Hot Shot hauling a bulldozer - D4 caterpillar 19000 pounds When you are out on the open road hauling your trailer, nothing is more terrifying than a fishtailing trailer. Whether it’s because of the wind or making a sudden correction, it’s easy to lose control and get into an accident once the trailer starts to sway.

Even for Tulsa hot shot drivers who have years of experience driving trailers, a swaying trailer could still mean disaster. In this article, we will look at the causes of fishtailing, ways to prevent it, and what to do if your trailer begins to fishtail.

 

We will cover the following topics in this article about Trailer Fishtailing:

  • Trailer Sway – What Causes It?
  • Wind – Trailer Fishtailing
  • An Unbalanced Trailer Load
  • How to Prevent Trailer Sway?
  • Are there Any Products to Prevent Trailer Sway?
  • Stopping Trailer Sway

Trailer Sway – What Causes It?

The hitch on the back of your truck is a pivot point when you hook your trailer up to it. If any sideways force acts upon your trailer, it will make your trailer sway. Even the friction of the tires against the road might not be able to stop it. When this sideways force pushes your trailer, it can lead to one of two results. Either the trailer will tip over, or it will become separated from your truck. In the case of the former, the tipping trailer might tip your vehicle over with it.

The following are two of the forces you need to look out for when driving with a trailer:

Wind

Crosswinds are the primary cause of fishtailing, often the result of vehicles passing your truck or braking poorly while you are going down a hill. Other times, it could just be the result of a windy day. In either case, both of these are enough to cause trailer sway.

An Unbalanced Trailer Load

In our discussion about trailer safety, one of our pieces of advice is to balance your trailer’s load. If there is too much or too little cargo on one side of the trailer compared to the other, the load is unbalanced. An unbalanced trailer’s swaying is going to be far worse than that of a balanced one. As always, read the owner’s manual to know how much weight your trailer can safely carry. After that, make sure there is even distribution of cargo on both sides, and that the rear of the trailer is not overburdened.

How to Prevent Trailer Sway?

The safest way to correct your trailer is to not let it fishtail, period. Make sure you aren’t traveling during too windy of a day, to avoid crosswinds. In addition, watch for large passing vehicles and be ready for them.

Are there Any Products to Prevent Trailer Sway?

Some types of hitches, such as weight distribution hitches, can help keep you safe by reducing how much your trailer sways. Furthermore, some trailers brake once you use your vehicle’s brakes, or have an emergency lever you can pull to activate the trailer’s brakes.

Stopping Trailer Sway

When your trailer fishtails, activate the trailer’s brakes with the lever, but don’t use your own brakes. If you don’t have that option available, let off the acceleration and don’t brake unless you are going to crash into someone. Whatever you do, do not try to correct it. We cannot emphasize this enough, as often this will make the swaying worse.

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If you want to learn more about driving safely with a trailer, consider reading through some of the other pieces on our blog. (918) 884-9421