Safe Towing Tips for Your Next Road Trip
If you are going to tow a trailer on your next trip, you need to pay attention to several things. Towing is not something which many of us do on a regular basis. You need to have some special driving skills to safely tow an RV or a trailer. Here are important safe towing tips that will keep you away from trouble on your next road trip.
Select a Good Tow Vehicle
The tow vehicle should be capable enough to tow the trailer. Check the owner’s manual to know the towing capacity of the vehicle. The towing capacity of the vehicle should be greater than the combined weight of the trailer and the goods inside. Many heavier SUVs and large utility vehicles are ideal for towing. No matter what towing vehicle you select, it should be in optimal condition. The engine, battery and tires should be well maintained. Important fluid levels like engine oil, transmission fuel, brake oil and radiator coolant should be at recommended levels. The tires should have the recommended air pressure and the treads should be deep enough.
Pay Attention When Loading the Trailer
The way the trailer is loaded plays an important role in the stability of the trailer and helps with safe towing. The placement of the load is an important aspect. According to experts, you need to place 60% of the weight around the front axle of the trailer. While doing this, you need to also ensure the weight is distributed evenly side by side. By distributing the weight on all four tires, you can improve the ride quality and control body roll and sway. You need to secure the load by ropes and tie-downs to ensure the goods stay in place when the trailer is moving.
Check if the Trailer is Hitched Securely
You need to use the right hitching equipment which depends on the gross vehicle weight and max tongue weight. There are around five different classes of hitches. Every hitch equipment directly relates to the max amount it can tow. Besides hitches, there are other safety equipment like sway control devices and equalizers that need to be considered as well. Experts advise people to use safety chains in the X configuration while towing.
Trailer Driving Tips
If the trailer is swaying, remove your foot from the accelerator. Never speed up or apply brakes when swaying occurs. If you are going downhill, reduce your speed before you drive on the slope. When turning around the corner, you need to take a wide turn to ensure the trailer does not hop on the curb. Drive slowly and never cross the speed of 50 mph when you are towing a trailer. Always maintain more than normal distance between your tow vehicle and the vehicle in the front. Leaving extra distance between the front vehicle and your vehicle will ensure you have enough braking distance in case you are required to apply the brakes.
Reading trailer driving tips is not going to make towing easier without practice. You need to test it out before hitting the road. You can try towing the trailer in an open space or in the garage and learn how to back up the trailer or park the trailer.