Hiring a law firm to represent those injured or killed in a commercial truck crash is an important decision.
At Vrdloyak Law Group we have a dedicated trucking department with trucking lawyers experienced in investigating, litigating and trying serious injury and catastrophic truck crash cases. Lawyers in our trucking department have a track record of success, understand trucking defense tactics and have techniques proven to combat them.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TRUCK ACCIDENTS
• Deaths due to large truck accidents are at an all time high. According to NHTSA, 4,761 people died in collisions with larger trucks. That’s a 9% increase over the previous year.
• The trucking industry is exponentially more negligent than other industries. Because there is a shortage of drivers, some are unqualified. The drivers are also under time constraints and are pushed harder by their employees, often times making them drive this heavy machinery tired and fatigued.
• Many law firms treat trucking accidents the same as auto accidents, but with bigger limits. Nothing could be further from the truth! Trucking accident cases are much different from regular auto accident cases.
• Insurance companies for big trucking have entire teams of lawyers and experts who will be deployed to an accident site to immediately start building their defense against you. They will deploy their lawyers, accident reconstructionists, truck driving experts, traffic light experts, and lighting sequence experts immediately to crash sites. You need a law firm with the experience, knowledge, and resources who knows their game and will fight for you at that same level.
• Trucking companies often play a “shell game” to hide their assets. The Vrdolyak Law Group knows how to bust that shell to get you everything you deserve.
VLG Expertise and Experts
In cases involving severe injury or death, our experienced trucking legal team can use their knowledge in the varied aspects of commercial trucking litigation, from venue, federal motor safety regulations, accident reconstruction, choice of law , alter ego liability or “shell busting”, broker -shipper liability and punitive damages. In the arena of commercial trucking, we have the experience, resources and professional judgement to help you and your family.
We also understand the importance of prompt investigation and analysis of truck crashes resulting in severe injury or death. We have contacts with nationally recognized experts in the fields of heavy truck accident reconstruction, operation of commercial motor vehicles, federal motor carrier safety regulations, broker-shipper relationships and conspicuity. Depending on the facts of the case, these experts are available to investigate and measure the accident site, download data from the tractor trailers “black box” and evaluate the global picture in order to get to the truth of why the crash happened.
More than 500,000 Trucking Companies
Trucks seem to be everywhere and are part of our everyday lives. They deliver the goods we order and get people the things they need. Eighteen-wheel tractor trailers are essential to our country辽宁福彩双色球官网下载's economy and are part of our American way of life. There are over 500,000 trucking companies with active DOT motor carrier authority. Many trucking companies respect the federal motor carrier safety regulations (FMCSR’s) that govern their operation and conduct themselves in a safe, professional manner.
However, some commercial motor vehicles are operated by unsafe or illegally operating trucking companies, often with tragic results. Government statistics indicate tractor trailers are involved in over 4,000 fatal accident a year in the United States. There are many causes for such crashes and potentially other defendants besides the trucking company and the truck driver. In our experience, commercial motor vehicles crashes involving serious injury or death are most often caused by truck driver fatigue.
Why Time Matters- "Insurance Commando Teams"
If you or your family have been victims of a major truck crash involving severe injuries or death, time is probably of the essence. In severe crashes this is often what you are up against: the insurance carrier for the trucking company scrambles “Insurance Commando Teams” to the accident site. These teams usually consist of a heavy truck accident reconstructionist, investigators and lawyers. Often before the injured or dead are evacuated or removed from the crash site, the teams hired by the insurance company are hard at work gathering evidence to defend the case.
Before families can hire an experienced Plaintiff’s trucking firm to investigate the cause of their loved one’s severe injuries or death, the trucking company’s insurance company is already ahead. Their investigative teams have collected, measured and photographed valuable evidence from the crash site, gathered witness statements and downloaded data from the involved semi- truck’s electronic control module (ECM) or “black box”. Additionally, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations have built in “statutes of retention” regarding how long certain important records must be kept by the trucking company.
Shortly after the crash, the insurance company knows the truck driver’s version of how the crash occurred, based on reports submitted by the defense lawyer it hired. The company has also investigated and understands other factors that may have contributed to the crash through access to internal trucking company documents. The trucking defense lawyers are usually the crème de la crème and heavily experienced in investigating and defending major truck accident cases. Almost from the moment they arrive at the crash site, they begin to weave pieces of evidence together to form a defense for their clients.
