Years ago I was towing a smalllish tractor on a flat bed trailer. I was only going a few miles, and I had a tail gate to keep the machine on the trailer. I made the mistake of not tying the tractor down very well, I was just going to take it easy. It seems like I did secure it somewhat but apparently not enough. I was going down a long straight country road when my truck began to fish tail. I immediately slowed down. The fish tailing stopped. I kept going but after a little while the truck began to fish tail again, this time even more violently. What happened was that as I was moving the tractor began to inch toward the back of the trailer. Once the weight got on the back end of the trailer it caused me to fishtail once the weight got off my back wheels. After putting on the brakes the tractor would roll forward, stopping the effect. I learned a very valuable lesson without getting hurt. I always make sure to securely tie down anything I'm hauling and make sure the weight is over the wheels.
I have seen not enough weight on the tongue so many times it's crazy. More times than not it will be a weekend warrior with a Ford Explorer hooked to a 30 foot loaded camper. I have seen a 3/4 ton pickup pulling 307 cat excavator. Just plain stupid..
Kubota Grand L 5740, loaded R1's w/642 lbs cast weight, 854 loader
I know this is a bit of an old thread but its a sticky so i think it should be ok to post my stories.
#1. I had a female friend and she and her husband had a suburban and a travel trailer. The suburban was her daily driver and she always complained that it was to big. So she and hubby traded for a nice tahoe. The first trip pulling the trailer it fishtailed and slung them into the ditch and jack knifed, busting out the rear windoes of the brand new tahoe. The were furious and bad mouthed the tahoe. I told her it was not the tahoe, something else was wrong. I went to her house and there sat the trailer with the tongue in the air and the tail on the ground. I asked if this was the way it was when they pulled it with the suburban and she said no, they lost space inside with the tahoe so they made a rack on the rear of the trailer to haul all the extra stuff. And they loaded it down!!!! DUH. Took off the rack, redestributed the stuff, problem solved.
#2 my buddy borrowed my 10 ft single axle trailer. I didnt ask why. He called me awhile later. He was slung off in the ditch. When i got there, i saw that he had shoveled the entire rear half of the trailer full of dirt for a project in his yard. No dirt in the front. Well duh.
Everyone who pulls a trailer needs to be aware of the dynamics. Thirty-five years ago, I was pulling a poorly loaded/overloaded trailer behind a Datsun truck on the Interstate. Coming down a relatively gentle mountain pass, the trailer started fishtailing. I eased off the accelerator, avoided the brake, and held the wheel straight, but the trailer was heavier than the truck, and I quickly came to a complete stop, in the fast lane, facing oncoming traffic. It could easily have been a rollover. Fortunately the traffic behind was able to slow down and no one was hurt. I'm shaking even now as I remember that day. Please help others be aware of safe towing procedures. Not everyone will be as lucky as I was that day.
My wife and I were on an Interstate highway, driving around 65 mph, following a guy in a pickup truck pulling a pretty sizeable enclosed trailer. I noticed his trailer fishtailing a couple of times, mildly, and he got it under control by slowing. The fishtailing seemed to be getting worse the more it occurred. Then on one occasion the fishtailing got violent, got extreme, and ended up throwing his truck off the highway, with truck, trailer and all going down a pretty steep bank. We stopped, along with a lot of others. It turned out that he was carrying an expensive collector car in the enclosed trailer. Needless to say, the car suffered some damage (the driver wasn't injured). I don't know for sure but I'd bet that the car inside the trailer wasn't cinched down in place correctly, worked loose, and moved backwards inside the trailer to the point at which the tongue weight was so light that the fishtailing got increasingly violent. Scary.