No matter how much experience you have, it is important to do a basic trailer towing review before you hit the road on any long or short distance trip. Whether you are traversing the country or just to the other side of town, safety is the most important element of towing a trailer.
Continue reading to learn some of the most important trailer towing tips you need to know, including a recommended pre-trip checklist, road safety, and jackknife prevention.
Top Considerations for Pulling a Trailer
Pulling a trailer is no simple feat. From safety and clearance precautions to regulation towing equipment like hitches and signals, towing laws, licensing, and more, there is much you need to know and stay on top of when it comes to trailer towing. Not only do towing vehicles require more stopping time when pulling a trailer, but they must also adhere to all local and state towing regulations and traffic laws.
For instance, some states require anyone towing a trailer to drive slower and remain in the right lane at all times, while other states have more specific or unique regulations for trailer towing. It is important to check with your county clerk’s office to ensure that you are in accordance with all local and state trailer towing guidelines.
It is important that you are properly equipped to safely to a trailer, which includes being properly licensed to tow, plus having all of your necessary safety chains, lights and signals, hitches, receivers, and all other towing components in order. It is important to check these components before leaving on every trip. This brings us to our recommended pre-trip checklist for trailer towing.
Before hitting the road with trailer in tow, check all of these components. First:
Hitch – if you have a standard ball hitch, your trailer tongue should be properly attached. According to manufacturer’s instructions. Be sure the locking mechanism is secured with the lock pin in proper position. Check that your hitch is secure by trying to pull it up. If you can pull it off, then it is not attached properly.
Trailer Connection Chains – check that the connection chains between your trailer in the towing vehicle are crisscrossed and in the right position, which would be directly in between the vehicle of trailer.
Brake Lights and Signals – Your next priority is to check that the trailer brake lights and turn signals are in sync with your towing vehicle. You will likely need a partner to help you with this step, but you can also use the reflection of another window or vehicle windshield.
Towing a Trailer on the Road
Once you do hit the road with your trailer in tow, there are still some more rules and considerations you need to keep in mind. It is strongly encouraged to drive directly to a large open area or a parking lot to practice your maneuvering skills. Practice backing up and parking, as well as stopping and turning. Allow yourself to get a better feel or reminder of just how big your caravan is. This little bit of practice can really help you be more confident on the road, which in turn can make you a safer driver.
One of the most common trailer towing errors is jackknifing, which usually results from backing up incorrectly. This can cause the trailer and towing vehicle to turn into an L or V shape, which can be damaging to both the hitch and the trailer. This is a very difficult position to get out of, which is what is important to learn how to avoid in the first place.
Practicing in an open area or parking lot, as mentioned before, can really help you get a better feel for your trailer and avoid jackknifing errors. To avoid jackknifing when towing a trailer, just take it slow and never let the trailer and towing vehicle get beyond an L or V shape.
Do you need professional towing assistance or have a roadside trailer emergency? Contact Zore’s Towing for economically-priced towing and recovery service in Indianapolis, Indiana. We serve all of Central Indiana.