After crashes caused by truck drivers with bad or questionable backgrounds, multiple prior accidents and /or a history of illicit drug use, these truckers tend to “disappear”. Often with the help of the trucking company who hired them.
Learned Hands or John Boys
The insurance companies that insure federal motor carriers are sophisticated, organized and make it a point early in the litigation to understand the background of the plaintiff lawyer representing the family of the injured or the deceased. They divide the plaintiff attorneys into two groups. Those plaintiff attorneys who are knowledgeable and experienced in trucking litigation are referred to as “Learned Hands”. Those who are not, are referred to as “John Boys”.
The tactics the trucking defense firms will use in defending a case, often depends on the plaintiff’s lawyer’s expertise in prosecuting trucking cases. When you are selecting a firm to represent your injured family members in a commercial trucking case, you should also look at the qualifications of the firm’s senior trucking attorney to see if he is a “Learned Hand” or a “John Boy”. In major crashes if you or your family are not represented by a “Learned Hand”, then your case is at a serious disadvantage.
In major trucking crashes involving death or serious injuries, the defendant’s insurance carriers often bring in their “national counsel”, to associate with experienced local defense counsel in working up and trying the case. UPS and Schneider National are examples of motor carriers whose insurers employ this practice. At Vrdolyak Law Group we have experienced trucking lawyers who have successfully tried cases against “national counsel”.
Trucking companies are required to by federal statute to maintain a minimum of $750,000.00 in liability insurance. Trucking companies that haul hazardous materials, “Haz-Mat Carriers” are required by federal statute to carry a minimum of $5,000,000 in liability insurance. Some trucking companies carry much more insurance above the federal minimum in the form of umbrella policies and excess coverage. Still other motor carriers form their own off shore insurance “co-operatives” with multiple members to save on insurance premiums. After a crash, it is not unusual for trucking companies and their insurance carriers to “downplay” the extent of their total available insurance coverage. Even when trucking companies claim their liability insurance has expired there can be coverage under “MCS-90”.
The Shell Game- Alter Ego Liability
Still other trucking companies have taken steps before a crash to intentionally hide money and assets from the severely injured and the families of their deceased victims. Some trucking companies attempt to do this by engaging in a “shell game”, using related corporations that claim to be separate entities from the trucking company. These companies share a common goal of washing money and assets out of the trucking company and into the related corporations, where the money and assets are presumably safe from potential creditors, including the families of those maimed or killed.
In this scenario, the ACME trucking company has broken itself into several pieces. ACME trucking company has little or no assets. Instead, it leases it trucks from a related corporation, “ACME Leasing 辽宁福彩双色球官网下载”, which has the effect of siphoning off money and assets from ACME trucking company. A separate, but related, “ACME Real Estate Corporation” owns the land on which the trucking company operates and receives “rents”, further reducing the assets and recovery of plaintiffs in the event of an adverse verdict against ACME trucking company. In the final wash cycle, the assets and cash are delivered to “ACME Holding 辽宁福彩双色球官网下载” for safekeeping, far from the reaches of the lawyers for the injured and the dead.
Broker- Shipper Liability
The cycle of transportation and the liability picture doesn’t begin or end with the motor carrier and trucker involved in the crash. Many times, a freight broker, shipper or freight forwarder is also a cause of a crash that resulted in severe injuries or death. There are clues about those “upstream” who may be responsible for the crash and liable for substantial payments by settlement or verdict. After a case is filed, discovery can unveil “Master Logistic Agreements” between the shipper and the freight broker , which shows their true relationship with the third-party trucking company that was hauling the freight at the time of the crash.
The Scourge - Ancient History Lives with Us Today
One of the first reported U.S. Supreme Court cases discussing punitive damages involved “The Amiable Nancy”, which was plundered on the high seas by a privateer (armed American ship) aptly named “Scourge”. In a suit for “marine trespass” the U.S. Supreme Court used language arcane by today’s standards in holding that the owners of the Scourge were not vicariously liable for the crews wanton conduct :
“ on an illegal seizure , the original wrong doers may be made responsible beyond the loss actually sustained , in a case of gross and wanton outrage; but the owners of the privateer , who are only constructively liable , are not bound to the extent of vindictive damages”.
Corporate Complicity Doctrine
Such rulings gave rise to the general rule in Illinois that corporations are not vicariously liable for the willful and wanton actions of its employees. However, in Illinois there are exceptions to this rule that usually involve managerial action :
i) the principle authorized the doing and manner of the act; or
ii) where the agent was unfit and the principle acted recklessly in employing him; or
iii) The agent was employed in a managerial capacity and was acting in the scope of his or her employment; or
iv) The principle or managerial agent of that principle ratified or approved the act.
