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By | February 4, 2017

Causes and Prevention of Trailer Sway

Sway is one of the challenges you are likely to experience when towing your RV on the road. Your trailer can start swaying or fishtailing when there is a sudden burst of wind or a passing semi-truck. Even experienced drivers are not spared by sways while on the road. A sway can make you lose control and end up in an accident. Your vacation can be ruined when you get a sway while towing your RV.

What makes trailers fish tail?
A sway of fishtail can happen on the road when you are towing your trailer with a hitch. The way the hitch works is similar to a pivot between two centers of gravity. You will have to steer the trailer suddenly in a different direction when an unexpected force appears. 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 trailer front is specifically designed to improve towing gas mileage. 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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Balance and weight problems are also known to cause fishtails. When you load a lot of gear on one side of the camper, the trailer can become unbalanced. The trailer will then easily swing since it is unbalanced. You can compare the swinging of the trailer like that of a pendulum.
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You can ensure the trailer is more stable by balance the weight in it. About 12 to 15 percent of the trailers’s weight should be on the hitch. However, even as you strive to balance the trailer, do not go overboard the tow rating.

How to Prevent Swaying
Preventing fishtailing from happening the first place is the best way to go. Plan your travel when there are no crosswinds. Apart from this, when on the road, check for large semi-trucks that may be passing you from behind. Finally, use a commercial scale to confirm that you have balanced the weight in your RV correctly.

You should know what can cause fishtails before starting your journey with a towed RV. The above provides an overview of what caused fishtails and how you can avoid it.