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Towing a trailer with a passenger vehicle usually means you’re heading out to do something you’ve been really looking forward to. However, towing comes with its own set of challenges. One of the most notorious is trailer sway. There’s nothing quite as unsettling as feeling your trailer start to shimmy and wave behind you on the highway. With some knowledge and the right precautions, you can keep trailer sway at bay and ensure a safe and smooth journey.

Keep weight in mind

First and foremost, proper weight distribution is key to preventing trailer sway. Ensure your trailer is evenly loaded from side to side and front to back. Avoid overloading the trailer or placing too much weight at the rear, as this can cause instability. Distribute the weight so that it is centered over the trailer’s axles for optimal balance.

You can watch a great clip of how weight distribution can cause trailer sway embedded below.

Invest in a special hitch

Next, consider investing in a quality weight distribution hitch. These hitches help to evenly distribute the weight between the tow vehicle and the trailer, reducing the likelihood of sway. They also provide additional stability and control, particularly when towing heavier loads or traveling at higher speeds.

Check your tire pressure

Another important factor is tire pressure. Low tire pressure can contribute to trailer sway, so be sure to check the pressure of both your vehicle’s tires and the trailer tires before hitting the road. Make sure that the tires are properly inflated according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

A dark pickup truck towing a boxy camper in a desert environment on the highway
Photon-Photos via iStock

No sudden moves

Additionally, pay attention to your driving habits. Avoid sudden maneuvers, such as quick lane changes or sharp turns, which can exacerbate trailer sway. Instead, maintain a steady speed and keep a safe distance from other vehicles on the road. If you encounter sway, resist the urge to brake suddenly, as this can worsen the problem. Instead, gently apply the brakes on both the tow vehicle and the trailer to slow down gradually and regain control.

Stay aware

Lastly, be mindful of external factors that can contribute to trailer sway, such as strong crosswinds or uneven road surfaces. Adjust your driving accordingly and remain vigilant, especially in challenging weather conditions.

By following these tips and staying proactive about trailer sway prevention, you can enjoy a safer towing experience. Remember, a little prep goes a long way to keep your trailer steady and secure on the road.