Willful and Wanton Hiring
The key to discovering whether causes of action exist giving rise to collectable punitive damages is an experienced plaintiff trucking firm, which knows the tell- tale signs and where to look for evidence to support these claims.
Ancient legal standards concerning a trucking company’s liability for punitive damages often intersect with today’s trucking realities in the area of driver recruitment and hiring. FMCSR’s require trucking companies to obtain detailed information about the truck drivers it seeks to hire. Today there exists a tension between a shortage of truck drivers and the fact that trucking companies aren’t making money when their trucks are sitting idle. Some trucking companies knowingly take chances with the safety of the public by hiring drivers with “checkered backgrounds”. When these drivers are involved in a collision resulting in serious injury, the trucking company that hired them can be held liable for punitive damages for their willful and wanton hiring. Other related, but separate, causes of action involve willful and wanton entrustment or willful and wanton retention of such drivers.
Click for a List of the Most Common Types of Truck Accidents
Blind Spots- Blind spots on trucks are much larger than on regular sized vehicles. When a truck driver’s view is obstructed from a blind spot and cannot see other vehicles changing lanes, it can put those vehicles in great danger. This type of accident is also known as “lane intrusion”.
Head On- When a truck collides with the front end of another vehicle, the victims are often left in fatal conditions or have life-long injuries that would require permanent care.
Jackknife- If a truck towing a trailer hits their breaks hard and skids, the trailer can push the towing vehicle from behind until it spins the front of the truck around and faces backwards.
Lost Load- Improper loading and unsecured truck loads that fall out can put the nearby vehicles and drivers in serious danger.
Rear-end- The comparatively much greater weight of a fully loaded tractor trailer ( 80,000 pounds GVW) can cause huge damage to the smaller car , ( weighing around 4,0000 pounds) but to its driver as well. It is for these “physics” reasons, that rear end accidents are often fatal or cause severe injuries to the driver and occupants of the car.
T-Bone- When a truck runs a red light through an intersection, these is a great chance it will collide with another vehicle that is properly passing through the intersection in the other direction.
Tire Blowout- Tire blowouts are dangerous because they immediately affect a driver’s ability to control their vehicle. When a tire blows out on a truck, the danger becomes extreme due to a truck’s larger weight and load size. This can cause more damage and can have sometimes fatal outcomes.
Wheel Off- Where the tires and rims separate from the axle and become a guided missile into oncoming traffic. This is usually caused by poor maintenance and failure to follow FMCSR’s.
Truck Rollovers- When a truck driver loses control a truck can topple over onto its side.
Under Ride- This accident is when a small car or vehicle approaches the back of a truck too quickly after the truck slams on their breaks. The smaller car can become lodged underneath the trailer of the truck. This is often a fatal accident.
Swinging Turn- This is also known as a wide turn. When a truck has to swing into the left lane to make a right turn. A truck can hit other cars or, even worse, squeeze a car between the truck itself and the curb.
Click for a List of the Most Common Commercial Trucks on the Road
Garbage Trucks- These work vehicles, also known as dump trucks, can present high levels of risk to those within its vicinity. This includes drivers, bikers, and even walkers. This vehicle is often in residential areas and work with large amounts of materials and waste.
Tractor-Trailers - These trucks haul cargo, have significant blind spots, big rigs and are usually driven for long stretches at a time. The combination of all these factors increases the risk of danger for other drivers.
Tanker Trucks- This type of work vehicle hauls liquids or gases. Their unique shape and large size increase their chances of rollovers and accidents. These commercial motor vehicles often haul hazardous materials.
Flatbed Trucks- This type of work vehicle has an open trailer. The open trailer makes the trucks more susceptible to accidents with improperly secured cargo and lost-loads.
Cement Truck- while not an interstate commercial vehicle, these trucks are heavy and must be operated by a driver possessing a commercial drivers license.
Tow Trucks- This type of work vehicle is heavy and can tow up to 13,000 pounds. These large vehicles are usually owned and run by private businesses and sometimes those businesses can give their drivers insufficient training. This can lead to an increase in mistakes or improper truck driving.
