slamming on brakes in this scenario can cause them to lock up, which is especially dangerous for the trailer portion of the rig. When the wheels lock up, the trailer can swing out to the side, causing a jackknife.

Another common jackknife situation occurs when a truck driver is backing up. This usually has to do with positioning and is not the specific type of jackknifing we are talking about since it is more controlled.

How do I avoid jackknifing?
1) Check your mirrors frequently for trailer swing. If you see your trailer start to swing slightly, you can still avoid jackknifing by releasing the brakes. Increasing your speed slightly may also help you gain control again.

2) Keep your trailer full when you can. The more weight in your trailer, the more traction you will have, leaving less room for tractor swing.

3) Leave enough room for braking. DO NOT slam on your brakes in icy situations. This winter, be sure to leave extra room between you and other vehicles.

Bay & Bay Transportation invests time, money, and training in keeping each of our truck drivers safe while out on the road. If you are interested in working for a company that cares about you as a person, not just a number, apply online.