Towing Safety: Tips on How to Prevent Trailer Sway
Whether you are towing your trailer off-road or on a highway, trailer swaying or fishtailing can be frightening, not to mention dangerous. Once a trailer begins to sway precariously from side to side, it can fall and bring your vehicle down with it. Observe these measures to avoid this dangerous situation and eliminate the anxiety created by the thought of losing control of your vehicle due to trailer sway.
Avoid overloading your trailer
An overloaded trailer is one of the common causes of accidents that result from trailer sway. Excessive trailer weight can cause sagging of the rear bumper of the tow vehicle, bringing it closer to the ground as compared to the front bumper. The extra rear weight can cause loss of traction at the rear wheels causing the trailer to sway.
Avoid loading the trailer beyond its prescribed weight capacity and that of the towing vehicle, tongue, and passengers. However, if you have to, you can buy a high-quality adjustable air suspension. You can inflate the air springs to enable the vehicle to accommodate heavy loads
Balance weight correctly
Having an imbalanced load on a trailer can cause it to tip to one side and bring your car down with it. In fact, unbalanced trailers usually sway dramatically and end up in a fall. Follow these tips when loading your trailer to avoid balance problems.
• Balance the load in the center of the trailer.
• Place heavy items on the floor over the axle.
• Tie loads securely using tie down straps to prevent shifting.
Practice proper driving habits
Poor driving habits such as sudden braking, over speeding, failing to stop or slow down when changing lanes and making sharp turns can cause a trailer to sway. Also, small box and utility trailers can easily get swayed when driving on a windy day. Practice proper driving habits when towing your trailer, and pay attention to rough and weathered roads and bumps that can cause your trailer to lose stability
What to do if your trailer sways
Sometimes, you may follow all the safety measures and still experience trailer swaying. What do you do to prevent toppling? Here are some tips:
• Start slowing down and apply the trailer brakes gradually. However, don't slam the brakes.
• Avoid towing your trailer in crosswind weather, but if you have to, drive at a low speed.
• Install a friction sway device that increases the trailer and towing vehicle's resistance to swaying caused by the wind and sharp turns.
Trailer swaying can result in severe injuries and destruction of property. Observe these safety tips to prevent such incidences and have a peace of mind as you tow your trailer.