Top Trailer Towing Tips
Driving when towing something can be entirely different from everyday car driving. Obviously, it varies depending on the size and weight of what you are pulling, but there’s an obvious difference between driving your usual family car, and suddenly having a large trailer or caravan pulling behind you. Your car will feel different, your vision will be different, and if you don’t take all due care, you could put yourself, and other road users at risk.
If you’ve never driven while towing before, even pulling a small trailer can be a bit of a shock to the system and often even experienced drivers struggle to get used to it. Here are some top tips to help you drive safely while towing.
Make Sure Your Vehicle Can Handle it
Firstly, before you considering towing anything, especially something substantial like another car or a large trailer, make sure your vehicle can handle it. Not all vehicles are capable of pulling a large load. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that if your car has a powerful engine, it will be able to pull anything. This isn’t always the case. The size, shape and height from the ground also need to be taken into consideration. The best thing to do is check your owner’s manual for specific information about your car.
Next, before you start to drive, it’s imperative that you ensure your trailer is attached to your car safely and securely. Use a shackle hitch for ease and security, but make sure you double check everything, including any chains and ropes and the display of your license plate before setting off.
Check Your Mirrors
You may not need to make any changes at all, depending on what you are pulling and how it’s weight affects your cars position on the road. But, it’s always best to check. Before setting off, sit in the driver’s seat and make any adjustments.
Leave Plenty of Space
It’s essential that you remember that carrying a weight will make everything slower. You’ll have to leave more time to brake, so it’s important that you leave extra space between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. It will also take you longer to accelerate, so don’t try to floor it when you set off. Take your time, leave extra space and accelerate nice and slow.
You’ll also need to use more space when you go around corners. Your tow will mean you need a wider turning angle. How wide will depend on the length of your tow.
The key to towing anything is practice. Take some time to drive around the block or somewhere else that you are comfortable before setting out on any long unknown journey. Give yourself time to get used to how your car feels and behaves while pulling something. You should also find a quiet area to practice reversing and parking, which is much more difficult.
The key to safely pulling a trailer is to double and triple check attachment and safety and to take everything slowly and calmly.
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