Driving a trailer is not an easy task. Without prior practice and knowledge of relevant safety tips, driving a trailer can be dangerous. It is not as simple as driving normally; you also need to consider many other things.
1. The size and weight of the trailer
The first thing you need to know is the towing capacity of your towing vehicle to make sure it can handle the weight of the trailer. If the towing vehicle cannot handle it, then you will need to replace the vehicle or trailer.
It is important to note that the weight of the trailer also needs to include the weight of the load. For example, a boat trailer needs to include the weight of the boat, and a car trailer needs to include the weight of the car.
In addition to this, it is also important to know the dimensions of the trailer. Because some trailers are taller than towing vehicles, they may not be able to drive into gas stations or low bridges.
2. Adjust your mirrors
Before driving, you need to make sure you can see the end of the trailer clearly in your side view mirrors. If it is never possible to see the end, then you need to have an extra pair of mirrors that will extend and widen your field of view.
3. Keep distance and allow space
As the weight of your vehicle increases, the time it takes to stop grows as well. So, when towing, you need to maintain a greater distance from the front vehicle and start braking earlier.
Trailer means that the overall length of the car is longer and the trailer’s wheels will be closer to the inside of the turn than the wheels of the towing vehicle. This causes you to allow more room when turning and cornering to prevent the vehicle from hitting the curb.
4. Distribute the weight correctly
First you need to make sure the hitch ball on the tow hitch is the same size on the trailer. If the size is incorrect, it could lead to a trailer accident.
Then comes the distribution of weight. The tongue weight of a conventional hitch trailer should be 10% – 15% of the total weight. And about 60% of the weight of the load should be loaded on the front half of the trailer and evenly distributed on the sides.
5. Spare tire
Always make sure that your trailer has a spare tire, which will ensure that your journey goes smoothly and you don’t get stuck on the side of the road.
In addition to this, you need to check the tire pressure before you drive. Under-inflated tires will create more rolling resistance and consume more fuel. It will also increase the temperature of the tire leading to a blowout.
This is the most important point. Before driving on the road, it is best to practice driving the trailer in an open and less vehicular area. In particular, acceleration, reversing, braking, large turns and the use of side mirrors.
7. Check the brakes and lights
If the load is light, no more than 1,000 pounds, the trailer will not need brakes. If it exceeds this range, then you need to clarify with the trailer manufacturer before you purchase the trailer that if the trailer has brakes. 1,000 pounds are not absolute and will need to be determined by your local regulations.
The lights on the trailer are equally important. Large loads may obscure the taillights on your trailer, or when the taillights are not on, other drivers may not be able to see your vehicle, resulting in a car accident. Therefore, you need to check carefully before you hit the road.
If you are driving a boat trailer. Then you need to disconnect the trailer from the towing vehicle before backing it into the water to avoid possible electrical problems.