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Old 05-23-2017, 11:26 AM   #1
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Proper Emergency Procedure - Uncontrolled Trailer Sway

There does not seem to be much literature out there regarding emergency procedures in the event of trailer sway. While we all take great care in properly loading out trailers and vehicles and using sway control devices, it is still important in my opinion to know what to do in case of an emergency where the trailer does start to enter an uncontrollable sway.

I have read that stepping on the brakes is a no no, and have read elsewhere that someone used the brake controller and accelerator at the same time to bring back the trailer in-line after forgetting to empty a full gray tank and encountering this situation.

Can anyone with knowledge or experience weigh in on this?


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Old 05-23-2017, 11:59 AM   #2
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I luckily have never had this experience and hope I never do. I am interested in reading from others about their experiences and learn how to get out of it if it did ever occur...
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Old 05-23-2017, 12:30 PM   #3
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When we bought our first TT, a 19' Jayco, the dealer installed a remote brake controller that plugs into the lighter. When the Jayco started swaying, I just activated the trailer brakes with the remote. That stopped the sway. Now with the larger trailer and Tundra I have not had any sway issues. I do hook up the sway bar every time out. Just my experience. I am NO authority on this.
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Old 05-23-2017, 01:06 PM   #4
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I have personally experienced this in a flat trailer loaded with wood. The trailer had no brakes, which in my opinion would have saved the day.

My load on the trailer caused the whole unit to float. Little to no weight on the hitch. I was much younger before the incident and grew many years older once everything calmed down.

I reached a speed of 45 miles per hour and it started to sway. The sway increased in intensity and osculation until I was basically holding on for life. Traffic backed way down and allowed me enough room to cross both lanes. taking my foot off the accelerator it slowed down in time to not dump the load or me and the truck. I said my prayers after that.

I never wish to experience that again let alone with a TT and the weight that is potentially thrown around.

When it begins just tap the brake controller to slow down the whole rig and allow the TV to pull it all straight again. No need to accelerate, just let the momentum of the TV pull it all straight with the brakes on the trailer.

I hope this helps. Also test your brake controller every trip. make sure it functions as needed before you put to many miles on it from home.
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Old 05-23-2017, 07:32 PM   #5
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I will start by saying that I'm not an expert by any means but I have experienced sway twice while towing a travel trailer. When the sway started I activated the trailer brakes by hand using the brake controller lever. I started with a small amount of braking force and gradually applied more force as the trailer sway started to decrease. While I was applying the trailer brakes I did not decrease my speed but kept my foot on the accelerator to try to keep tension between the tow vehicle and trailer instead of letting the hitch connection go "slack", so to speak.

This condition only happened when I towed our TT with a conversion van. I accounted this condition to the soft side wire tires on the van. When I purchased my F250, with E rated tires, never had the issue happen again.
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Old 05-24-2017, 03:18 PM   #6
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Correct, use the manual lever to activate trailer brakes only and apply throttle to pull trailer in line. Two problems, most brake controllers are mounted too low for effective emergency use and instinctively most of us will panick and slam on the tow vehicle brakes
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