If you have just bought a car trailer but have never used one before, then you probably don't know what jackknifing means. Well, jackknifing is a situation where the car trailer and the tow vehicle fold at the intersection to form an acute angle. It usually happens during improper turning or in emergencies where the car trailer skids and pushes the towing vehicle out of position. Jackknifing presents a dangerous situation that most drivers struggle to prevent. Luckily, avoiding jackknifing with your new car trailer is not a difficult thing to do if you follow the tips highlighted in this article.
Avoid Braking and Swerving -- As mentioned earlier, jackknifing can occur during emergencies, especially when you do not have an option but to apply emergency brakes. For instance, if you are towing a loaded car trailer and are trying to avoid hitting the car in front, you will be forced to apply emergency brakes. Most motorists combine emergency braking with swerving actions as they try to avoid collisions. However, while this might work in typical situations, it is a dangerous combination when you have a car trailer in tow. It is because braking and swerving at the same time will throw the container in the opposite direction, thus causing the unit to jackknife. If emergency braking is inevitable, then the best approach is to swerve in between braking. You first apply the brakes, let go, swerve and then brake again until the truck and the trailer come to a stop. The alternating actions allow a fully loaded car trailer to follow the car, thus preventing it from skidding out of position and jackknifing.
Proper Loading -- According to most traffic reports, most jackknifing occurrences are caused by improper loading. It can be attributed to the fact that heavier car trailers bear more on the road, which increases the friction between the tires and the road surface. It improves traction and prevents the tires from skidding or moving faster than the tow vehicle. In a poorly loaded car trailer, uneven load distribution affects trailer traction, thus increasing the chances of jackknifing mainly when you apply the brakes. Therefore, when loading a car trailer ensure that the weight is centrally located so that the trailer follows the truck and doesn't sway.
Use Side Mirrors -- If you are towing a car trailer, then you need to use the side mirrors effectively. By continually checking the side mirrors as you drive, you can keep an eye on the trailer swing. Unfortunately, most drivers only use the side mirrors when backing up the car trailer. Such ignorance often leads to jackknifing accidents and can only be avoided by frequently watching the trailer swing. For example, using the side mirrors when braking allows you to keep a close watch on how the car trailer behaves. Consequently, it ensures you can prevent jackknifing as soon as you detect it.
If you have any other questions about avoiding jackknifing, contact a place that sells car trailers.