Imagine purchasing a brand-new travel trailer with the hope of utilizing all summer long, only to completely destroy it a few minutes after hooking it up to your truck. This devastating situation just happened to a couple in Silverdale, Washington. Sadly, 20 minutes after the couple purchased their new trailer, it was destroyed.
According to KOMO News, the couple bought the trailer and hooked it up to their Jeep Cherokee. As they were driving down the freeway, the trailer began to sway, the driver to lost control, and the trailer completely flipped over.
“Unbeknownst to them, the trailer has pressure treated two by six boards underneath, making the trailer heavier than they believed,” said Trooper Chelsea Hodgson.
Thankfully, no one was hurt in this trailer crash, but these accidents are far too frequent on U.S. roadways. Trailer sway can cause catastrophic collisions on the road and needs to be taken seriously by drivers who are towing any kind of trailer as well as other drivers on the road.
Trailer sway is actually the number one cause of trailer accidents and can be caused by strong winds, erratic driving, and a poor hookup to the tow.
In order to avoid ruining new or old trailers, as well as stay safe out on the roadways, preventing trailer sway needs to be at the top of every tow driver’s roadway safety list. Here are some helpful tips that should prevent trailer sway and potentially even save some lives:
- Utilize trailer sway devices — Trailer sway devices are great for preventing sway and keeping yourself, your load, and other drivers safe. Trailer sway devices come in two basic types: those that reduce sway once the swaying has already begun and those that work to prevent trailer sway altogether.
- Know your Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) — Knowing the GVWR of your truck and trailer before you attach it to your hitch is essential for every driver planning on towing a trailer. If you max out the rating of either your truck or trailer, sway will likely occur on the road.
- Calibrate your trailer’s tension on the sway control bar — Custom torque sensors can help calibrate the exact GVWR. Keep in mind, however, these sensors are calibrated to 360,000 pounds. You can set the trailer sway control by testing the adjustment bolt at the factory present level of friction. Additionally, you’ll need to perform a serious of road tests with the trailer once it’s loaded. Also, you should never heave the tension handle in the on position when backing a trailer or when driving in slick conditions.
- Use durable hookup chains — Trailer hookup chains are essential for towing and these chains should be crossed. Because a trailer’s chain is the last defense when a trailer decouples or unhitches from the tow vehicle, they need to be strong and crossed in order to lessen the chance of the trailer’s tongue hitting the ground.
- Properly attach the breakaway cable — If the trailer that’s being towed is equipped with breaks (which is required if the trailer weights more than 3,000 pounds), it must have a breakaway cable attached. If the trailer decouples, the cable will automatically trigger the trailer’s breaks and slow it down.
- Pay attention to tire pressure — Uneven tire wear can lead to major swaying problems. Towing drivers need to carefully monitor tire pressure prior to transporting a trailer. Be sure to always check and double check both the tire pressure on the towing vehicle and the trailer itself.
Don’t let trailer sway ruin your summer plans or cause even more devastating problems. Whenever you’re towing anything, make sure it’s properly attached, the breaks are working fine, and everything else is ready to go in order to ensure a safe drive.