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Old 07-27-2017, 09:18 AM   #1
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How to STOP a towable from swaying and crashing

Maybe some of you haven't seen this video,it's worth watching.

Trailer Crash Video Caused By Uneven Weight Distribution

This same thing happened (about 30 years ago) to us when I was towing a 4 sled snowmobile trailer that, #1 did not have enough tongue weight. #2 the trailer was built wrong. Fortunately, the trailer had good electric brakes.

Had it not been for someone telling me how to handle a situation like this-- I and my family would have ended up the same as these people did. I had been told, and this is what I did. First I hit the GAS and at the same time hit the trailer brakes HARD. This uses the trailer brakes to bring the whole rig to a stop.

Watch the video again and stop it about half way. Look at the skid marks. This is when that guy should have been hitting the gas and the trailer brakes. Instead, he was hitting the car brakes. Don't know if this has ever been covered on IRV2, but a reminder is always good and may help someone with a towable in the future.
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Old 07-27-2017, 09:29 AM   #2
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And here is another one.

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Old 07-27-2017, 09:37 AM   #3
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A trailer does not start swaying out of nowhere- some folks simply ignore the warning signs. when it starts, just simply get off the gas and get slower without brakes.
The stepping on the gas while brake the camper is something, what sounds easier than it is in this situation. most people just simply panic and either stepping on gas or on the brakes at the wrongest of the wrongest time, making it worse.
The problem is like driving on ice and snow- people, who do that all their lives laughing about the south, where everything comes to a halt, when even the weather forecast says, there is a slight chance of a 10th of an inch snow. And if it really happens, for exactly 30 minutes, in these 30 minutes, more accidents happen, than in the north during 10 winters with 20 foot of snow.
It's like with everything- training. you can go with your car or truck on an empty parking lot and see, what your vehicle does, when it slides and how to catch it, before it crashes. With a motorcycle, you can drive over and over the same road and find out the best way, to get around a curve. you can train on an empty parking lot emergency brakes and swerve maneuvers. But where in the hell can you train to stop a trailer from swaying?
I believe everybody pulling a trailer had a sway- experience. and I also believe, 90% somewhat panicked and just don't want to admit.
There is no general solution for it, because the situations are so full of variations as there are campers on the road.
The point is- if you ever have a chance to make a safety training for trailer tow, do it. at least it takes away the fear, helps you to stay cool and as result- your brain does not stop thinking. I truly believe- the brain-darkness in panic mode causes the final wreck, not the fact that the trailer sways out of what ever reasons.
Yes, you can stop it- but not with "smart advises" from people, who probably would do the wrong thing at the wrong time also, when it happens. And this has nothing to do with, how long you have experience. it's about how often did you experienced sway and can you routinely stop it from happening without flipping it over.
I wish everybody a sway-free travel.
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Old 07-27-2017, 02:55 PM   #4
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Guy65, I would agree with you except for one thing. Looking at what you tow and what your tow vehicle is, you are towing with a heavy duty truck that is big enough to pull and stop the trailer.

Look at what these people were towing with and it's obvious that they didn't have enough trailer braking dialed into the trailer brakes to be able to come to a controlled stop. Once they got into the 'sway' the weight of their trailer was pushing them.
I see people all summer that are towing trailers with a vehicle that is too light to be towing anything, let alone one that big. When I see this, I either carefully pass them, or back way off to avoid any problem.

I also think that the RV dealers are guilty of selling trailers to people who don't have enough vehicle to safely tow them.

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Old 07-28-2017, 06:22 AM   #5
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Gerryl you hit the nail on the head. Many people think that all is needed to tow is a strong engine. In reality, the pulling power of your vehicle has little to do with its towing ability. Things like wheel base and weight relative to the trailer have much more to do with a comfortable tow.