Click for a List of the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Driver Fatigue – has bi-model peaks with driver fatigue occurring in the afternoon and peaking again after midnight. Surprisingly, the most dangerous time for an interstate trucker is after he has been off work for several days and his circadian rhythm returns to “normal”.
Prior Accidents – A well-recognized study by the American Trucking Research Institute showed one preventable accident increased the involved trucker’s chance of having a second accident by 88%.
Bad weather – Truckers are supposed to use extreme caution under FMCSR 392.14 when operating in bad weather, be it snow, fog or other conditions that decrease visibility.
Road Construction/ Inattentiveness
Mechanical Malfunction caused by poor maintenance
Late Delivery Penalties
Compressed Delivery Schedules
Click for a List of the Most Common Truck Accident Injuries
Wrongful Death – Death by truck accident is increasingly more likely than from car accidents.
Skull and Brain Injuries – Traumatic brain Injuries measurable on SPECT scan and neuropsychological testing.
Spinal Cord Injuries (resulting in quadriplegia or other forms of paralysis)
Spinal Column Injuries – disk herniations, broken vertebra
Rib and Torso Injuries
Compressed Delivery Schedules
Seat Belt Injuries
Broken Bones and Fractures
What Can You Do After A Truck Accident?
A truck accident can be a heartbreaking and traumatic experience. Justice can never replace a loved one but can give you peace of mind. It can help you get the compensation you need.
If you or a loved one was injured or wrongfully killed in a truck accident, call Vrdolyak now.
Our attorneys can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
CONTACT VRDOLYAK LAW (CHICAGO)
With over 55 years of experience in different areas of law, our long history in the Chicagoland area, The Vrdolyak Law Group is a firm that is experienced in these matters. We will fight for you and your loved ones. With our vast network of experienced and proven lawyers, you can feel comfortable coming to Vrdolyak for all your legal needs.
Mistakes can happen, but negligence is preventable. Whether the extent of damages is great or small, no one should have to suffer because of another’s negligence.
Time is of the Essence - Why it matters to act quickly after a Truck Accident
No one is perfect. Mistakes happen. But negligence is preventable. No matter the circumstance, no one should have to suffer because of another’s inattention or disregard.
It is the job of your attorney to prove that the driver was both being negligent and responsible for accident. Time is of the essence when it comes to hospital bills, car repairs, or even worse, funeral arrangements.
Truck drivers in particular have a responsibility to be cognizant, as their much greater size increases risk and danger on the road. To prove negligence and lack of responsibility of a driver in an accident:
1. Duty: The truck driver has duty to other drivers on the road. They need to exercise reasonable care on the road.
2. Breach: The truck driver breached that duty of responsible care on the road. Through one of the many causes outlined above.
3. Damages: As a result of that act or omission by the truck driver, the other driver sufferies injuries of some type.
4. Causation: The injury to the other driver is a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the truck driver’s act or omission.
The best chance for a successful claim/case can be directly related to the evidence provided.
Is it available to be analyzed? What type of evidence is there? Is it fresh evidence?
Many states have a statute of limitations. State legislation sets a timeline on when you have to file a claim. Waiting to take action could prevent you from getting the help and compensation you need and deserve.
The trucking industry is a complex one. The specific trucking laws and regulations can make truck accident lawsuits more elaborate than most. Not to mention the amount of damage done in an average trucking accident is substantial. It takes extensive knowledge of trucking accidents and lawyers that can successfully research, build, and argue to get the settlement you deserve or try your case in court.
Our experience in this area of accident lawsuits and our long history in the Chicagoland area makes us the perfect practice to take on your trucking accident.
If you have been in a trucking accident call our lawyers at Vrdolyak. We will make sure you know your legal rights and that you get experienced representation you can trust. Trucking accidents can be traumatizing. We understand what you are going through and want to help make this process less painful and assist on your path to recovery.
Truck Accidents Involving Different Vehicles
Commercial Trucks- These are the types of trucks that you will see the most on your average day. There are 7 main types of commercial vehicles: Dump Trucks, Cement Mixers, Tractor-Trailers, Flatbeds, Tankers, Refrigerated Trucks, and Heavy Haulers.
Government Vehicles- These are vehicles that are owned by the government are often under government immunity, which can make it very hard to sue, but it can be done. Government vehicles include Buses, Fire trucks, Police cars, Utility trucks, and others. The difficulty of these specific kinds of cases require seasoned and experienced lawyers. We want to see to it that you are getting the justice you deserve.
