VIDEO - Trailer Sway 101

video iconHave you ever had your trailer start to play wag the dog while you are driving along the highway? Chances are good that this happened due to the way that you loaded your trailer. Too much weight on the rear of a trailer is a recipe for trouble. This video shows why.

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I just witnessed this very issue last week while a fella was driving over a narrow bridge.  I was a few vehicles back so I was out of harms way and the driver managed to correct but he was also traveling way over the speed limit.  It’s like some drivers don’t know to put load weight over the rear tires and up front of the truck bed.  It’s one of those questions that should be in the drivers test.  

Excellent demonstration

As someone who has done quite a lot of trailer towing, I like that video. It demonstrates how a good car/trailer setup will resist and cancel sway (yaw), and how a bad setup will prevent recovery. The key to stability is concentrating the load down low and over the trailer axle as much as possible. A high centre of gravity correlates with needing more tongue weight. A boat might tow well as low as 5% tongue weight. Airstreams tow well at about 11%. Conventional travel trailers with slide-outs (with more weight up high) might need 15%. 

The other key is a correctly done hitch setup - particularly with weight distributing hitches.

If the setup is right, towing can be very enjoyable. If it’s not, you have a white-knuckle situation on your hands. 

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