A jack knife skid is one of THE most threatening, scary situations a professional truck driver will ever find themselves in. Most truck driver training programs, do not spend sufficient time teaching trainees how to handle a jack knife skid.
I’ve been a professional truck driver for about 40 years. I have driven all over North America in all types of weather and all types of terrain.
Every driver has their own method for correcting a jack knife skid situation.
Here’s what has worked for me in my driving career.
What to Do When In a Jack Knife Skid Situation
i) Get the unit (tractor trailer) straight. This is the first thing a driver must do when in a jack knife skid situation.
As a professional driver, it’s vital to remain calm, have a cool head and focus on the matter at hand.
ii) If the trailer is kicked out to the passenger side, the best way to correct this, is to steer into the direction of the skid on the same side (steer to the right).
iii) I first take my feet off pedals, whether the clutch, the fuel and the brake.
iv) I concentrate on the steering. My focus is on straightening the truck/trailer.
v) I then attempt to slow the unit down. Some drivers will not agree with me, when I say I utilize the jake brake. It’s possible to use the jake brake on a lower setting, if the roads are excessively slippery.
I let the jake walk the engine down gradually.
vi) When I feel that I am regaining control of the truck, I will try to ‘feather the pedal’. I do not use the trailer brake to slow down when in a jack knife skid.
Then, when in control, I will slowly ease the truck and trailer over to the side of the road.
It’s important to steer gradually toward the skid. Do NOT turn the steering wheel hard into the skid. Do NOT over correct. This will help to counteract the sliding movement and help to straighten the truck and trailer on the road.
For more tips and tricks for handling a jack knife skid, WATCH THE VIDEO.