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How To Stop Snaking

What is Trailer Snaking?

Snaking is one of the biggest problems faced when driving on the road with a trailer. It’s caused by the trailer axles moving out of line from the towing vehicle. When this happens the trailer tries to move back in line and goes too far, essentially starting a swinging motion from side to side which can cause you to lose control of the vehicle.


What Causes Trailer Snaking?

Snaking can be caused by a number of factors such as:

  • Incorrectly placed loads which unbalances the trailer
  • Strong side winds while driving
  • Very light weight in the nose of the trailer
  • Specially configured trailers which might be incorrectly balanced

How Do You Prevent Snaking?

Whilst it’s not possible to completely eliminate the possibility of snaking, there are plenty of steps you can take both before and during your journey to minimise the risks.

  • Set up your trailer so it is level when coupled with the towing vehicle
  • Load the trailer properly so the weight is correctly distributed
  • Ensure there is between 50kg & 100kg weight in the nose of the trailer
  • Make sure tyre pressures are correct
  • Use stabilisers* for high sided trailers
(*A note on stabilisers)

Stabilisers are not designed to compensate for poor trailer maintenance, or poor practice in loading and driving while towing. Ensure checks are carried out on any stabilisers fitted before commencing your journey to ensure they are working correctly:

  • Check the stabiliser fits properly into its locating place
  • Check for friction where possible
  • Ensure stabilisers are legally compliant (serviced at least once a year or after 20,000 miles of towing.)

How to reduce the possibility of snaking while driving

The best way to lessen the chance of snaking while you’re driving is by driving well – keep to a speed and manner in which you feel comfortable. If you do feel the trailer moving out of line at any point, it’s good to bear in mind the following tips:

  • Keep steering the vehicle in a straight line
  • Change down a gear & take both feet off the pedals; if going downhill then change down a gear and apply gentle pressure to the brakes
  • Don’t accelerate hard, this is unlikely to pull the trailer back in line
  • Don’t break hard – this could cause the trailer to jack knife and then tip
  • Don’t try to steer back into line, this is likely to make the snaking worse

Whilst snaking is a common problem often encountered during towing, providing you follow good practices whilst setting up your trailer and you keep focus while driving, you’re most likely to get from A to B safe and sound!