Tips for Driving with a Large Trailer
Driving with a large trailer seem intimidating? Don’t let towing a trailer intimidate you or cause you to leave it at home! Using a trailer can be a life saver for hauling heavy equipment, towing your favorite 4-wheeler, or moving large furniture. In order to properly and safely tow your trailer, use these tips to make it a more successful trip.
Driving with a Large Trailer
The first thing you should do is prepare accordingly! Make sure the truck/SUV and trailer are on a flat surface as you are hooking everything up. At this point, you need to know your trailer capacity. How much can it hold? Before you load anything up on it, know these numbers! As you are loading your items onto the trailer, try to load the weight right over the axle. If you have several items, try to disperse them evenly on both sides so that you have a balance. Then take a walk around the trailer and the vehicle to make sure everything is strapped down properly. Don’t forget to double check the hitch as well to ensure it is hooked up correctly before you drive off.
Time To Drive!
Safety is a huge concern when driving with a large trailer. The first thing you need to do before you even start your vehicle, is check your mirrors. Can you see behind you? Is your trailer blocking your view? Try to adjust your mirrors so that you can see properly. If you still are not able to see, you may have to invest in tow mirrors. This should be done prior to driving.
As you start to drive, you will get a feel for it. Overall, the steering should feel pretty normal and you should not notice a huge sway in your vehicle. If you do notice a sway while driving, something could be wrong with the hitch hookup. If it is too loose, you may notice a lot of swaying. If it is too tight, it may not be a very smooth ride.
Tip: Try to leave at least 10-15 minutes early. If you are still new at this, you may find yourself driving a bit slower, stopping to check your tie downs, and being extra careful when you hit the gas and brakes. By not having to hurry, you can take your time and be much safer on the roads.
Practice Makes Perfect
You think you finally got it down? Well, remember you eventually have to take this out onto real roads, where you may have to make a turn or two. Turning with your trailer is something you should practice and get a feel for. Take every corner very wide. As you turn, take into consideration any potential sway of the trailer in other lanes.
Another huge thing to consider while driving with a large trailers is braking! Do you know all about your trailer brake controller system? When you buy the trailer, this should be explained to you, but you also have to test it and play around with it when you are towing a trailer. Use an open road to test the different controls so you know exactly how it will manage as you travel. As you stop, remember the added weight coming from not only the trailer, but the items that you have loaded on it as well. Make sure to leave a significant amount of distance between you and the car in front of you.
Another tip: When you stop at a gas station or fast food joint, jump out of the car and look over everything. Check your tie downs, check the tire pressure, and make sure everything looks good. There is nothing like having peace of mind as you travel a long distance.
Hopefully these tips will help you feel more confident out on the road when you are driving with a large trailer.