What Causes Fishtailing When Towing A Tandem Trailer?

tandem trailer being towed

What is fishtailing and why does it happen when towing a tandem trailer?

Have you ever been driving along with a tandem trailer behind you and suddenly felt the back end start to swing out? If so, you’ve experienced fishtailing.

Fishtailing occurs when the trailer starts to swing out from behind the tow vehicle. It can happen for a number of reasons, but most often it’s due to a sudden change in direction or speed.

If you’re driving along and make a sudden turn, the trailer can start to swing out. This is because the trailer is not able to turn as quickly as the tow vehicle. The same thing can happen if you have to brake suddenly. The trailer will continue moving forward while the tow vehicle slows down, causing the back end to swing out.

Fishtailing can be dangerous because it can cause the trailer to jackknife. This is when the trailer swings out so far that it forms a 90-degree angle with the tow vehicle. Jackknifing can cause the trailer to overturn and can even lead to a serious accident.

The best way to avoid fishtailing is to be aware of the conditions around you and to take turns slowly and carefully. If you do find yourself in a situation where the trailer starts to swing out, don’t panic. Instead, gently apply the brakes and steer into the turn. This will help to straighten out the trailer and bring it back under control.

The physics behind fishtailing and how to prevent it

When towing a trailer, whether it’s a boat trailer, a camper trailer or a utility trailer, there’s always a risk of fishtailing. Fishtailing occurs when the trailer starts to swing out from behind the tow vehicle in an uncontrolled manner. It can be a dangerous situation if not corrected quickly, and it’s important to understand the physics behind it so you can avoid it altogether.

There are two main reasons why a trailer can fishtail. The first is when the trailer’s wheels lose contact with the road surface. This can happen on a slippery road, or if the trailer hits a pothole or other object in the road.

The second reason is when the trailer’s tongue weight is not properly distributed. Tongue weight is the downward force exerted on the hitch by the trailer. If the tongue weight is too light, the trailer can become unstable and start to swing out.

There are a few things you can do to prevent fishtailing. First, make sure the trailer’s wheels are properly inflated. Second, distribute the tongue weight evenly by loading heavier items in the front of the trailer. And finally, if you find yourself in a situation where the trailer starts to fishtail, don’t panic. Gently turn the steering wheel in the direction of the fishtail to regain control.

The most common causes of fishtailing when towing a tandem trailer

When towing a tandem trailer, the most common cause of fishtailing is incorrect trailer weight distribution. The trailer should be loaded so that the tongue weight is 10-15% of the total trailer weight. This can be accomplished by loading heavier items towards the front of the trailer, or by adding weight to the front of the trailer if necessary.

Another common cause of fishtailing when towing a tandem trailer is improper tire inflation. All tires on the trailer should be properly inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. Underinflated tires can cause the trailer to sway from side to side, making it more difficult to control.

Finally, wind can also be a factor when towing a tandem trailer. If the wind is blowing from the side, it can push the trailer and cause it to fishtail. This can be especially dangerous if the trailer is not properly loaded or the tires are not properly inflated. If you find yourself in this situation, the best course of action is to slow down and be extra cautious.


These tips will help you when towing your tandem trailer. Fishtailing can be dangerous and can cause an accident, being knowledgeable on how to prevent it from happening is going to be a viable skill to have.

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DAMEL offer custom trailer manufacturing & quality dog kennels that are built to last.

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