Towing a trailer, a caravan or another vehicle can be a great way to get a large load from point A to B; however, in order to do so safely both you and your vehicle need to be well prepared. Here we will take a brief look at a few of the essential elements of safety first towing.
Know your limits
Towing more than your vehicle was designed to handle is extremely dangerous and can cause a huge amount of damage to your vehicle, so before you even consider towing anything first find out what your vehicle and its hitch was built to accommodate. Your vehicle’s manual will usually contain details relating to its towing capacity and your hitch will often have its load limit stamped directly onto it. Be sure that you know exactly what your load weighs as well, even if this means weighing each item individually before you load it.
The way you pack your trailer will have a significant impact on how easy it is to tow and ideally 60% of the weight should be at the front of your trailer and 40% at the rear. You should also pack in such a way that your load can’t move around while you are driving, so be sure to tie down anything that could potentially come loose.
Everything from starting and stopping to changing lanes takes a lot longer when you have a heavy weight behind you; therefore, you are best to take your time. Indicate well before changing lanes so other drivers know what you are doing; allow plenty of time to slow down before stopping, and avoid making any fast, sharp or jerky movements as this can cause the trailer to jackknife. Travelling when the traffic is lightest is also a good idea, as this will mean you won’t feel pressured to drive faster than is safe to do so.
Check your vitals at every stop
Make sure that your trailer is safely attached to your vehicle by carefully inspecting your hitch and those connecting chains every time you stop. Keep a close eye on your tires as well, because the weight of the trailer can cause tires to lose pressure faster than normal which will impact everything from your vehicle’s handling to its fuel efficiency. Don’t forget about your electrical systems either, as it is crucial that your various lights and indicators are working well back there.
Practice makes perfect
It will take a while to get used to the feeling of having a heavy weight attached to the back of your vehicle, so if you will be towing for the first time do a few short practice trips before taking on a longer mission. Reversing with a trailer attached can be particularly challenging though it will become easier every time you do so.
If you are looking for a new ride to do your towing with this year, head to your nearest Revolution Auto Group dealership. Our highly trained staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have and we have Alberta’s best new and used vehicles right here waiting for you.