Private Vehicles- Tow Trucks are often owned by private companies and can sometimes have drivers that are inadequately trained. Recreational Vehicles (RVs) that you see on the road can be from privately owned companies renting out their RVs. RVs are increasingly becoming more and more common on the roads. Due to the fact that RVs do not require specific training or even special licenses. Operating this larger machinery without those requirements could lead to unintentional unsafe driving and endangering you and your loved ones.
There are so many different factors that come into play when it comes to trucking accidents. It is a great task trying to determine the negligent parties or accidental issues that can occur during an accident. In trucking lawsuits those liable could be one or many of the below:
- A truck driver employed through a company
- A contracted truck driver
- The company that employs truck drivers
- The company the contracts truck drivers
- The person or business receiving the shipment
- The company that loaded the truck
- The manufacturers of the truck
- The manufacturers of vehicle parts
- Government bodies that own and control operation of government vehicles
- The insurance companies of respective parties
CONTACT VRDOLYAK LAW (NASHVILLE)
With over 55 years of experience in different areas of law serving the Chicagoland area and Nashville, The Vrdolyak Law Group is a firm that is experienced in these matters. We will fight for you and your loved ones. With our vast network of experienced and proven lawyers, you can feel comfortable coming to Vrdolyak for all your legal needs.
Mistakes can happen, but negligence is preventable. Whether the extent of damages is great or small, no one should have to suffer because of another’s negligence.
Truck Accident Lawsuit Timeline
(click any step for more details)
Our firm goes over a claim once it has been filed and all elements of the claim are present for review. This includes components like evidence, damages, accident details, medical bills, future expenses, the proof of negligence from the other party.
From out claim assessment we would determine if it qualifies to move forward in the process. The next step we take is investigation. This part can be time sensitive because as we analyze the evidence in this part of the process, it can help a case substantially if the evidence is fresh and we can preserve your evidence. We will also notify the other parties that they are legally obligated moving forward to preserve all of their evidence as well. Evidence under review is anything from photographs of the accident to the actual vehicles involved to truck certificates and similar data.
File a complaint with your evidence and information to begin the process of determining a case.
Once we get the evidence and information from the negligent parties, we will talk to witnesses from the crash, talk to experts and specialists for these types of crash scenes, as well as medical specialists.
The next step is mediation. We would take you and together we would go to meetings with the negligent party and their representation. The purpose of this is to try and reach a settlement between the two parties. We would negotiate compensation for damages, medical bills, or future expenses. Most accident claims are settled during this stage of the process.
If no settlement was able to be reached while in mediation, we would proceed the case to trial. A judge and jury will hear the case. Your experienced accident attorney will present your evidence, prepare you for giving your testimony if required, and participate in closing arguments. This is the final step in the process and will determine whether if you get compensation for your damages and how much you will receive.
Compensation After a Truck Accident Lawsuit
Compensation can come in different forms and can vary between cases.
Examples of compensation for a truck accident can be:
- Past and future medical bills
- Future cost of rehabilitation and medical care
- Lost employment and wages
- Work compensation
- Loss of employment
- Future wages if you lost employment
- Mental health resources
- Punitive damages for the at-fault party
Truck Accident Investigations
1. Assess the Injury
2. Get Medical Treatment if Needed
3. Interview Victims and Witnesses
4. Observe Site of Accident
5. Analyze the Facts
6. File a Claim
7. Follow Up
8. Corrective Action
What Does Negligence Look Like?
Failing to obey traffic laws: Speeding, failing to yield, running spotlights, etc.
Failing to be alert while driving: Failing to follow traffic laws, to pay attention, failure to be prepared for unexpected circumstances.
Failing to maintain control of a vehicle: swerving, slamming on breaks, etc.
Failing to use car equipment properly: a driver not using their turn signal, failing to use their hazard lights when needed, failing to fix broken tail lights or headlights, etc.
Driving impaired: under the influence while driving
Improperly loaded truck: Failing to properly load and strap down materials can cause Lost Loads.
Improper training: Depending on if the truck driver was hired through a private or public company training of its drivers could vary and certain elements of their training could fall through the cracks.
Common Causes of Negligence on the Road
- Driving Under the Influence- Alcohol or Drug Use
- Larger Blind Spots on Trucks
Being Aware on the Road:
● Nearly 13 percent of vehicles on the road are tractor-trailers, semis and big rigs
● There are roughly 3.5 million truck drivers and more than 500,000 trucking companies in the U.S.
