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Trailer Sway Accidents

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Trailer Sway Accidents

Trailer sway accidents are a significant problem for drivers on the roads. In fact, several hundred deaths occur on the roads in the United States each year because of trailer sway accidents. Trailer sway can happen whether you tow for commercial purposes or you’re towing the family camper. When an accident occurs, trailer sway can cause significant physical injury and property damage.

Trailer Sway Accident Lawsuits

If an accident occurs because of trailer sway, the vehicle driver may be liable. They may owe the victim compensation for the damage that occurs. As the victim, you must take action to claim compensation. It may require significant case building to prove that trailer sway amounts to negligence under the law and that it is the cause of the accident. Our Denver truck accident attorneys explain your rights.

Trailer Sway Accidents

Trailer sway accidents occur when a trailer swings out of control. A trailer sway accident may be a single-vehicle accident when the driver is unable to control their vehicle because of the trailer. On the other hand, sway can cause a crash when the trailer collides with another vehicle. Trailers are large objects on the road. They handle and move differently than vehicles under the direct control of the driver. In all cases, trailer sway accidents can cause significant harm.

What Is Trailer Sway?

Trailer sway is when a trailer sways from side to side when it’s towed behind a vehicle. Trailer sway occurs when a trailer that’s being towed behind another vehicle moves back and forth while the vehicle is in motion. Trailer sway is the result of the combination of all of the forces involved in towing the vehicle, including the weight of the vehicle and trailer, the tow being used, and external road conditions.

What Causes a Trailer to Sway Side to Side?

What causes a trailer to sway side to side is large forces being exerted on the trailer with control coming from the leading vehicle. The vehicle in front pulls the trailer. However, the trailer is large and heavy. Because the trailer attaches to the leading vehicle with a hitch, high speeds and large weights can make the trailer swing from the point of the hitch. What causes a trailer to sway side to side is the force exerted on the heavy trailer and the freedom of movement that comes from the hitch attachment.

Attaching A Trailer Hitch

How to React to Trailer Sway

How to react to trailer sway depends on the reason that it occurs. In all cases, you should take your foot off the accelerator. Don’t try to steer your way out of the sway; just continue to travel straight. If you have trailer brakes, apply them in a calm and controlled manner. If there are things out of your control as a driver, like wind conditions or the load distribution of the trailer, you may need to stop your vehicle and adjust or wait until conditions improve.

Examples of Trailer Sway Negligence

There are several ways that trailer sway can result from negligence. The ultimate question is whether the person responsible for the trailer sway should have used more care and caution to prevent it. Here are some ways that trailer sway can be legal negligence:

Vehicle weight regulations – A vehicle is made to tow up to a certain weight. When a driver chooses to tow a trailer, they need to make sure that the vehicle is fit to tow a trailer of that weight. If the vehicle isn’t capable of pulling the trailer because of vehicle and trailer weights, trailer sway can occur.

Proper attachment – The trailer must be properly attached to the vehicle. A tow can sway if it’s not attached correctly or if sway control is not addressed. A poorly-attached trailer can result in sway or cause a complete detachment of the trailer while the vehicle is in motion.

Training for driving with a trailer – Driving with a trailer is different than driving a regular motor vehicle. A driver must be prepared for how to handle the trailer in ordinary conditions. It’s also important to know how to react in unusual circumstances. Negligence can occur when a driver doesn’t have adequate training to respond to trailer sway.

Loading the trailer – How a trailer is loaded can impact the amount of sway. When the vast majority of the weight is in the rear of a trailer, trailer sway can increase. As a general rule of thumb, it’s important to load at least 60 percent of the trailer weight towards the front of the trailer. Improper loading of the trailer can result in dangerous trailer sway.

Speed – When trailer sway is a possibility, it’s important to reduce speed. However, finding the right speed is also critical to reacting when trailer sway begins to occur. Trailer sway can occur because of speed, and it can amount to negligence for the vehicle driver.

Weather conditions – A driver must plan for weather conditions. When dangerous weather conditions are a possibility, the trailer driver must account for them. A driver should make adjustments to account for wind, rain, and snow. When they don’t, weather conditions can amount to negligence and legal liability when an accident occurs.

Traffic – Just like a driver must account for the weather, a trailer driver must also account for traffic. They must be able to handle trailer sway given the amount of traffic on the road. Negligence can result from failing to account for traffic as it relates to trailer sway.

Can Trailer Sway Be Legal Negligence?

Yes, trailer sway can be legal negligence. It’s up to all drivers to exercise reasonable caution on the roads. The reasonable caution that all drivers have to use on the roads extends to situations involving trailers. The person who drives the trailer or even authorizes its use on the roads has to take careful steps to ensure safety for themselves and those around them.

Negligence is based on the reasonable person standard. In the case of trailer sway, the standard of care is for an ordinary person who is using a trailer. Negligence occurs when trailer sway is the result of a lack of care on the part of the vehicle operator or company using the trailer.

Denver Truck Accident Lawyers

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Super Lawyers - Kyle Bachus
Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Martindale-Hubbell Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence
Super Lawyers - Darin Schanker
The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyer
5280 Top Lawyers of Denver