Safe Towing Tips for Your Next Road Trip

Safe Towing Tips for Your Next Road Trip

Taking a camper or RV on your road trip is quite an exciting thing. However, towing a trailer can be an intimidating experience as you don’t have a habit driving with the extra load behind. Towing a trailer is a bit difficult as even strong wind can sway the trailer and make towing challenging for you. Here are some safe towing tips for your next road trip.

Pay Attention to the Size and Weight of the Trailer

Trailers and RVs come in different shapes and sizes. Knowing the exact length of the trailer will help you get an idea about the minimum turning radius of the vehicle. Also, knowledge about the combined weight of the trailer will help you select the right towing vehicle. Although larger utility vehicles and heavier SUVs have good towing capacity, you need to be sure the hauling capacity of the tow vehicle is greater than the combined weight of the trailer.

Pre-Trip Checks

Before towing the trailer or RV on your next road trip, make sure the tow vehicle and the trailer are in optimal condition. Towing puts additional pressure on the engine and if you ignore maintenance and repairs before the road trip, you are likely to spend more time off the road performing repairs. Check the engine oil state and if it has turned black, get the oil changed. Pay attention to all fluid levels like brake oil, radiator coolant, transmission fluid and ensure that the fluid levels are between maximum and minimum levels.

Make sure the trailer is securely hitched to the tow vehicle and the brake lights are functioning properly. If you are using a regular ball hitch, ensure the tongue of the trailer is properly attached to the hitch and all mechanisms are snapped securely in place. The trailer connection should be additionally secured by chains in a crisscross pattern. This will ensure the trailer remains attached even if the hitch mechanism fails to keep the trailer connected. Check the tires of the trailer and the tow vehicle and ensure they have the recommended air pressure.

On the Road

Towing a trailer is not something you do every day and you need lots of practice to stay safe on the road. Before going on a road trip, practice driving with a trailer attached on less crowded roads so that you get the idea of the length of the vehicle. When a trailer is attached, everything becomes lengthy and your normal driving skills need some improvement. For example, you have to take wider turns to ensure the trailer does not hit other vehicles, trees or road signs. Also, you should avoid speeding as the braking distance increases when the trailer is attached. When driving on freeways avoid changing lanes or passing vehicles. You should also maintain a safe following distance. The ideal following distance is twice the length of the vehicle or two seconds behind the vehicle.