Before you tow you should consider:
Know Overall Weight – Be aware of the actual weight and the ratings of all of your equipment.
Distribute Tongue weight – Most trailers require 10% to 15% of their total weight to be on the tongue to work correctly.
Adequate Towing Capacity – Your towing vehicle should have a towing capacity in excess of the weight of the trailer, passengers, and cargo
Balance Your Load – Ensure that your trailer is loaded evenly from side-to-side.
Use A Weight Distributing Hitch – Use a weight distributing hitch if your tow vehicle requires it. This is different from a sway control device. A weight distributing hitch works to ensure the rear axle is not overloaded, which can contribute to sway, and also ensures the front axle is not under-loaded.
Check Tire Pressure – Keep the tires (on both the tow vehicle and the trailer) properly inflated and ensure they have good tread.
Use A Sway Control Device – Sway control devices are sold to help minimize the propensity for a trailer to sway when exposed to such things as wind gusts and passing semi-trailers. However, not all sway control devices perform the same. While more expensive, you should consider a Hensley Hitch, which has been shown to be more effective than other traditional friction sway control devices.
Buy Trailer Brakes – Trailer brakes do not often come with towing vehicles, but after-market trailer brake systems can be purchased. When properly installed and calibrated, they can help you gain control if sway occurs.
Maintain Safe Speed – Although sway can occur at any speed, its likelihood rises with speed.
Stay Alert – Be aware of what is around you, such as a passing semi, truck or bus, or strong crosswinds.
What To Do If Sway Happens:
- Don’t panic. Responding quickly and properly is important, but it must be controlled and not sudden.
- Don’t try to steer out of it. Attempt to hold the wheel steady and driving straight forward.
- Gradually slow down by letting off the gas.
- If available, apply the trailer brakes.
- Don’t slam on the vehicle’s brakes, as such braking will just make the sway worse.
- Pull off the side of the road in a controlled manner when the sway subsides.