Trailer Towing 101: Important Safety Tips to Remember
If you are planning on towing a trailer behind your vehicle for the first time, there are some things to know first. From how to drive and back up to learning more about hooking up the trailer, it is essential that you keep the following tips in mind.
Be Aware of Your Weight Capacity
One of the most important things to know when you are towing a trailer or a vehicle is how much weight your vehicle can withstand. You might be towing a trailer of boxes with your SUV or towing a trailer with your small car behind a moving truck. Either way, learn what the vehicle towing the trailer can handle. Not only do you need to consider the weight of the trailer itself, but whatever is on top of it during the trip. Also consider the weight of any occupants in the vehicle and cargo in the vehicle itself, as that should also be included in how much weight your vehicle can handle while driving safely.
Learn Basic Handling
The first time you drive a vehicle with something towing behind it takes a little adjusting. It helps to start with the basics. Always remember to drive at moderate speeds. It is tempting to go extremely slow, but while it may help you manage the vehicle, it is dangerous for other drivers. You need to keep up with other traffic while not driving too fast. Driving on the slower side is good to avoid sudden stops. If the person in front of you slams on their brakes, you should be able to have enough time to slow down and brake gradually. Keep a good distance behind the person in front of you. Drive a bit slower when you are going along railroads or bumpy roads. When taking a turn or curve, go wider than you usually do to ensure the trailer makes it around.
Ensure the Brakes Are Working
When you are setting up the trailer to be towed behind your vehicle, you will connect the brakes of your vehicle to the brakes of the trailer. That way, the trailer stops when you do. Never leave this up to chance. When you hook it up, get in your vehicle and drive a little, then brake, making sure the trailer brakes along with you. You might need help from a mechanic if you are not familiar with hooking up the brakes. When checking the brakes, also take a moment to be sure the trailer’s lights are connected to your lights as well.
Learn How to Back Up
When it comes to details about driving while towing a trailer, one of the trickier parts is knowing how to back up. It is always a good idea to have someone riding with you as you tow a trailer, since your mirrors won’t be able to give you the full view of the vehicle and trailer. The other person can stand outside and make sure you have enough clearance. With backing up, put on your hazard lights so traffic is aware of it. Go as slow as you can, using slight movements with the steering wheel. Even if you can back up your vehicle quickly and with little effort, you will find very quickly that it is much different when towing a trailer.
Speak with tow truck professionals for more advice.