As the weather gets warmer, it’s a good time to review towing safety. Whether you’re towing a boat, camper, horse trailer, ATV, tractor, or anything else on a trailer, there are some basics that should be considered. Drivers are held responsible for damage caused due to failure to maintain equipment or improper trailering, so it is important to take the necessary precautions for the safety of yourself and others.
Check Towing Capacity
Before pulling a trailer, make sure that your vehicle is strong enough to pull what you are towing. Check the towing ratings supplied by the vehicle manufacturer, which can usually be found in the owner’s manual or via a quick Google search.
Make sure that all of your equipment is working properly. Your trailer probably has electric brakes and lights; connect them to your towing vehicle via a wired connector on or below the rear bumper so that they can be controlled by the brakes of the vehicle to alert other drivers to your stops and turns. Many trucks include or can be upgraded to a towing package, which means that the trailer connection is incorporated into the vehicle’s electrical and braking system. Once the trailer and towing vehicle are connected, check to make sure that the lights and brake lights on the trailer come on when the lights and brake light on the towing vehicle come on.
Check the brakes. If there isn’t enough braking pressure, you will not be able to stop, and if there is too much pressure, you may damage the trailer or hitch when braking. Inspect the trailer tires to be sure that they have enough air and are secure.
Check the trailer hitch and tongue to be sure that they are in good working order. Most have a connector that is fitted over the ball on the hitch and locks into place using a latch or lever; be sure to utilize a lock or clip to make sure that the latch is secure and prevent it from popping off while the vehicle is in motion. Make sure you are using the right hitch for the load you are hauling.
Using your trailer should be a safe and easy experience. Proper maintenance and regularly checking equipment can go a long way towards keeping everyone around you safe and keeping your equipment from being unnecessarily damaged.
Check the blog next month for part two: tips for safe driving while trailering.
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.