Safety Tips for Towing a Trailer

Contrary to popular belief, towing a trailer is a lot more difficult than most people realize. For those who think it’s as simple as hitching up the trailer and driving off; you’re in for big surprise. Trailer safety depends on several factors including but not limited to the length and weight of the trailer.

Before you begin towing a trailer you need to consider the weight of the trailer as well as the weight of the cargo to ensure proper trailer safety. Make sure you’re tow vehicle is capable of towing both the trailer and the cargo. A general rule of thumb for tow vehicles would be if a vehicle had a towing capacity of 5000 pounds than a load of up to 4500 is acceptable. This will alleviate over stressing your vehicles engine and transmission.

Proper maintenance of your utility trailer and tow vehicle is crucial when towing a trailer as well. The trailer’s tires should all be of the same type, size and construction. When purchasing trailer tires it’s important to refer to the manufacturer’s specifications for selecting the proper size, type and load range. An improperly sized tire will make controlling the trailer extremely difficult. It’s also important to make sure your tow vehicle tires are properly inflated as well. Regular maintenance of your trailer and tow vehicle tires are an important part of trailer safety.

Towing a Trailer, Trailer Safety

Before departing it’s always important to check the trailer wiring and braking systems not just for your safety but for the safety of other drivers as well. Make sure the trailer brake lights and running lights are all functioning properly before departing. In addition, if you’re trailer is equipped with a braking system, make sure there is enough fluid and test the brakes before towing a trailer.

One of the most important factors in controlling your trailer once you’re under way is to make sure the load is properly balanced on the trailer. Having too much weight on the tongue or the rear of the trailer will cause a lurching motion when accelerating or braking. On the contrary, having too much weight on either side of the trailer will cause the trailer to sway and pitch when executing turns.

Of course towing a trailer can be difficult for a driver with little experience. It’s extremely important to understand the dynamics of making a turn or reversing direction with a trailer. When reversing, it’s helpful to remember that the trailer will move in the opposite direction that you turn the wheel. Also, slight corrections with the wheel will yield dramatic results in moving the trailer left or right. It’s also important to remember to take turns extra wide when towing a trailer to avoid potential accidents.

Practicing good trailer safety is an important part of towing any object, whether it’s material, a car, a boat, or a pressure power washer. Proper maintenance for your tow vehicle and trailer combined with safe driving will make towing a trailer a safe experience for yourself and everybody around you.


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