A Guide to Avoiding Trailer Sway
One of the most frightening things you may experience when towing your RV is sway. Your trailer can start swaying or fishtailing when there is a sudden wind or a semi-truck passes behind you on the road. Even experienced drivers are not spared by sways while on the road. When you lose control due to fishtailing, you can end up causing an accident. The last thing you want is to experience a sway when you are going on vacation.
What makes trailers fish tail?
A sway of fishtail can happen on the road when you are towing your trailer with a hitch. The hitch that is between the two vehicles works in the same manner as a pivot between their centers of gravity. When an unexpected force appears on the side, it can mean you will have to steer the trailer unexpectedly. If the force is too strong, it can make the trailer tip over or separate. In some cases, the truck or car can tip.
One of the causes of sway is wind, and in particular, crosswinds. Apart from winds, sways can be caused by incorrectly braking when you are descending hills or by drafts from trucks passing you. The design of the front of the trailer is special in that it makes towing gas mileage efficient. However, the sides of the trailer are not designed for the same purpose. The trailers can be pushed to the side by a force caused even by a small wind. For example, a sway can result when the sides of the trailer are hit with a force of 3,440 pounds caused by a wind moving at 35mph.
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Another common cause of a sway is balance and weight problems. Loading a lot of gear on one side of the trailer can make it lose balance. The trailer will then easily swing since it is unbalanced. If you know how a pendulum swings, that is how an unbalanced trailers will be like.
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To improve the stability of the trailer, it is important to balance the weight of the camper. The hitch of the tow vehicle should have about 12% to 15% of the trailer’s weight. However, it is important to ensure you do not pass the tow rating of the vehicle of the hitch.
Easy Ways to Prevent Fishtailing
One of the ways of preventing swaying is to make sure it does not occur. As you plan to drive to your vacation place, check that the day you want to travel will not be characterized by crosswinds. Also, anticipate the gust of wind that will be caused by semi-trucks that will be passing you when on the road. You can also use a commercial scale to know whether the weight you are carrying is balanced in the RV.
It is important to know the causes of sway before you set of for your journey towing your RV. The above is an overview of the causes and prevention of sway.