I am struck by some of the opinions that are put forward here on the board about hitches, weight distribution, and sway control. Posts often report distances traveled with a certain setup and speak authoritatively about the optimum performance of it.
Here is an interesting excerpt from the introduction of a Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) paper published in 2008 on “Stability and Control Considerations of Vehicle-Trailer Combination”:
“Handling behavior of articulated vehicles is more complex and less predictable than that of non-articulated vehicles. This poses challenges to non-expert drivers of light vehicles, who occasionally tow recreational trailers and may not have good understanding of dynamic complexities of a vehicle-trailer combination. The task of controlling the vehicle becomes the most difficult when the system becomes unstable. Apart from rollover, which is not discussed in this paper, the articulated vehicle may experience two types of instability in the yaw plane. The first one is a divergent instability such as jackknifing, in which the hitch angle increases without experiencing oscillations. This occurs when, at a particular operating condition, the understeer gradient of a vehicle-trailer combination becomes negative and the speed is above critical velocity. The second type is dynamic in nature and may lead to oscillatory response with increasing amplitude known as snaking or sway.”
Something for us all to keep in mind, many miles of incident free towing may well be representative of luck vs. truly optimum equipment and its set-up.