how to stop a trailer from swaying

How to Stop a Trailer from Swaying: Causes and Proper Measures

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Have you ever experienced the eerie feeling of your trailer swaying back and forth while driving down the highway? Trailer fishtailing or swaying is a common problem caused by several factors, including wind, improperly inflated tires, and the trailer’s weight. Luckily for you, we have come up with some practical tips regarding how to stop a trailer from swaying.

One of the leading causes of trailer accidents is swaying. While driving on the road, you might have experienced the force of your trailer pulling the towing car all over the road or drifting side to side. Such fishtailing can cause accidents, costing you thousands of dollars in damage.

You can prevent this swaying by taking some measures. We will discuss those steps so you can stay safe on your next trip.

Why Does My Trailer Sway?

You might be wondering what causes a trailer to sway. It can happen for many reasons, so we will discuss them for you to understand the situation better.

Wind

With the trailer’s large, flat side walls, it’s easy to get pushed by even a small gust of wind or a crosswind. On these occasions, the trailer structure is responsible for swaying.

That is precisely why you must drive carefully, know the possible issues, and avoid driving in excessively windy weather.

Speed

You must stop now if you love to speed up on the road. High-speed driving is one of the leading causes of trailer sway.

An RV trailer is towed with a hitch, which makes it more unstable in case of high-speed driving. It makes the trailer swing even with the slightest gust of wind.

what causes a trailer to sway
Control your speed to prevent swaying.

Read more: Best SUVs for Towing Travel Trailers

Improper Weight Distribution

Proper weight distribution is crucial for maintaining the balance of your rig. All towed vehicles have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). The total weight of the cargo and passengers cannot exceed the GVWR.

Also, you need to distribute the cargo evenly around the rig. If one side has more load, the trailer will drift toward that side when on the road.

Suppose any damage happens because of extra weight. In that case, your insurance company will deny the claim on the grounds of exceeding the GVWR.

Irregular Tire Pressure

If your travel trailer’s tire pressure is too low, it can cause the trailer to sway on the road. Low pressure makes the tires less stable, and they can start to wobble. Want to know how to stop trailer sway while driving? Keep the tires always inflated to the proper pressure.

Tire maintenance can also affect tire health and air pressure. All tires get worn out over time. If you don’t inspect them regularly, you may get a flat tire in the middle of the road, leading to trailer swaying or accidents.

Unsecured Cargo

Unsecured cargo is another cause for trailer sway. It would be best to ensure that all your belongings are securely fastened before you take off.

If the cargo inside the travel trailer is not secured, it can cause the trailer to sway on the road. The unsecured cargo can shift around and throw off the trailer’s balance. A swaying rig can be very dangerous and may even lead to a serious accident.

Road Conditions

While driving with an RV on the tow, rough road conditions like bumps and potholes can cause the ring fishtailing. Avoiding such roads or moving slowly while crossing these sections would be the best practice.

Sudden Breaking or Lane Changes

How to stop a trailer from fishtailing? Practice good driving habits.

With a large size towed vehicle, if you make a sudden brake or change lanes, trailer sway is bound to happen. Sudden braking causes the trailer’s weight to shift forward, making it sway. It becomes worse when you brake on a wet or icy road.

When you change lanes, the trailer can start to swing from side to side. It happens because the trailer is attached to the tow vehicle by a ball hitch, which allows it to pivot.

You might like: Best Trucks For Towing 5th Wheel

How to Stop a Trailer from Swaying

Good driving practice and knowing your way around your vehicle can solve the trailer swaying problem. However, there are still measures you can take to avoid fishtailing.

Here are some ways how to reduce trailer sway:

Choose the Right Tow Vehicle

To reduce swaying, you need to choose the appropriate tow vehicle. Manufacturers often provide specially designed towing packages for their customers, including trailer hitch receivers and hitch accessories.

If you are having difficulty choosing the right tow vehicle, check the owner’s manual and review the manufacturer’s guide.

Traction Control System

Installing a traction control system can assist you if vehicle traction is lost. A traction control system reduces the force sent to the slipping wheels and keeps your vehicle stable.

Install a Brake Controller

An RV brake controller will eliminate your concern about how to stop a trailer from swaying. Get more manual control over your vehicle brakes, especially if there is an electric braking system.

A controller applies the brakes automatically when it senses swaying in the trailer. It helps to keep the trailer under control and prevents it from hitting other vehicles or causing an accident.

Weight Distribution Hitch

Minimize the chances of travel trailer sway by pairing your well-equipped vehicle with the best towing hitch. A weight-distribution hitch is not solely focused on the ball hitch but spreads across all axles.

how to reduce trailer sway
A high-quality hitch can reduce fishtailing significantly. Photo: Camping World

Weight distribution with spring bars can get additional benefits as it applies side-to-side counter pressure, leading to reduced trailer sway. Taking this particular measure can help prevent the back of the tow vehicle from dipping.

Sway Control Device

If you are still worried about how to stop a trailer from swaying, use a sway control device. It’s enough to reduce the fishtailing in a small rig but combine it with a weight distribution hitch if the rig is large.

Final Words

How to stop a trailer from swaying? By learning about the causes of fishtailing and taking proper measures to reduce it. Follow our guide to get a clear idea of what you should do to stop swaying and make your journey safer.

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