Recognizing the signs of a vehicle having problems ahead of you can give you a chance to slow down and get out of the way. Teen drivers often have trouble identifying the signs of impending trouble. A lack of experience, combined with the stress of being a new driver can make it difficult to take the right action when dangerous situations arise. All drivers, however, can benefit from a greater understanding of what causes cars and trucks to crash. For example, there are three things that may cause large trucks to jackknife. A driver who can spot these signs is in a better position than most to avoid a collision.

1. The truck has lost traction

One time that you should be particularly wary of jackknifing is if the drive has been wet or icy. When the trailer’s wheels can’t get a good grip, that makes it possible for it to swing out of position, forming a traditional jackknife. When the tires skid instead of rolling, they can go in any direction. Depending on the actions of the driver, the entire trailer could move into a horizontal position, which crosses several lanes of traffic.

2. The driver slammed on his brakes

Another reason for a jackknife occurring is if a driver slams on his brakes. For example, imagine traveling on the highway and seeing slowed traffic ahead. Most people would slow down over time, coming gently to a stop or to the lower speed. If a driver is drowsy, not paying attention or otherwise negligent, he might have to slam his brakes on to stop the cab and trailer. At that point, the heavy trailer wants to continue moving ahead, even though the main vehicle has stopped. This causes it to swing to one side or the other. Sometimes, it can result in the trailer tipping over or going just slightly out of lane, but in any case, other drivers are at risk of being injured.

3. The truck isn’t maintained well

Another thing you can look out for is a truck that looks like it has not had good maintenance. If you see a driver struggling with the vehicle, see a tire that has blown out or recognize other unusual actions, the truck might be in poor condition. When the tires are bare, they have little to no traction, which puts the driver at risk of jackknifing. Speeding can also make it more likely that the driver will try to stop quickly, and with poor maintenance, the vehicle could jackknife more easily upon quickly stopping.

These are just a few things you can look for when you are approached by or approach large vehicles. If you feel the driver is weaving or acting dangerously, you can call 911 to report it. If you’re struck by that vehicle, you have a right to make a claim for compensation.