Safety Tips for Driving with a Trailer
Pulling a trailer is often taken for granted. It can come in handy when moving, purchasing furniture, pulling a boat or RV and of course hauling day to day items like lawnmowers and ATVs. Knowing how to attach a trailer to the hitch is the very first step in driving with the trailer itself. Here are a few tips to consider before getting on the road.
- Be sure to consult your owner’s manual for information on how much weight your vehicle can successfully pull. Not heading this very important step could not only make your car, truck or SUV difficult to handle, but it could mean life or death. Consult our past blog postings about trailer weight, hitch weight and proper loading of the trailer itself.
- Do not underestimate driving with a trailer! Ever hear the old adage “Practice Makes Perfect” which is absolutely the case. Take it slow and always utilize driveways, back roads and deserted parking lots before attempting to drive in heavy traffic areas.
- The size of the trailer absolutely matters. The big trailer the more adjustments you should be making as a driver. The smaller the trailer the more apt that it will just go with the flow of your vehicle and when pulling a boat or large RV constant attention should be paid to things like the speed limit, mirrors, traffic and never forget your defensive driving techniques.
- Don’t forget to check your safety chains, tire pressure, brakes, lights and proper attachment of the trailer to your hitch.
- Remember to keep a greater distance from the vehicle in front of you since now that you’re pulling a trailer (with assumingly extra weight) it will increase your slow down to stop distance.
- Be sure to take wider turns because your vehicle could be double or more in length, so you’ll want to go wide to avoid hitting other vehicles, curbs and running yourself off the road.
- Even the most skilled trailer folks have a tough time reversing with a trailer. Be sure to hone these skills to avoid jackknifing your trailer and not only damaging your vehicle(s), but allow for maneuvering even the tightest of spaces. Remember it’s normal for this process to take many attempts especially when just starting out, so don’t get discouraged… we all learned the same way!
Here’s a great how-to video from the Uhaul Youtube Channel to help get you started.
- Take it slow! Don’t worry when you have cars whizzing by you, you’ll want to abide by the manufacturer precautions and keep your speed low. Remember to avoid left hand lanes whenever possible and stay safe. Acceleration will, of course, take considerably more time with the trailer and it’s extra weight, so plan accordingly and remember to abide by any posted speed limits.
- Parking is for pros! When in doubt keep away from other parked vehicles and stay away from small parking lots whenever possible. Whenever possible you should park your vehicle in a remote part of a parking lot if available.
Snapper Trailers hopes you have enjoyed these simple tips to help to make your new purchase more enjoyable. Remember practice makes perfect and never neglect to call us if you have questions about maintenance, operation or other service needs. Thank you!