Sway often happens if your hitch is
not set correctly or the weight in your trailer is
incorrectly proportioned. Looking closely at
these two things can reduce the likelihood of sway
Constantly monitoring your mirrors
and always be on the alert for large trucks passing
can assist you in being prepared. When being
passed by a large truck, keep both hands on the
wheel and maintain your speed.
When you find yourself in the
situation where the trailer behind you developes a
sway for whatever reason, the main thing to remember
is don't panic. Quick controlled response is
important, but do not react suddenly.
Here are some specific points to
note when you find yourself in this situation -
- your first reaction may be to slam
on the brakes. Don't ! Applying the
brakes will only make it worse.
- don't try to steer out of it.
By the time you turn the steering wheel one way to
steer out of it, the trailer is already swinging in
the other direction and gaining momentum with each
of your steering movements. Hold the wheel as
steady as you can and try to stay in your lane.
You may find yourself "all over your lane", but
staying contained within the lane will assist other
traffic around you.
- this is where practising applying
your hand assisted brake controller will pay off.
G-e-n-t-l-y apply the brakes using the controller.
This will apply braking to the trailer only and
therefore straighten it behind you. It is
impossible to lock the trailer brakes using this
method, so it is the safest reaction in a panic
situation. If you can do so safely, also apply
a little foot pad braking, but only if you
feel you have control of the situation and will not
panic by doing so.
- Try to slow down gradually.
Without taking your foot off the gas, just back off a
you find the sway becoming worse as you are slowing,
follow the next tip on accelerating.
- The main thing the trailer is
doing in this situation is trying to pass you.
Unable to do this because of the hitch, the energy
is passed side to side. If you are confident
that your rig is stable at higher speeds, give it a
little gas. If your trailer easily sways at low
speeds it certainly won't help by accelerating.
Hopefully you have driving quite a few miles in the
past with your trailer and know it's capabilities
and quirks. This is when people refer to
experience. Knowledge is experience.