Caravan sway refers to the loss of control of the caravan. There are many factors as to why a caravan may start swaying on the road, including;

  • Incorrect tyre pressure or uneven tyre pressure
  • Towing speed
  • Driving down hills to fast
  • Suspension
  • Side wind
  • Slipstreams from large vehicles
  • poor weight distribution

Fortunately, there are ways in which you can stop the sway once it has started. Although this depends on the conditions of the road.

Tyres and tyre pressure 

Tyre pressure depends on the type of tyres and how much load your campervan has. If your tyres have too much pressure, you’re not in for just a bumpy ride - you will increase your chance of wearing out the center of the tyres and you will increase the chance of sway. Check your tyres before going on a road trip to ensure correct pressure. If you’re unsure about what pressure to have your tyres, refer to your caravan handbook.

Photo by Benjamin Zanatta on Unsplash

Towing speed and driving on hills

Towing your caravan up and down hill can increase your chance of sway because gravity affects the weight of it. If you find that your caravan starts to sway while going uphill or downhill, here are some tips that may help stop the sway.

Downhill

If you are going down a hill and your vehicle is fitted with an electronic brake controller, you can manually apply the trailer brakes. This will slow down the caravan or trailer and in turn, slow down the towing vehicle as well.

Uphill

Accelerating slightly can stop the sway as well. Once stopped you can slow down and drive at a slower speed.

Side wind and slipstreams

Slipstreams are when a larger vehicle passes, creating a stream of wind which can push the side of the van, which can easily lead to sway. While on your trip it is likely that you will encounter driving past a large vehicle or that you will create one while overtaking a vehicle. Adhere to the driving conditions to reduce the likelihood of slipstream in this instance.

Weight distribution

Distribution of weight is key when making sure your caravan is stable for the road. Making sure that the most of the weight is centered around the axle will help prevent the likelihood of caravan sway. Placing excess weight on the back or perimeters increases chances of instability and caravan sway. Place most of your weight around the axle for maximum stability.  The nose weight should be between 5 - 7% of the caravan weight. One way to check if you have the correct amount of weight distribution is to test with a calibrated nose weight gauge.