You’re out on the open highway when all of a sudden a heavy gust of wind comes along. Your trailer starts to sway back and forth a bit. This is a dangerous situation because trailer sway can cause your vehicle to tip over or cause a deadly accident. How can you prevent this from happening? Here are three tips on fixing trailer sway.
Check Your Vehicle’s Tow Weight Rating
The first thing you need to do is make sure your vehicle is capable of towing the weight you are pulling by checking its tow rating. You also need to double-check the gross vehicle weight rating as well. The gross weight rating totals the amount that your vehicle’s suspension and the engine can handle with curb, tongue, and passenger weights. Also, check the gross combined weight rating of your vehicle. This rating calculates the maximum amount of weight that both your truck and trailer can handle at one time.
You can weigh your vehicle and trailer on commercial scales located at truck stops. Going over your tow ratings can be disastrous. Keeping your weight about 20% to 25% below your towing ratings will reduce the chances of trailer sway. Approximately 12% to 15% of the total weight of the trailer should be resting on the hitch. Also, load any heavy items towards the front of the trailer and tie them down if necessary to keep them from moving around.
Use Safe Driving Practices
One of the most important ways of fixing trailer sway is to practice safer driving. Pulling a trailer can be stressful and you just want to get to your destination as quickly as possible. However, driving at slower speeds can do wonders for trailer sway prevention. Avoid making sudden movements such as slamming on your brakes or turning the steering wheel too fast. These things can cause your trailer sway control to become highly unstable.
Give yourself plenty of space behind any cars that may be in front of you and be extra careful when changing lanes. Try to avoid driving in high wind conditions whenever possible. If you notice any signs of trailer sway, pull over to the side of the road safely as soon as you can. It’s better to be safe than risk causing a potential accident.
Install a Friction Sway Control Device
A friction trailer hitch sway control device can help reduce trailer sway by applying resistance to the way the vehicle and trailer work together. This can help cut down any effects from sharp turns and high winds. When you drive, you can turn the adjustment handle clockwise by a quarter of a turn until the trailer feels stable enough to you. These devices can be attached to both sides of a trailer hitch on trailers weighing in excess of 5,000 pounds.
Safety is your number one priority when on the road. It’s up to you to do everything you can to eliminate any potential problems you may face along the way. By following these three tips for fixing trailer sway, you can make sure you will arrive safe and sound to your desired destination.
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