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Old 07-28-2017, 06:43 AM   #6
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blueridge-fl - that's why I always say- tow vehicle weight +20% = max trailer weight independent of max tow capacity, where I say max tow -10% as max trailer weight.
But this is floating. I don't look at, what the max is, the camper can weight, but more, dry weight + what I put in it on normal base. My camper has for example a dry weight of 6500# I weighted everything, before I put it in the camper and know, I add 1500# makes it 8000#, which is within my tow limits. The camper can weight another 1500# more, but I know, I will never use it and regardless, I know the limits and this is, what I go by. I never drive with full tanks and empty grey and black tank before I leave the camp ground. I also use the bed for everything heavy, what would lift up the travel weight of my camper and even there, I stay within max payload. I'm not a pea counter and I know, I might be a little overloaded, but I also know, I go max. 50miles down the road to the lake (my wife hates long travels and we have so many lakes around us, that a long trip to the ocean will happen not even once a year- and when we go to the mountains- I don't mind going max 60mph.). It's just plain common sense. I just wonder about the ones, who do the traveltrailer-race and think, they have to be first on the camp ground and going with 80mph and more down the highway. those are the ones in danger. if you feel too comfortable, you loose attention. if you loose attention, you neglect. if you neglect, you tend to make mistakes. if you make mistakes, you will pay for it, sooner or later. That's just about it.
And to the sales guys who tell everybody: it'll tow- In my opinion, a law in place, which would require the sales guy to sign a paragraph in the sales-contract, would solve it. It should say, that the sales guy checked the tow vehicle (which will be defined in the contract with VIN), and guarantees, this specific vehicle can handle this specific camper. This way, they can be held reliable and they would quit, selling 35ft campers to people wanting to tow with a 2002 Kia SUV.
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Old 07-28-2017, 06:47 AM   #7
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I was told to take my foot off the gas and use the brake controller to apply the trailer brakes - no truck brakes.
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Old 07-28-2017, 07:57 AM   #8
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I was told to take my foot off the gas and use the brake controller to apply the trailer brakes - no truck brakes.
That's what saved us from ending up like those people in the videos.

I also like Guy's suggestion regarding making the RV dealers sign a statement that tells people what size vehicle is required to tow any pull behind. We all have seen rigs on the road that endangers us too. It would be my guess that a high percentage of towables are overloaded.
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Old 07-28-2017, 09:12 AM   #9
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The local keystone dealer assured me my 1/2 ton pickup would pull a 30' keystone outback with a dry weight of 8900 lbs. I told him " not while I'm driving it won't"
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Old 07-28-2017, 09:16 AM   #10
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The local keystone dealer assured me my 1/2 ton pickup would pull a 30' keystone outback with a dry weight of 8900 lbs. I told him " not while I'm driving it won't"
hey- he just said, that it'll tow it- there was no mention if it can do it legally or safe- so he was right
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Old 07-28-2017, 12:12 PM   #11
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hey- he just said, that it'll tow it- there was no mention if it can do it legally or safe- so he was right
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Old 07-28-2017, 01:18 PM   #12
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Maybe some of you haven't seen this video,it's worth watching.

Trailer Crash Video Caused By Uneven Weight Distribution
"Caused by uneven weight distribution" is just speculation, AFAIK. All we know for sure is that the trailer started fishtailing and the driver wasn't able to get it under control. Heck, may not even have noticed until it was too late. News stories say the guy that shot the video noticed issues and pulled out his cellphone in time to record the crash. The trailer appears to have NJ plates, too, so it may not have been on a very long trip,

This could have been speed, or no sway control, or poorly set up weight distribution hitch, or just wind. Or all of the above. It happened at speed on a 65 mph road (clearly the Garden State Parkway) and there are no reports the guy was speeding; cars were passing him, so he probably wasn't speeding. I looked closely at the video and can't tell whether there was a WDH on there or not. At critical moments the view is blocked by the LP gas tanks.

Having said that, poor or no weight distribution would not surprise me, but I don't see any way to make that assumption.

P.S. Wonder if the driver had his LP gas on and refrigerator running!

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Old 08-01-2017, 08:47 AM   #13
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And here is another one.

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Old 08-01-2017, 12:09 PM   #14
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Two things. If possible, always stop past the accident. It's safer for your vehicle and when all lanes of traffic are bumper to bumper before the accident, you will be able to get going easily as the accident creates an open lane for you.
Now that's thinking ahead. SMART
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