All-New Ford Ranger Makes Towing Safer Than Ever

  • Ranger utilises the innovative Trailer Sway Control technology to mitigate the problem of ‘snaking’
  • Trailer sway is a serious phenomenon that can in some cases quickly escalate and can be difficult to counter, potentially leading to serious accidents
  • The technology is part of the Electronic Stability Program system and uses information from the sensors – such as yaw, acceleration and steering angle

MELBOURNE, Australia, 23 Aug., 2011 – Be it towing a caravan or a trailer, the all-new Ranger gives drivers additional confidence and control with an innovative technology that mitigates trailer sway.

The Trailer Sway Control feature available in the all-new Ranger XLS, XLT and Wildtrack derivatives, assists the driver when ‘snaking’ occurs. Trailer sway – a phenomenon where the trailer swings from side to side and compromises vehicle control – can be a cause of accidents for vehicles which are towing.

“For the inexperienced, towing can be a daunting experience,” said Matt Bridger, stability control engineer, Product Development, Ford Australia. “You have to adapt your driving technique and pay attention to your speed, but even then, weather conditions or the actions of other road users can sometimes lead to trouble. For such cases we have developed Ford’s Trailer Sway Control technology to assist the driver.”

While technology provides an added layer of security, it’s not a substitute for drivers displaying caution when towing. Excessive speed, poorly distributed loads and improperly inflated tyres can all negatively influence the trailer stability. Weather conditions such as slick roads and crosswinds are also factors.

“Once the trailer starts to sway, it can very quickly escalate and – unless the appropriate actions are taken – cause a loss of control,” Bridger said. “If you are driving above a certain speed, the swaying can increase.”

Constant monitoring for your safety

The Trailer Sway Control feature is part of the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) system and uses information from its sensors – such as yaw, acceleration and steering angle.

“The ESP system monitors these parameters anyway, so it makes sense that we should use this information to look out for and react to trailer sway as well,” explained Bridger.

Trailer Sway Control continuously monitors the yaw rate of the vehicle and compares this to the steering angle. If swaying is detected without appropriate driver input, the all-new Ranger is designed to react accordingly to correct the instability.

“If it detects a situation where it needs to intervene, Trailer Sway Control is designed to make brake and engine interventions based upon the sway severity and lateral movements caused,” he added.

For moderate sway, the front brakes will engage in a left-right alternating pattern to generate a yaw movement in the vehicle that counteracts the trailer sway. For more severe sway, engine torque is reduced to zero and brake pressures are applied to all four wheels in order to reduce the vehicle’s speed below the trailer’s critical speed.

Of course, these systems aren’t the only way the all-new Ranger can assist drivers who tow. The smart Rear View Camera system that displays the video image in the rear view mirror can be a big help when hooking up to your trailer.

Ranger has also gone through rigorous real-life testing to ensure it can cope with the demands towing places on the engine and clutch – offering extra peace of mind all round if you’re hitching up the caravan for a holiday.

Top tips for safer towing

  • Check tyre pressures and lights on both the trailer and the towing vehicle
  • Make sure your trailer’s load is correctly balanced and secured
  • Reduce your vehicle speed to suit the driving conditions
  • Take extra care when changing lanes and negotiating sharp bends