At some point in your driving career, you’ve probably been heading down the road and noticed somebody that was pulling a trailer of some kind and it was wiggling. That wiggling is called sway, and it can become very very dangerous. In extreme cases the fishtailing motion of the trailer can become so great that the trailer will move out of line far enough to be side on to the direction of travel and cause the trailer and tow vehicle to flip.
So I thought I’d pass along some pointers, tips, and items that will help prevent this from occurring. The primary cause of trailer sway is poor weight distribution, either from weight being concentrated forward or aft of the axles, an off balance load where weight is concentrated on one side or another, or even the wheel base of the tow vehicle comes into play. Sway can be exacerbated by speed, tire inflation on the trailer, or something as seemingly insignificant as the distance between the trailer hitch and the axles.
To help prevent sway the following must be part of your checklist:
- Make sure the weight on the trailer is evenly distributed
- Ensure the tow hitch is adjusted properly
- Install anti-sway equipment, and make sure it’s working properly
- Drive defensively, and that means other traffic AND weather
- Be extra vigilant if your trailer is not equipped with brakes
Some of the anti-sway items we supply are:
Here‘s a video demonstrating how anti-sway hitches work.
So we’ve done all we can to ensure that the chances of sway are minimized, but what do you do if sway starts? Gradually slow down, add a little trailer brake (if installed), and don’t accelerate are all good options, but the EASIEST way to eliminate trailer sway is to eliminate the trailer and buy a motorhome from PPL Motorhomes!