This paper proposes a model reference adaptive control (MRAC) strategy for active trailer steering (ATS) in order to improve the lateral stability of articulated heavy vehicles (AHVs). Optimal controllers based on the Linear Quadratic Regulator (LQR) technique have been explored to enhance the lateral stability of AHVs; these controllers are designed under the assumption that the vehicle model parameters and operating conditions are given and they remain as constants. However, in reality, the vehicle system parameters and operating conditions may vary. To address the variable payloads of trailer(s), the controller based on MRAC technique is adopted. A three degrees of freedom (DOF) linear yaw-plane tractor-semitrailer model is generated to design the control law. The reference model is also developed using the linear yaw-plane model with the LQR technique. The effectiveness of the MRAC controller is demonstrated using numerical simulations under an emulated single lane-change maneuver.