There’s nothing wrong with using your Chevy Astro to trailer a vehicle, but you have to load it properly and know what to do when trailer sway occurs.
If you’ve got a truck, van, or SUV that can haul some serious loads and $98, you can rent a U-Haul car trailer and tow a car however far you need to go. But, know how to tow properly, safely and not like this Chevy Astro owner.
Instagram user @Carazar6 caught the frightening moment a Chevrolet Astro van trailering, what looks like a Jeep Wrangler, lost control on Highway 15 North near Victorville, Calif because of extreme trailer sway. When the Astro driver tried to correct the sway, he used the wrong technique.
Check out the video for yourself below.
The Chevrolet Astro is a more than capable tow vehicle. When properly equipped, these workhorses of a bygone era still kicking around can tow upwards of 5,800 pounds. With a 2,300 U-Haul car trailer, carrying even a medium-sized vehicle isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
Small transport trailers, like the one in this video, don’t give you much length to work with. Typically, you want to load the front of your trailer with about 60 percent of your total towing package up front so there’s adequate weight on the front tow hitch.
Jeeps usually have a 50:50 weight distribution, so, improper loading wasn’t the issue here. Despite the car trailer loaded as best they could, we can see this van/trailer combo experience some mild trailer sway that quickly gets out of hand.
Just for your edification, this demo shows the physics of improper trailer weight distribution clearly.
I can count 18 trailer sways before the van loses control.
Typically, in situations like this where you don’t have trailer brakes on your trailer, you’ll want to maintain speed. You absolutely don’t want to apply any braking. Slightly increasing your speed also helps, putting more pressure on the tongue of a trailer, helping you to straighten out.
If you do have trailer brakes, applying those brakes independently will help to cancel out any trailer sway.
This van, not equipped with trailer brakes, tries to correct his trailer sway by steering. An application of brakes makes the sway even worse and, by that time, there’s nothing he could do. Physics takes over and his trailer swings his van off the road, flipping the van and trailer over.
No word if the driver is OK but if he’s properly strapped in, I don’t see any reason why he’d escape with just some bruises. His van and jeep are probably both totaled.
Towing vehicles, cargo, and loads of any size introduces a new variable into your driving, one that increases your likelihood to crash and injure yourself if you’re not up to snuff on how to control your trailer properly.
Before you trailer anything, know the ins and outs of your equipment, how it all works, and what to do if anything goes wrong.