Causes of Trailer Sway and How to Prevent Them

sway control hitch

Reports from the NHTSA show that an estimated 50, 000 accidents related to trailer towing occur each year. Most of these accidents are a result of preventable trailer swaying. The intensity of the swinging movements can increase and lead to trailer flipping, which may, in turn, overturn your towing vehicle. If you’re towing a swaying trailer, you have all the reasons to get worried because the outcome can be downright dangerous. Here are the reasons why your trailer may sway and steps that you should take to prevent it.

Uneven hitch weight distribution

Uneven weight distribution is a significant cause of trailer swaying. If you load too much weight towards the rear of your trailer, the trailer’s rear gets overburdened. In such cases, the rear end can act as a pendulum that swings back and forth during the movement of your trailer. As the trailer makes this movement, it can pull your vehicle along. Loading too much weight towards the front of your caravan can cause your towing vehicle to sag, and your front tires may lose traction. This problem will diminish your steering control, and make you lose control over your vehicle. Manufacturers tell trailer owners to ensure that the hitch weight exerted by the trailer at the hitching point should be at least 10% to 12% of the entire trailer weight to prevent swaying.

Poor trailer design

If your trailer has wheels that are out of alignment or a frame that is not well designed, then you’re likely to experience trailer swaying. Improper use and driving may worsen trailer swaying for trailers that are not well-designed. As such, you should take your trailer for regular servicing and inspection to ensure that it’s in proper working condition.

Exceeding trailer weight limits

If you exceed your trailer weight, your vehicle may have a rough time towing the trailer. Your suspension and frame will also get stressed, and this increases the risk of trailer swaying. Controlling an overweight trailer is a big challenge. As such, it’s advisable to load your trailer according to its design specifications to prevent swaying.

Side-winds from large passing vehicles

A powerful gust of wind from a passing truck can hit the side of your trailer and give it a side-to-side movement. The high profile of most trailers makes them more likely to get strong sways. It’s impossible to avoid such situations on most roads. As such, you should equip your truck with an RV sway control systems that can reduce the effect of side-winds. The sway control systems help in reducing and controlling swaying caused by crosswinds as well as the other mentioned causes of fishtailing.

Sway control hitch units and how they prevent trailer fishtailing

A sway control hitch unit eliminates or decreases swaying forces, which can cause trailer separation or tip over. Different types of sway control hitch units work via different mechanisms to prevent trailer swaying. Examples of such sway control hitch units include the independent friction-style sway control system, the dual-cam sway control, and the 4-point sway control system.

Controlling trailer sway is essential for your safety. Take caution when hitching, loading, and driving your towing car by considering the insightful tips above. Careful consideration of these tips, coupled with the installation of sway control systems, may improve your towing safety and guarantee a safe journey.

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