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Home Blog Trailer sway – what about accelerator and brake at the same time?
Trailer sway – what about accelerator and brake at the same time?

Trailer sway – what about accelerator and brake at the same time?

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Reader comment on YouTube:

Great video, thank you [ video embedded below]. I will throw this out there just for discussion.

What if you apply light to perhaps moderate normal braking during a sway event, (Tow vehicle and Trailer), and apply the accelerater simultaneously to prevent the tow vehicle from decelerating? It would be interesting to see the result of that action on test track. I bring this up because it would likely be a quicker response than reaching for the electric brake control lever and applying it.

You could also apply the braking with gas method initially, then apply the electric trailer brakes via the brake control right away. Although the gas and brake method might cause the electric brake controller to stop applying trailer brakes since it works on a pendulum type theory. Although I believe the electric trailer brake control also takes input from the vehicles brake pedal as well.

To add, I’m sure in all of these trailer sway cases, the driver is applying moderate to heavy braking and no gas, which is making the situation worse. The average driver typically has learned one go to move for every adverse situation they encounter, BRAKE.

And In any emergency situation, as much brake pressure as their foot can deliver. Often both feet in some cases. As if that’s going to make any difference.

If you apply brake and accelerator at the same time on modern cars typically the power is cut, so that’s a non-starter. Even if that’s not the case I’d argue that it’s as quick and easy to apply the trailer brakes only as compared to just the footbrake, and it’s far more effective.

Sway typically doesn’t begin under brakes, although braking is a contributory factor. I’ve spent a lot of time watching caravan crashes on YouTube and it’s often to do with an overtake, or being overtaken. Overtaking is triply bad for sway because you first speed up, and then change direction, and often there’s a wind gust effect as well.

And yes, applying the towcar brakes is a terrible idea, but it is instinctive. If you brake the towcar heavily in a sway situation the trailer will attempt to overtake the towcar, and unhappiness will ensue.

Video reader referred to:

Robert Pepper Automotive journalist specialising in 4X4s, sportscars, camping and future tech.

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