There are not many situations scarier than a jack knife skid. And most truck driver training programs don’t spend enough time teaching the techniques needed to handle one properly.
Every driver has their own method for correcting a jack knife skid. But if you’d like to learn how I do it, keep reading!
I’ve been a professional truck driver for about 40 years. And I’ve driven all over North America in all types of weather and all types of terrain. So I do know my method works. And it can work for you as well.
Step 1: Straighten your trailer
When you start to jack knife, the first thing you need to do is get your tractor trailer straight. Keep a cool head and don’t overcorrect.
Step 2: Steer in the direction of the skid
If your 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 (to the right).
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.
Step 3: Take your feet off the pedals
The next thing I do is take my feet completely off all the pedals. That includes the clutch, fuel, and brake.
Step 4: Concentrate
Your entire focus at this point should be on straightening your tractor trailer. Concentrate on steering to straighten.
Step 5: Slow down
This is when I attempt to slow down. Some drivers may not agree with me when I say to use your jake brake, but use your own best judgment. It is possible to use the jake brake on a lower setting if the roads are excessively slippery, and this is what I do. Let the jake walk the engine down gradually.
Step 6: Feather the pedal
Don’t do this until you feel you are regaining control of the truck. But once you do, “feather the pedal.” I personally do not use the trailer brake to slow down when I’m in a jack knife skid.
Step 7: Ease off the road
When you are finally in control, you can slowly ease the truck and trailer over to the side of the road.
Most skids are caused by excessive speed and poor road conditions caused by bad weather.
So it is important to be aware of the impending dangers when driving in foul weather.
Most of the time, these types of dangerous situations can be avoided by taking the proper precautions.
But it’s important to arm yourself with the skills to correct them in case they do.
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For more tips and tricks for handling a jack knife skid, WATCH THE VIDEO.