When you're driving, you must always be prepared for the unexpected.
Whether you're on a city street, a rural road, or a major highway,
anything can happen.
By driving defensively and being aware of potential hazards and problems,
you may prevent a problem or mishap from becoming an emergency situation.
Below are a few tips on maintaining control of your vehicle and horse
trailer in potentially dangerous situations:
Swaying or Fishtailing: If you should suddenly
need to swerve or turn hard, be aware that this can cause a load
shift in your trailer. Horses are top-heavy, and their weight will
shift during a sudden turn, changing the stability of the trailer.
As a result, the trailer may sway or fishtail. To prevent loss of
control, it is important to keep forward motion and tension on the
Stay alert and know how to react properly to
swaying or fishtailing: Be sure to apply only the trailer brake
and slow down in short pulses. The drag on the trailer will bring
it back into alignment with the tow vehicle, thus preventing a jackknife.
Once the trailer is under control again, you may apply the brakes
on the tow vehicle. Applying the brakes on the tow vehicle before
the trailer is under control can result in making a bad situation
Stopping Suddenly: If a situation arises
in which you must stop the tow vehicle suddenly, use your side-view
mirrors to make certain that the trailer does not begin to jackknife
out of control. If you notice that the trailer is swinging out of
its lane, let up on the brakes so that your vehicle's tires can
regain traction. Whatever you do, don't apply the trailer's handbrake!
If the trailer is going into a jackknife, its brakes are already
locked up! Once the tow vehicle has regained its grip on the road,
the trailer will begin to follow the vehicle and will straighten
Navigating Steep Hills: Always use a lower
gear when going up or down steep hills. This reduces stress on your
towing vehicle's engine. When ascending a long uphill grade, keep
your speed at 45 mph or less. The slower speed will help prevent
overheating of your towing vehicle's motor. If you feel the trailer
pushing you as you descend a hill, apply the trailer's brakes manually
to slow it down.