Why is my travel trailer swaying while driving?

by Airstream, Inc.

Sway or fishtailing is the sideways action of a trailer caused by external forces. It is common for travel trailers to sway in response to strong winds, crosswinds, when passed by or passing a semi-tractor and trailer, or driving downhill.

Excessive sway or fishtailing of your travel trailer can lead to the rollover of the trailer and tow vehicle. Serious injury or death can occur. 

Sway or fishtailing of your recreation vehicle can be controlled and is primarily impacted by four main factors:

• Equipment

When hitched together, the trailer and the tow vehicle must be level. The tires of both the trailer and tow vehicle should be in good condition and properly inflated to their recommended pressures. Braking is a very important factor in vehicle control. Refer to Brakes (and Electronic Brake Controller) in this section. We recommend a friction sway damper or hitch with built-in sway control be provided for your unit. Please consult your dealer regarding this equipment. Also, refer to Sway Control Device in this section for more information.

• Tongue Weight

Make sure you know how much weight can be towed inside of your travel trailer. After ensuring the load level is appropriate, equalize the hitch load 

• Driving

This is the most important component. The tendency for the vehicle to sway increases with speed therefore, obey all speed limits and reduce speed during inclement weather or windy conditions.



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