Towing a trailer is more than just hitching up and heading out. Adding the weight of a trailer and its cargo to your vehicle requires extra preparation and vigilance before going out on the road. You might have the right gear and confidence, but there is a lot more to it. Safety should always be a priority when driving on the road with a trailer, especially here in South Florida where the rain comes every day during the summer. Here are five quick and essential trailer towing safety tips.
1. Secure & Position Your Cargo
When loading your trailer, you need to follow specific guidelines to ensure everything is secured and correctly positioned. 60% of the load should be near the front of the trailer where the connection is the most secure and least likely to drift. Also, when you load your trailer, always double check your connections, including your safety connections.
2. Take Precautions on the Road
Take every precaution necessary to keep you (and others!) safe on the road. For example, purchase wide mirrors for your vehicle so that you’re able to see the whole trailer and behind it as well. Another precaution to take is allowing the time needed to stop and follow. It’s recommended to have four seconds of distance in between you and the car in front of you.
3. Beware Bad Weather
Driving in bad weather is difficult enough without a trailer, but it’s certainly not impossible. Rain can make it hard to see while gusts can make it hard to drive. The key is patient, smooth, and gentle driving. Keep away from other cars on the road because those gusts can knock you over half a lane. Avoid fast acceleration to keep traction on the road and, when braking, practice intermittent braking.
4. Be Considerate
Always remember that you are the larger and probably much slower than the cars around you. It’s wise to use turnouts when possible and be patient with other slower vehicles. Do not make any sudden maneuvers or speed increases. Also, be prepared for passing! Most cars will want to move out from behind your loaded trailer so stay vigilant (and check those wide angle mirrors!).
5. Take It Easy on Your Breaks
This will be much easier if you follow the four-second rule that we mentioned previously. When stopping, it’s best to intermittently stop and go into a lower gear to help ease the strain on your brakes. Stopping fast will only wear your brakes faster and might not be as much of a help in the future when you need them most.
If we practice a “safety first” mentality when towing trailers, we can decrease our chances of an accident on the road and help our brakes last longer. Trailers are great to have, especially when transporting tractors or lawn equipment, but they require some extra care and awareness. There are many other tips to be recommended, but these basic essential trailer towing safety tips to get you started.