March 24, 2023


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What is “Jackknifing” With a Horse-Drawn Four Wheeled Vehicle?

2 min read

Did you ever ask yourself why a two-wheeled vehicle is safer for a beginner? In every book you can read this and whoever you ask will tell you so.

So here are the reasons for it.

For the novice whip a two-wheeled vehicle is easier and safer to handle and to drive than a four-wheeled carriage.

There is a situation known as “jackknifing” that can occur when a four-wheeled carriage is turned tightly or backed up incorrectly.

A sharp turn with a carriage that is not “cut-under” can end up in the whole vehicle tipping over, if the front wheels hit the side of the carriage.

If a four-wheeled carriage needs to be backed up jackknifing happens when the horse/s are not backing up straight and/or if the front and back wheels are not in a straight line before attempting backing up the vehicle.

In this case you will end up with the horse/s next to the back end of the carriage (in a cut-under vehicle) or the non cut-under vehicle will tip over.

A non-cut-under carriage will tip over if a turn is too tight, as the front wheels are hitting the side of the vehicle and are being blocked.

Cut-under means that there is a side-to-side space allowing the front wheels to go under the carriage in tight turns.

Although a cut-under carriage allows the wheels to come under the body, it can make the vehicle unstable. If the horse/s keep coming around, then they can hit the vehicle or “jackknife” it and flip it over, too.

For many drivers, more advanced and beginners, a cut-under vehicle would be the four-wheeled vehicle of choice.

Most Phaetons are cut-under, have got smaller front-wheels, don’t have a box and can be driven with a single horse.

A two-wheeled vehicle is therefore safer to drive for the novice whip, as it does not become jackknifed even in tighter turns or by being backed up not entirely straight.

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