[VIDEO] Watch Your Weight Distribution

“New Jersey State Police say no one was injured when a camper being pulled by an SUV overturned on the Garden State Parkway.” We are so grateful no one was injured! Watch the video below.

Please share in the comments below: your best tips to avoid fishtailing and how other RVers can recover if this starts to happen.

  • SLOW DOWN!!! 1st off, pulling a trailer, that long, really shouldn’t be pulled by a 1/2 ton SUV. Get a truck with a wheelbase that will reduce this type of whiplash! But really, SLOW DOWN!!!!

  • Yes, you need to take it slow,but sometimes that’s not enough. I have pulled pop up trailers n now up to a 5th wheel with many different vehicles. And I have found it’s all about the vehicle. Ford sucks! I don’t care if it’s a SUV or truck. They suck for pulling anything! Chevy does better but the older Suburban don’t do good. Wheel base? But the older Tahoe does better. But since the 2007 came out they changed something because they tow as good as the chevy trucks. And chevy trucks are the beast. And way less breakdowns. I’m a woman with no formal training. Just a farm girl n it’s all about the vehicle. And did you hook it up right n crank down that sway bar? And slow down. Your on vacation!

    • Hi There Kathy.you are totally right people drive these combinations way to fast. I own a Dodge but I can’t see much difference in brands of tow vehicles.i believe their all good in the regard of towing. When comparing apples 2 apples. Etc. I’m not a fan of any brand just saying! I’ve only pulled rv’s for about 5-6 years. And commercial trailers for about 30 years. 😎

    • My ford diesel 2500 will pull a house off a foundation and tows my 31’ like there’s nothing behind me. I also have It equipped with a Reese weight distribution hitch which is a must pulling anything including my horse trailer. Don’t blame the vehicle if it’s not set up right!

  • Speed is a very large factor in towing safety. However, matching a vehicle and towable is the first priority. That and proper loading with a load bearing hitch and anti-sway protection is the only way to reduce incidents like this.
    In this case, the vehicle was not matched to the trailer, I doubt it was loaded correctly or the catistrophic fishtale would probably not have developed. There’s one way out of this situation and it is just as bad as the event. You can try to grab the trailer breaks to snap it out of the fishtale but that can often result in a skid. Neither have a great outcome.

    • Completely agree. Actually, it’s not opinion. It’s fact. Trailer breaks are made to avoid that. Good luck next time. And btw, it’s not the vehicle, it’s the driver.

  • We’ve experienced this but we didn’t lose control. My wife was driving and pulling our 26′ travel trailer with our 1/2 ton pickup. She was in the middle lane when a semi passed on the right causing the trailer to sway from the bow wave. Then, a semi passed on the left compounding the sway. She started to try and counter steer and I told her to hold the wheel straight and let off of the gas pedal. The trailer and truck started slowing down and the swaying stopped. We has a friction sway bar on the hitch but it was useless. I went to a Reese dual cam sway arm system shortly thereafter. We are now waiting for our new camper after 21 yrs with the other one. I have added a blue ox hitch with built in sway control. If you pull big travel trailer, a sway control system is a must.

    • Exactly, trying to slow down will not work until you get the trailer under control. To help prevent this situation, make sure you have the recommended weight on the hitch.

  • Can’t say this would not have happened had this trailer had shocks, but after installing them on my 33ft Salem I found far less sway and much better control. I would never drive a car or truck without shocks, so why pull a trailer that does not have them? Also, if you have a rear kitchen like I do, you have to travel with holding tanks nearly full else you want have enough weight to the front of the axles – tongue weight should be 10% of total weight, and never exceed your manufacturing company’s GCVR for both pull vehicle and travel trailer.

  • You have to load it correctly, watch your speed, always use the weight distribution hitch (too many people just tow on the ball only), and as I did, run with two anti-sway control bars, my trailer was as steady as can be on the road, no issues at all ! 27 feet long and towed with an F-150.

  • I set my trailer breaks a notch higher than my truck breaks. therefore using the trailer to stop the majority of the weight

  • From the video, the driver looks like they are going way too fast. I pull a 27-foot travel trailer with my 1/2 truck. I also use stabilizers and a sway control bar, which I think really helps keep it in line. I certainly can identify with the bow wave. The first time it happened it really caught me off guard and I thought I was going to be sucked into the side of the semi. Since then I keep an eye out, and hold the steering wheel extra steady. Overall, I think it’s best not to go too fast.

  • Accelerate to straighten yourself out. After the swaying stops, then apply the brakes and slow your self down. If you hit the brakes you will end up like the guy in the video. This goes for any size trailer you are pulling. The gas petal is your friend in this situation.

  • Match trailer to tow vehicle … make sure vehicle is rated for what it is towing, weight distributing hitch, don’t overload trailer, SLOW DOWN. No need to get there first … more important to get there. Light pressure on trailer brake control will usually straighten it out.

  • More tongue weight. Proper leveling bar setup. That expedition should also have had Electronic sway control. With an Equal-i-zer hitch and that sway control, it would be more stable. I towed a 25ft trailer with a 2009 V8 explorer sport trac and never had sway like that. ever. None. Get it setup properly. watch your speed. simple.

