When you are hauling a trailer, the last thing you want it to do is sway. Not only can a semi-hinged or unsecured trailer pose hazards to surrounding drivers, pedestrians, and structures, it can also put your cargo at risk of being damaged. So, if you’ve experienced problems with trailer swaying in the past, it is important to review some of the top trailer towing safety tips before hitting the road again.
To operate at your safest, you must know how to both prevent and stop trailer swaying. Continue reading get started.
Trailer Swaying Prevention
In order to prevent your trailer from becoming a sway hazard, there are strategies to implement both before you hit the road and while you’re on it. First, you must check with your towing vehicle’s owners’ manual for information about proper towing capacity, recommended towing gear, and related towing specifications. When you are hauling too much weight for your particular make and model vehicle, you risk damaging your vehicle, the trailer, and everything its hauling. Furthermore, you are a much higher risk for trailer swaying.
Another vital preparation to make in order to prevent trailer swaying is to have your tires serviced. Be sure both your towing vehicle tires and trailer tires have proper inflation. Also be sure your spare is in good condition and properly inflated. To prevent trailer swaying, always load your trailer evenly. Proper weight distribution is key to maintaining full control over your trailer.
If you have too much weight on one side, your trailer can sway, shift, or ride lopsided, all of which can pose several dangers to others. Another effective safety precaution to prevent trailer swaying is to avoid driving in bad weather. Rain, snow, ice, storms, and especially heavy winds can cause trailer swaying no matter how many additional precautions you’ve taken. Avoid using your trailer during times of inclement weather.
When on the road, there is also a lot you can do to prevent trailer swaying. First, do not come to any sudden stops. Give yourself plenty of time to brake slowly and stop in full control. Most importantly, do not speed. In fact, slow down a bit, and drive at a speed just below what you would normally drive at. This will give you more reaction time and control.
How to Stop Trailer Swaying
You never want to look in your rearview mirror and witness your trailer fishtailing, or worse, detaching. If this does happen, there are some maneuvers you can do to help gain back control and prevent any accidents. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommendations, if your trailer starts to sway while you are driving, you should immediately activate the manual brake control override by hand.
DO NOT APPLY THE AUTOMATIC FOOT BRAKES! Using your foot brakes to stop a swaying trailer is like trying to put out a fire with gasoline. Unless you are in imminent risk of colliding with something or someone, do not use your brakes to stop a swaying trailer. Other times, if a vehicle passes you on the road too closely, or you get hit with sudden crosswinds, it can cause a bit of swaying. When this happens, just keep a firm foot on your accelerator and tight grip on your wheel until the swaying is finished.
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