Towing a trailer doesn’t have to be stressful. Driving will be slightly different – your vehicle will be heavier, slower, and will take longer to stop. It may seem like others drive differently when you have a trailer – they’ll rush around you, won’t let you change lanes, and may even pull right in front of you and hit the brakes. It’s no wonder that many drivers are reluctant to tow a trailer. But with the right gear and the proper adjustments, towing a trailer can be almost as easy as driving.
It’s simple: common sense is your best friend when it comes to safe trailering, and overconfidence is your worst enemy. When towing a trailer, always keep these safety guidelines in mind:
Load your trailer right
Make sure your trailer’s load is balanced with about 60% of the total weight in front (but not too far in front) of the axle. Make sure the load is centered and secured, and that the center of gravity is kept as low as possible.
Hook up properly
Make sure you have followed the procedure for hooking up your trailer. Double-check all connections. Make sure the safety chains are crossed under the trailer tongue, and secure with chains fastened loosely enough to allow trailer to turn without the chains getting too tight.
Allow plenty of stopping and following distance
You need to allow much more following distance when trailering. Basic physics dictates that even with the best brakes, it takes longer to stop a big heavy truck and trailer than a small car.
Be extra when careful changing lanes
Changing lanes is a challenge, especially if traffic in the other lane is moving at a different speed. Make sure you’ve got wide trailering mirrors installed to give you a clear view of the lane next to your vehicle and the full length of your trailer.
Be patient with slower vehicles
Passing a slower car should be a rare occurrence when you’re towing. You have to allow many times the distance normally required to pass another vehicle. Passing on a two-lane road should basically never happen. Only pass vehicles that cannot maintain at least 50% of the posted speed. It’s much safer to wait for a turnout and hope the slower traffic uses it!
Be gracious with faster vehicles
The best way to get down the road safely is to be extra courteous to faster traffic. Use turnouts whenever possible. When a passing lane comes along, don’t speed up to race passing traffic, but instead slow down to help people get past you in an efficient manner. Your stress level will be reduced and you’ll contribute to a courteous culture on the road. Above all, be solid and predictable when someone is passing you. Avoid sudden acceleration, braking, or maneuvers.
Don’t pull in where you can’t see out
It’s easy to get stuck when you tow a trailer. You might pull into a small parking lot and have to perform a complicated backup maneuver to get out. It’s usually better to park across the street or on the road where you can see your way through.
Be safe with a trailer lock
Using a trailer lock not only prevents the trailer from coming loose, but prevents would-be thieves from hooking up the trailer and hauling it away.
When you’ve got the correct gear and some practice and confidence, it can be easy to tow a trailer. But no matter how easy and comfortable the process, your towing rig weighs more and doesn’t dodge or stop as easily as other cars on the road. If you observe some simple safety rules and practices, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of accidents and handle many emergency driving situations like a pro.
We rent trailers to haul cars, motorcycles, snowmobiles, pontoons, luggage and light cargo, or heavy equipment. We have open and enclosed trailers, as well as trailers with flat beds, drop decks, dump and tilt beds. No matter what you need to haul, we have a trailer that makes it easy! Contact us today, and we’ll get you on the road with the right equipment. Broadway also sells and installs trailer hitches and lights connections!
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