Let me guess, you read the title and you are here for me to tell you the best way to stop a trailer from swaying on the road?
Yes, we are here to lay out what to do when trailer starts swaying and, most importantly, how to minimize trailer sway in the first place.
The very first thing you have to do when your trailer starts swaying is: Stay Calm. As calm as possible and keep driving slowly.
Below are a few other things you can do when you find yourself in this situation. Because no matter how much “trailer towing” experience you have, you can lose control over your trailer without warning.
FYI: What is it called when your trailer starts swaying? its called "Fishtailing". Hence the common question: "How to stop trailer fishtailing"
What To Do When Trailer Starts Swaying
- Stay Calm.
- Release the gas pedal and avoid stepping on the brake pedal. You want to slow down gradually, on its own.
- Do not brake and keep the steering wheel straight. Trying to control the sway, or fight against it, will make matters worse.
- If you have trailer brakes, manually push the lever gently once the speed has decreased.
- Do not increase your speed if you are going downhill.
- Pull over, ASAP, to a safe space and inspect your cargo to see if it shifted or needs to be moved around, so more weight is at the front of the trailer.
- Once you’re back on the road, maintain a slower speed while driving. Stay about 10 mph under the speed at which you noticed the trailer sway starting.
Get your hitch inspected to ensure it is not defective. Replace it if need: you may want to invest in Sway Pro another Weight Distributing Hitch once you’ve read on about “How do I stop my trailer from fishtailing?”
Related: How Does A Trailer Sway Bar Work?
What Causes Trailer Sway?
What To Do When Trailer Starts Swaying Causes: Any trailer towed with a hitch set behind the rear axle of the tow vehicle can sway while driving. A trailer can sway for many reasons:
- Wind Gusts and Drafts
- Poor Driving Conditions
- Excessive Speed
- Excessive Tongue Weight
- Improper Weight Distribution and Balance
- Low Tire Pressure
- Hitch Adjustments
- Descending Hills
- Incorrect Braking
- Fast-Passing Large Truck Drafts
- Over-Corrected Steering
Checklist: How To Prevent Trailer Sway aka Fishtailing
Now that you know what to do when your trailer starts to sway and what causes trailer sway to happen you’re probably wondering how to stop trailer sway before you get out on the road. Before you hit the road, you want to be sure you’ve done everything you can to prevent trailer sway.
- Choose the right tow vehicle
- Load your trailer with 60% of the cargo weight in the front half of the trailer box.
- Load Carefully
- Don’t overload your tow vehicle.
- Check your ties or straps to make sure they are secure, so items don’t possibly shift again.
- Avoid driving in high winds
- Use products that can reduce trailer sway
- Install a traction control system
- Don’t exceed your trailer’s maximum gross weight.
- Only load cargo on the inside of the trailer. Don’t load outside and don’t allow cargo to extend out the rear of the trailer.
- Install a brake controller
- Maintain a speed of 55 miles per hour or less.
Final Thoughts: Be Safe Out There
It’s awesome that you are here to learn What To Do When Trailer Starts Swaying because trailer fishtailing is a very dangerous threat to every driver on the road.
Unfortunately, there are people out there towing travel trailers or bumper pull cargo trailers who don’t know about trailer sway and its dangers until it’s too late.
But now, at least, you know how to minimize the risk of trailer sway,how to stop a trailer from swaying, keep yourself safe, and be a responsible driver.
Again, be safe out there!
Related: Travel Trailer Vacuum