  • I’ve had RVs for 30 years this is somebody that definitely does not know how to tow an RV if you noticed all the way through the speed was not reduced if you’re towing an RV if the wind is too strong that day stay put I always told 5 to 10 miles an hour below the speed limit and that is right if a semi truck is going around you slightly increase your speed then let up once they pass you see some crazy crap out there on the road stay safe

  • We were traveling to Yellowstone and hit a patch of bad road. The Class A Bounder started porpoising something fierce, even though I was only going about 68. Please note: we DO have steering and sway stabilizer put in because Bounders bounce! Simply slowing down a few mph stopped the major motion and prevented trouble. Frankly, the road waved and the wind was a mess. Not a good combination. Slow down! Arrive alive!

  • To many owners pick a trailer, for what they want and not what the tow vehicle can tow safely and then probably driving to fast. Pickup trucks are usually rated to tow a certain size trailer, they buy and don’t check the to see it their vehicle can tow it safely. I have towed trailers up to 36’ and have had no problems, because my truck was rated to tow that weight.

    You cannot always go by what salespeople tell you, remember they are trying to make a sale, and the bigger sale means more money for them.

  • This was driver inexperience. Something distracted his driving initially as you can see he drifted to the right way over the line. When he tried to correct his mistake, he reacted too quickly causing the trailer tracking to whip. If experienced, he could have overcome the whip, but he continued without reducing his speed and reacted again causing another whip. At that point it is extremely dangerous because weight and momentum has taken control. So glad nobody was hurt. Fishtailing can also be caused by wind, ice (sliding), big trucks passing too closely as well as over correction. Be careful out there…this is supposed to be a fun adventure!

  • I drive a tractor trailer and pull doubles. When we start to fish tail the first thing you do is let off the gas. DO NOT HIT THE BRAKES .

  • According to trailer tire manufactures , you should not be going over 60 MPH . and what Rod said above! and a good tow vehicle helps too , I tow a 21 foot trailer with a GMC 1 ton dually 8 foot box, 4 door cab. Overkill perhaps but rather that than underkill or being killed. I also watch my speed and road conditions.

    • I tow a Jayco hummingbird, 3300 lbs loaded, with a chevy Silverado 1500, 5.8L, I use a sway bar and have a brake box under the dash but I only have one foot brake? it controls the truck and RV ? I have it set at 20 and dont go over 60 miles/hr. So what is a RV brake verses the truck pedal brake?

  • I see a lot of comments about about speed. While that can be a factor, a lot of cars were passing the trailer, so I’m going another direction. I used to drive a big rig for a living. The video looks to me like it’s more of a weight distribution problem. You should have @ 60% of your weight in front of the trailer axles. If you have rear water tanks, kitchen, storage, it’s easy to have too much weight in the rear. That trailer has rear bunks and what appears to be a rear bath, so it probably has a lot of stuff in the back. As for other comments, the tow vehicle brand isn’t all that important. Pretty much any brand with proper equipment will work. I’ve been towing travel trailers for 30 years and have never had a problem. Yes I get wiggled by trucks passing me, but proper speed and equipment, as well as paying attention to what’s passing you makes a difference. You can’t be messing with your phone of radio and drive safely.

  • It looks like the truck/trailer drifted enough to the right causing the driver to make the correction to the left too quickly causing the whole resulting nasty thing to happen. After 20 years of towing a 35 foot fifth wheel and a 23 foot travel trailer there have been times, especially when an 18 wheeler goes by going 80 mph, that ‘push over’ happens. Both the truck and towable want to move over – all by themselves. Easing everything back in line works best, but if you are surprised or inexperienced then a reaction, rather than easing, can happen. I would not recommend using the truck brakes. The type of truck being matched to the trailer should be discussed and believed by the folks that know this stuff. The only tow vehicle I’ve used is a 1999 Ford F250, Superduty short bed with a 7.3 diesel with a manually adjustable Reese 5th wheel hitch. The only add on I used was heavy duty shocks in the rear and a rear adjustable air suspension system – mainly to keep it all level. Interstate speed is totally different than other roads, especially with those 18 wheelers that are on a deadline sneaking up behind you. Be aware and keep your reaction time down to a minimum. Also, know what your trailer really weighs after it’s really loaded – get a idea from a place that weighs big trailers and log this info down somewhere for future use. Check trailer tire pressures and don’t forget to check the tire pressure of the tires on the tow vehicle. This includes the spare tires. Everything makes a difference, even the little things.

  • It appears the problem was the driver tried to counter steal. They got the tail wagging the dog!
    You can not steer your trailer straight. The only way to straighten the trailer is to drive straight ahead and tap the trailer brakes ( not the truck brakes) if you do that the trailer will straighten right up behind the truck. You can see they simply amplified the sway by trying to counter steer

  • The weight in the RV was to much on the ball, and was driving just a little bit to fast which increase the whip effect especially with the steering fast reaction on his going to the right . When it start, he should apply the RV brakes not panic but gradually and a second later release the gas pedal, while applying more pressure in the Rv brakes without locking the wheels