Towing Safety: What Causes Roadway Trailer Sway?

Imagine driving down the highway with your family, camper attached to your truck’s tow, and you’re all sharing your excitement about your annual camping trip. Suddenly, a large gust of wind strikes your vehicle on the driver’s side. This fun-filled family trip has now transformed into a life or death situation.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are over 50,000 accidents every year related to towing.

At high speeds, trailer sway problems can have fatal consequences. Trailer sway control is imperative for any truck driver with a tow attached. Any trailer towed with a hitch can sway or fishtail while driving down the road. The hitch acts as a pivot point in-between the centers of gravity of the two automobiles. Even the slightest sway or side-to-side force can turn the vehicle and create unexpected and dangerous forces. First, let’s identify what primarily causes trailer sway:

  • Strong winds and drafts — Strong winds can cause problems for any vehicle, and are even more dangerous when large trailers are involved. Drafts from passing semi trucks can result in serious on-road problems, as well.
  • Weight and balance issues — If there are weight distribution issues on your vehicle, it’s only a matter of time before you lose control. Weight distribution systems are recommended if your trailer weight is more than 50% of your truck’s weight. Additionally, between 12% and 15% of your trailer’s weight should be resting on your towing vehicle’s hitch. While descending hills, if your weight distribution is off, you will be in serious trouble of losing control of your vehicle and trailer.
  • Driving erratically — The best way to ensure trailer sway control is to simply drive safely. Erratic driving in any vehicle is dangerous, but it’s so much worse to drive a truck towing a large trailer fast and unstable. Rather than putting yourself, your family, and everyone else out on the roadways in danger, drive much slower than usual and stay as safe as possible.

There are two main types of trailer sway devices: those that reduce sway as soon as it has begun and those that work to prevent sway altogether. Make sure your vehicle is equipped with sway control devices, weight distribution systems, and that you’re driving safe at all times.

If you want to learn more about trailer sway prevention and purchase a quality trailer sway control hitch, give Hayes Towing Electronics a call right away.

Avoid These 4 Costly Mistakes When Towing a Trailer

Driving a large truck with a tow attached on a long road trip can be a lot of fun, especially if you’re going camping or spending time with family or friends. However, these vehicles are much more dangerous than the average automobile. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there are over 50,000 accidents every year related to trailer towing.

If you’re not careful when driving a large truck that is towing a trailer, you could quickly lose control of the vehicle, subsequently putting everyone around at a major risk. Your trailer can come unhinged, your truck could spin out of control, and all kinds of issues could arise — so you need to be extremely careful out on the roads.

When driving a large truck or towing a trailer, make sure you’re avoiding these costly mistakes:

  • Forgoing regular vehicle inspections — You need to make sure your truck and trailer are working properly at all times. Before you get behind the wheel, simply walk around the truck and trailer and look at everything. Make sure the trailer brake wiring for the brake controllers is connected properly, all tires are inflated, and there are no other issues you should be aware of.
  • Neglecting trailer sway control — The most common incident involving trailers on the road can be attributed to sway. Trailer sway devices come in two basic types: devices that reduce sway once it has begun and devices that work to prevent trailer sway altogether. Whether you’re driving down the street or across the country, trailer sway control is imperative for roadway safety.
  • Not using weight distribution systems — Weight distribution systems are recommended if the trailer weight is more than 50% of the towing vehicle’s weight. Additionally, between 12% and 15% of the trailer’s weight should be resting on the towing vehicle’s hitch.
  • Driving erratically — Finally, you need to be driving responsible at all times, as well. If you’re not driving safely, you’re putting everyone at risk. You should drive careful no matter what vehicle you’re in, but since large trucks and trailers are heavier than the majority of automobiles, you need to drive slow, carefully and pay even more attention at all times.

Be sure to avoid these mistakes at all costs in order to keep you, your family, and everyone else on the road safe. If you want to learn more about safely driving a large truck or towing a trailer, or find some quality trailer sway control devices, give Hayes Towing Electronics a call right away.

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