Tips for Safely Towing a Trailer
Road accidents can be bad enough, especially when they cause injury, but towing a trailer needs extra care and attention to ensure the safety of the driver as well as other road users. Here are our top tips for trailer safety on every journey.
Make sure you do your trailer checks before you set off; ensure the lights work, check the brake lights and tyre pressures. Too much weight on the trailer can put extra stress on the tyres and cause blowout!
Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re invincible inside a 4×4. Do everything you can to stay safe, including remembering to fasten your seatbelt.
Check your weight
This doesn’t mean hopping on the scales either! Make sure your trailer and haulage fall within the towing capacity of your vehicle. Double check that your trailer is hitched on properly before you set off on your journey.
Make sure your load is distributed as evenly as possible on the trailer, but not too far back. If it is, there’s a good chance that the trailer will become unstable and ‘fishtail’ at a certain speed.
When towing a loaded trailer, your vehicle length can easily double, as can the weight. With a longer vehicle, you need to adjust your driving accordingly. Manoeuvres can be much harder work and may take a lot of practice before you get them right. You may need another person to guide you into reverse positions, particularly if you have blind spots and tight spaces to manoeuvre into.
Late braking and sudden turns are a no-no. Your stopping distance is greatly increased due to the extra size and weight, and you may think you have control over the vehicle, but the trailer may have other ideas!
When you first learn to drive, it’s drummed into you to use your mirrors. Often. They’re there for a reason, and more so when you’re towing a heavy load. Check them regularly to ensure your load stays where it should – on your trailer. If your load becomes unstable or unhitched, early detection will save time, hassle and even lives!