You may find yourself hauling a boat, camper, horse trailer, or similar object this summer. Since hauling a trailer puts you and those around you at a higher risk if an accident should occur, it’s important to remember some general tips for maintaining safety while trailering.
Practice Makes Perfect
Spend some time practicing driving with the trailer on smaller roads or in parking lots before moving to the main road. This will allow you to get a feel for how the vehicle handles with the heavier load and gives you the opportunity to see how braking and other basic functions of the vehicle change with the attached trailer.
Even if you are experienced with hauling a trailer, take the time to remind yourself of the essentials and don’t allow yourself to be lulled into a false sense of comfort, which can lead to distracted driving.
General Safety Tips
- Drive with care and at moderate speeds.
- Make wider turns to avoid hitting curbs or hydrants.
- Use the gear recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer for towing.
- Decrease the vehicle’s speed at railroad crossings and on bumpy roads.
- Avoid making sudden stops and starts.
- Have someone outside of the vehicle guide you when backing up if possible. When backing up, do some slowing. Adjust the trailer’s direction with slight movements of the steering wheel.
- Allow more distance for braking and coming to a complete stop.
- When going downhill, apply brakes at intervals to help keep the vehicle’s speed where it should be. Don’t brake consistently as it may lead to overheating.
- Utilize blocks at the front and rear of trailer tires to make sure the trailer doesn’t get away from you when it is removed from the vehicle. Prevent injury by placing jack stands under the rear of the trailer before removing it from the hauling vehicle.
Educating yourself about the trailer and towing vehicle before driving it can mean the difference between life and death. Trailering safely is important for keeping everyone safe on the road.
If you or someone you know has experienced a towing or trailering accident, contact the lawyers at Schuerman Law to learn what insurance coverage is available to you and your family. Schedule your free consultation today at 800-274-0045.
Special thanks to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.