Pennsylvania truck drivers can take steps to avoid jackknifing depending on the cause of the problem and the point at which they realize it is happening. It is important to keep an eye on mirrors to check the frequency of trailer swing. If a driver is towing a trailer and notices that a jackknife is already in progress, increasing speed may straighten it. In other cases, releasing the brake may increase traction. For a tractor jackknife caused by accelerating too quickly, drivers should let up on the gas pedal until they get traction again and steer out.
Jackknifing may be more likely when the trailer is empty because drivers will often overbrake. Empty trailers also have less traction due to the lack of weight. Braking during turns can also cause jackknifing. It is better to slowly decelerate as the bend in the road is coming up. Slamming on the brakes may also lead to a jackknife, and following other vehicles at a safe distance can decrease the possibility that doing so will be necessary.
Novice drivers may not realize that trailers should be packed to ensure a low center of gravity. This means spreading the weight and keeping it low. While backing up, drivers should put their hand at the bottom of the steering wheel as they look backward to reverse in order to prevent a jackknife.
An individual may sustain serious injuries following an accident with a truck that has jackknifed. The insurance company may refuse to pay an adequate amount of compensation, and the injured victim may want the assistance of an attorney in filing a personal injury lawsuit against the driver. If the truck driver was on the job on the time, the company the driver was working for may be held responsible as well.