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Jackknifing can be prevented with controlled driving

A semi driver obviously must be in control of his or her vehicle, but it's about more than just staying behind the wheel and technically obeying the rules of the road -- such as the speed limit. The key to avoiding a jackknifing accident is to drive in a careful, controlled manner.

For example, these accidents often happen when a truck driver gets into a turn and, still feeling that he or she is in a hurry, tries to accelerate too much out of that turn. The wheels on the trailer can then lose traction, meaning it won't turn with the truck and it slides to the side.

Instead, drivers should be careful not to brake or accelerate too much in turns. They must be wary of their surroundings. They also need to know when the road may be slick, which can add another level of danger.

Issues can also arise when a driver tries to stop in a hurry. In a sedan, which doesn't have a hinge joint, slamming on the brakes and skidding brings the car to a halt. If a truck driver tries that, the cab and trailer may decelerate at different rates and the trailer may lose traction and swing out to the side of the truck. It's far safer to apply the brakes sooner than feels necessary, gradually cutting back on the speed until the truck really needs to stop.

This type of driving can be frustrating to drivers when they're paid by the job or the mile and they feel pressure to go quickly, but they have to put safety over speed. When they don't, those who are injured may be able to seek financial compensation.

Source: Evan Transportation, "How to Prevent a Jackknife In Your Semi," accessed May 25, 2017

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