● The trucking industry generates about $255.5 billion each year in revenues
● Trucks can be as much as 20 times heavier than passenger vehicles
● Due to their weigh, trucks traveling at 75 mph will need 100 more feet of stopping distance than cars traveling at the same speed
Source- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
2014 Data: Large Trucks
Key Facts from the Study
Large-truck drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2014 had the highest percentage (14.9%) of previously recorded crashes compared to drivers of other vehicle types (motorcycles, 13.6%; passenger cars, 12.6%; and light trucks, 12.0%).
Fatalities in Large Truck Crashes
■ 73 percent were occupants of other vehicles,
■ 17 percent were occupants of large trucks, and
■ 10 percent were nonoccupants (pedestrians, pedalcyclist, etc.)
Those injured in Large Truck Crashes
■ 74 percent were occupants of other vehicles,
■ 23 percent were occupants of large trucks
■ 3 percent were nonoccupants
Things to be aware of:
■ About one out of every 4 fatal large-truck crashes occurred on an interstate.
■ 61 percent of the fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred in rural areas.
■ Almost all fatal crashes (95%) involving large trucks occurred outside of work zones.
■ 79 percent of the fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred on weekdays.
■ Of those weekday large-truck fatal crashes, 71 percent occurred during the daytime hours of 6 a.m. to 5:59 p.m.
■ Large-truck drivers have the highest percentage (14.9%) of previously recorded crashes compared to drivers of other vehicle types (motorcycles, 13.6%; passenger cars, 12.6%; and light trucks, 12.0%).
■ Over 16 percent of all large-truck drivers involved in fatal crashes had at least one prior speeding conviction, almost the same as passenger car drivers involved in fatal crashes.
■ Drivers of large trucks in fatal crashes were less likely to have previous license suspensions or revocations than were passenger car drivers (8.9% and 14.8%, respectively).
RVs or recreational vehicles are becoming more common on the road as a new generation of retired adults find new ways to spend their time. This increase could bring new levels of risk to the roads.
We mentioned before that sooner is better than later. There can be a better judgment of the success of a claim and case the sooner the claim is filed and evidence is preserved.
Recreational Vehicles (RVs) are also increasingly becoming more and more common on the roads. Due to the fact that RVs do not require specific training or even special licenses. Operating this larger machinery without those requirements could lead to unintentional unsafe driving and endangering you and your loved ones.
Common Reasons for RV Accidents
- Untrained Drivers
- Senior Drivers (retired baby boomers)
- Overloading or Poorly Loaded RVs
- Runaway Trailers
- Miscalculated Turns or Stops
- Larger Blindspots Than the Average Car
What can you do After an RV accident?
A truck accident can be a heartbreaking and traumatic experience. Justice can never replace a loved one, but can give you peace of mind. It can help you get the compensation needed.
First things first you should get the medical care you need right away. Take photos of the crash and of the injuries. Speak to your attorney before you speak to your insurance company. This is critical as an insurance company may rush the process and want to pay as little as possible.
If you or a loved one was injured or wrongfully killed in a truck accident, call Vrdolyak now for a FREE consultation. Our attorneys can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Types of RVs on the Roads:
- Motor 辽宁福彩双色球官网下载
- Pop up Camper
- Travel Trailers
- Fifth Wheel
Accident Prevention Tips
Weight is directly related to balance, so:
■ Tongue weight should be 9-14 percent of the entire weight of the trailer
■ Best check system is to step back from the trailer and see if the trailer and truck or car are balanced.
■ You can also weigh the tongue using scale
This ties into balance. Having a swaying trailer can be deadly on the road. For you and for other drivers on the road.If the trailer is carrying too much of the weight, and the tongue weight is too light, it can cause the trailer to sway out of control behind the vehicle “underloaded”. If the vehicle is “overloaded” and is carrying too much of the weight then the vehicle will squat. It will cause the back end to be lower than the rest of the vehicle and result in the headlights to be titled slightly upwards. This can lead to improper night time driving and overcompensation on the vehicle’s engine.
■ You can buy a device to help control the sway of your travel trailer
■ To reduce your travel trailer sway while driving take your foot off of the acceleration, but do not use your brakes. Applying brakes generally can make the sway worse.
■ Check tire pressure of both your vehicle and the travel trailer before starting the trip
■ Load travel trailer properly. Disproportionate or loose packing can increase your travel trailer chances of swaying and can be harder to control. Loose packing also can lead to the damaging of your property inside the travel trailer.