What to do when a trailer starts to sway

When a trailer becomes unstable due to incorrect loading or crosswinds its important to know how to react.  Many people still believes the old wives tale that you can “jerk a trailer out of a sway” by gearing down and “flooring it”.  This is very bad advice and extremely dangerous.  When you tow a trailer and it starts to sway, do the following:

  • Remove your foot from the accelerator
  • Keep the steering wheel straight, or if you are busy rounding a corner, corner as usual, do NOT try and counter steer
  • Gently start to apply your brakes.  Do not brake hard,  try to fade it in slowly and evenly
  • The trailer sway will slowly recede and stop.
  • Stop your vehicle and check the trailer, tow hitch and your towing vehicle for damage.  If weight distribution is a problem, move more of the weight to the front of the axle.  Continue your travels at a reduced speed.