Blog Towing by Robert Pepper 22 June 2022
The Project’s caravan sway video
The Project has tackled the problem of caravan sway in this video:
It’s great to see that the problem is getting national media attention! Unfortunately, some of the advice in the video is not just wrong, but potentially deadly. So, I’d like the video to be deleted, and remade with the correct advice (this is a principle I hold myself).
The first thing wrong with the video is when someone says “towing is just common sense”. No. No it’s not. Not even close. Towing requires knowledge of all sorts of new rules and regulations, which differ from state to state, and that’s before you get into understanding weights, loading and dynamics. Nobody is born knowing how to tow. I have videos where people to have been towing for 40 years have commented “wow I learned something”. Towing is not simple, not easy, and certainly not common sense, which is why there should be some form of towing license.
However, the main issue is the advice given for when sway happens, which is “accelerate out of it”. One of the survivors explains that’s what he was taught by a towing instructor.
This advice is incorrect, and deadly. It’s like advising someone to undo their seatbelt when their car is skidding out of control. I and others in the industy have sent messages to The Project and asked them to fix this video. So far, nothing. The wrong advice, deadly advice, remains on the Internet.
Now why would you take my word for it over the video? Well, all my advice is backed by research, practical experience, and consultation with experts. And to prove it, I have explanations and demonstrations.
This video explains what sway is, and the correct way to fix it for large Australian trailers, which is to apply the trailer brakes only.
Weight distribution is also critical:
And finally, here’s what happens if you don’t understand caravan dynamics:
And a shout out to the excellent Truck Friendly for making me aware of the Project’s video.