Trailer sway occurs when an RV (recreational vehicle) or trailer (e.g., a cargo-carrying trailer or a boat) that is being towed by a car, truck or SUV begins to sway from side to side most likely at high speed down a freeway. Trailer sway (commonly known as "fishtailing) can also happen to the trailers of big-rig trucks, the semi-trailers that transport nearly all the consumer goods we use every day.
A Dangerous Phenomenon
Trailer sway is very dangerous, and it's more common than one might realize. According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, there are more than nine million RVs on the road in the U.S.; nearly 10 percent of the vehicle-owning households in the U.S. have an RV. There are some five million trailer-trucks on our highways, according to the American Trucking Association.
How Trailer Sways Happen
A trailer sway accident may occur when:
when the vehicle/trailer combination is being passed by a large vehicle, the force of which moves the trailer
the trailer is hit by a sudden gust of wind
the driver of the trailer combination must make a quick evasive maneuver in traffic
the driver of the trailer combination is inexperienced and does not know how to control the trailer
the trailer driver is impaired by alcohol, drugs or fatigue and does not control the trailer
Trailer sway is dangerous to the driver of the vehicle towing the trailer, the occupants of the vehicle, and passengers in vehicles that are on the road at the same time and place. At times, the sway is severe enough for the trailer to hit another vehicle or to make the vehicle towing the trailer tip over.
The RV industry and trucking industry have known about the dangers of trailer sway for decades, but design and manufacturing defects in RVs, trailers and large trucks have often contributed to or caused accidents based on trailer sway. More needs to be done to prevent needless trailer sway accidents, injuries and fatalities.
Talk to a Plaintiffs' Attorney
If you've been in an accident that involved trailer sway, contact a law firm near you to discuss your circumstances. You may be eligible for financial compensation for your losses.