Jackknifing a truck is something to be avoided, both from a safety and cost perspective. In one of our development projects, we have therefore developed a system that warns you when your vehicle and trailer are at risk of jackknifing. But before we get to that, it’s important to understand what jackknifing is and what damage can be caused by such an unfortunate incident.
WHAT IS JACKKNIFING?
Jackknifing is when a trailer folds against the truck at an acute angle. The position of the trailer and truck then resembles a V or L, and the rig locks at that angle. If you have ever experienced this, you will know that it’s a major safety risk and can result in costly repairs. If the endplates, drawbeam, coupling, drawbar eye and drawbar are damaged, for example, it may cost anywhere between SEK 13,000 and SEK 50,000 to repair. And this is just the cost of repairs following a damage inspection. Furthermore, the truck’s downtime produces other negative cost effects, such as job losses, delayed customer deliveries, logistics planning, and HR problems.
WHEN IS THERE A RISK OF JACKKNIFING?
It’s impossible to predict with 100% certainty at what angle jackknife damage will occur, or at what angle it will no longer be possible to compensate and rectify the situation, since it all depends on the vehicle’s construction.
Reversing is a common cause of jackknifing. For example, when you don’t want to uncouple the vehicle but rather angle it from the trailer in order to tip the load over the drawbar – this only happens when reversing. It can also occur when you are in a narrow turning area and have to angle the rig to turn around, on forest roads when collecting timber, or at roadworks and construction sites. So, a professional driver’s workday often involves a risk of jackknifing.
NEW JACKKNIFE WARNING SYSTEM
In one of our development projects, we have developed a new jackknife warning system. The system issues various audible signals to the driver in good time to so that the driver is able to rectify the situation and regain control. This not only increases the safety of the driver and other road users, but also prevents expensive damage to the vehicle rig caused by jackknifing.
The digital system comprises radar sensors that detect jackknifing risks. The sensors, in combination with reflectors on the drawbar, enable highly precise angle measurement. The system can also be used for guiding when coupling a trailer.
For optimal functionality and user-friendliness, the system will communicate and interact with VBG’s user interface and other components, such as couplings and underrun protection.