Trailer Sway Main Cause of Recreational Vehicle (RV) Collisions on WV Highways

What is a Trailer Sway Collision?

Each year in West Virginia there are multiple highway collisions involving pull-behind recreational trailers that have flipped over due to high winds and  “trailer sway.”    Trailer sway (fishtailing) occurs when big tractor-trailers pass tow trailers on the interstate causing the trailer to oscillate or sway back and forth.  Unfortunately, in some cases, trailer sway has caused serious injuries and fatalities.   It is ironic that operators of those tractor-trailers must be specially trained, tested and licensed in order to operate on the highway, but the law allows a person with no experience at all to pull a 30-foot trailer alongside these large tractor-trailers.

Trailer Sway #1 Cause of RV Accidentstruck pulling rv

As far back as the 1960s, studies showed that persons towing trailers were four times more likely to crash than the average motorist.  Though there is government regulation regarding towing, what is surprising about this is that there are no federal testing requirements for trailer sway devices, so just about any invention can be touted as an anti-sway device.   How did this practice come about?   It is fairly clear that the lobbyists have influenced lawmakers to allow this practice.

The fact that it is legal to pull a large trailer down the road doesn’t mean that it is safe.  What makes trailer sway even more likely is the fact that many sales dealerships don’t always safely match the tow rating of the tow vehicle with the trailer to be towed.  Even when the salesman shows you the “book” that gives the tow rating for your vehicle, that doesn’t mean that your vehicle can safely pull the trailer involved because your vehicle has never been tested together with the trailer you are going to purchase.    So, you learn as you go and hope that you can get the hang of it without any problems.

Hazardous WV Roads and Highways

West Virginia interstate roads are not level and they often bank the wrong way around curves.   Most owners of recreational tow vehicles don’t have the training to react to trailer sway at interstate speeds.   Manufacturers of trailers nor the retail stores selling the trailers provide any training on how to pull trailers under “trailer sway” conditions.    So, the first time you encounter trailer sway could cause a serious problem.rv wreck

Tips for Controlling Trailer Sway:

  • Steady the steering wheel – sudden turns can cause more sway.
  • Gently apply the trailer brake to help reduce sway.  Too much, too quickly, and you will find yourself in more trouble than you started with.
  • Do not slam on the brakes – jackknifing could occur.
  • Do not attempt to steer out of a sway situation.
  • Do not increase speed – trailer sway increases with speed.
  • Do not tow a trailer that continues to sway.

WV Accident Lawyers — Protecting Your Rights

If you or a family member has been involved in a trailer sway collision, you will need an experienced lawyer to pursue your legal rights.     Remember, the manufacturer and sales company will have their legal team to argue that you caused your own collision by oversteering or improper braking.    You will need your own lawyer to look out for your rights, too.

Robinette Legal Group, PLLC — Morgantown Trailer and RV Accident Attorneys

If you or your loved one has been injured due to an RV or Trailer collision, it is important to act quickly to protect your claim. Mr. Robinette has handled hundreds of cases involving serious injury and wrongful death and can provide the insight you need right now. Call Jeff Robinette today for a free evaluation of your case at 304-594-1800 or visit our Robinette Legal Group, PLLC website:

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