Trailer Sway Myths
Hensley no Sway Post thought I would share ! Happy Towing !!
Posted on 04.29.13 | Sway Control News, Trailer Sway
When you see this coming, you don’t want to rely on your quick reflexes to avoid trailer sway.
We hear some pretty amazing methods for controlling trailer sway. We’ve had people tell us that they simply turn into the passing trucks in anticipation of the air movement. We had another guy tell us that when he sees a semi-truck coming, he simply opens both front windows and the “bow wave” of air rushes right through. You can’t make this stuff up.
Probably the most common method we hear, though, is the use of the brake controller. The theory is that if you lightly depress the manual button on the brake controller just as the trailer sway begins, you “line up” the truck and trailer again. Then you can go on your merry way.
If it’s a race, Trailer Sway will win
Let me assure you, my friends, that none of us is quick enough to hit the brake controller in a situation where you’re about to lose control of your trailer. I’m sure some folks have actually done this, but I’m equally sure that they’re experiencing very minor sway. In a situation where violent trailer sway sets in, by the time you hit that manual button your trailer will be rolling over and your tow vehicle will probably be going with it.
Using your brake controller to control trailer sway will also result in wear and tear on your trailer brakes as well as your receiver. While brakes can be replaced, a stressed receiver will fail over time and result in an accident. Think about it, your truck is already towing 8,000lbs. or so of trailer. By applying the trailer brakes, you’re increasing the force on your receiver by ten times or more. Chances are you’ll lock up the trailer brakes completely, meaning your truck is now pulling an 8,000lbs. trailer at 60mph while dragging rubber on the road. If you’re lucky, you won’t blow a tire, though I guarantee you’ve greatly reduced the life of those tires.
A Sway Control Hitch
Let me assure you that the only thing the manual button on your brake controller is good for is testing your trailer brakes while coasting out of your driveway at 5mph. If you truly did need it in any emergency situation, it’s unlikely that you’d be quick enough to get any use out of it. In the case of trailer sway, the last thing you want to do is take your eyes off the road or your hands off the steering wheel. The only way to guarantee that you’ll never have an accident due to trailer sway is with a sway elimination hitch (not a sway control hitch).
Every trailer owner we meet will say that safety is their #1 concern. Yet amazingly few will put real thought into the safety devices on their trailer. Only three things hold you on the road: tires, the truck receiver, and the hitch. Most RVers won’t question the tires that came with the trailer, the receiver that came with their truck, or the sway control hitch that their dealer “threw in for free” on the tongue of their trailer. Yet every year there are thousands of trailer sway accidents, any one of which will cost you far more than a quality set of tires, a good receiver, and a sway elimination hitch combined.
We can’t help you with the tires or receiver (though we can make recommendations…we own trailers too), but we can ensure that trailer sway is never, ever a concern for you. Since trailer sway is the #1 cause of trailer accidents, it is simply the best investment you can make for your family’s safety and your peace of mind.