If you’re going to tow a travel trailer or camper, it never hurts to review some of the top safety tips for towing. Doing so keeps everyone on the road safer, including you. From proper loading and weight distribution to properly attaching a trailer, here are 6 tips that will ensure a safe towing experience.
Towing something behind your vehicle takes skill and finesse, because this isn’t like normal, everyday driving. If you’ve never towed a trailer before, spend some time practicing off of the main roads first. You’ll be more confident on busy highways, and everyone around you will be safer.
You may also want to practice certain maneuvers, like backing up and parking.
Do you know how much weight your vehicle can haul? Certain sedans can tow a surprising amount of weight, and large trucks and SUVs have their limits as well. Overloading the trailer makes it much harder to maintain control, and you might be surprised by how heavy a loaded trailer can get.
We can’t emphasize this point enough: Weight distribution is extremely important. Just watch this video to see what happens when weight is concentrated in the back of the trailer. If a trailer is back-heavy, even the slightest momentum to the right or left can result in uncontrollable swerving.
Place approximately 60 percent of the trailer’s load in the front half of the trailer and ensure the left and right sides are evenly distributed. It’s also important to pay attention to the tongue weight on conventional hitch trailers, which should be around 10 to 15 percent of the loaded trailer’s total weight.
To make sure your perfectly loaded trailer stays safe don’t forget to secure heavy items inside of the trailer. Feeling confident when you hit a bumpy road and knowing everything is in its place is just as important as hooking it up to your vehicle.
If you’re familiar with safe towing practices, you’ve probably seen too many incidents of unsafe trailer attachments (chains are one commonly overlooked area of safety). That is why it’s so important to double (or triple) check your work after attaching a trailer.
Make sure the safety chains, lights, and license plate are all good to go before taking off.
Pulling a trailer requires a different kind of driving. You’ll want to:
These are some of the biggest changes you’ll have to make to your driving style, but they aren’t the only considerations. To learn more about driving with a trailer, visit this website.