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Snaking horse trailers


‘Snaking’ (see diagram below) occurs when theaxles of the horse trailer move out of line from the towing vehicle. The trailer naturally tries to correct its line but often goes too far, unbalancing the whole outfit and presenting a high risk of total loss of control.

 
Snaking horse trailerSnaking can be caused by a number of factors, including:
  • Very light or negative noseweight.
     
  • Incorrectly placed loads (i.e. heaviest horse travelled on the left hand side of the trailer).
     
  • A trailer too heavy for the car.
     
  • A horse losing its balance.
     
  • Cross winds or an overtaking lorry.
     
  • Uneven tyre pressures or brakes.
     
  • Swerving.
     
  • Driving out of line with grooves in the road left by lorry wheels.

Thorough checking and maintenance of the horse trailer, proper loading of horses and careful driving can help eliminate snaking, but it’s essential that before you drive while towing a horse trailer you know how to correct it. For this reason, there’s a high chance you’ll be asked about snaking, its causes, effects and correction, during your B+E driving test.

 

How to correct snaking in horse trailers

  • Try to keep the vehicle on track by steering in a straight line.
     
  • Remove your foot from the throttle smoothly, allowing the speed to drop.
     
  • Try not to brake, unless you are travelling downhill or there is a hazard.
     
  • Where necessary, continue the slowing process by dropping down the gears.
     

DO NOT:

  • Try to steer out – you could easily misread and make matters worse.
     
  • Brake hard – the trailer could jack knife.
     
  • Try to accelerate out – you could end up in a serious accident.
Last updated: 18/06/2010
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