Safe Towing Tips for Your Next Road Trip

Safe Towing Tips for Your Next Road Trip

If you are planning to tow a trailer or RV on your next road trip, you better be prepared. Towing a vehicle needs some special driving skills to stay safe on the road. There are many other things that need to be looked at for a safe journey. Here are useful towing tips for your next road trip.

Choosing the Right Tow Vehicle

There are a number of things to be considered when choosing a tow vehicle. Incorrect combination of tow vehicle and trailer not only increases the risk of accidents but it will also attract hefty fines in some states. In general, some large utility vehicles and heavier SUVs can be an ideal tow vehicle. The owner’s manual of the tow vehicle gives clear towing specifications. You need to compare the towing capacity of the vehicle and the combined weight of the trailer. The larger the margin between maximum towing capacity and combined weight, the better it is for safe towing.

Maintenance and Repairs

It is necessary that the tow vehicle and the trailer are in optimal condition for your road trip. Towing puts additional stress on the tow vehicle’s engine and you need to pay attention to the maintenance, getting any repairs done before hitting the road. The most important thing to do is check the fluid levels like the engine oil since it’s the most important. With the engine under stress most of the time due to the additional load of the trailer, it is more likely to overheat. You need to check the engine oil before venturing out and if the engine oil has turned black, your car needs an oil change. Similarly, pay attention to the transmission fluid, brake oil, radiator coolant and ensure that the recommended levels are maintained.

The tires of both the trailer and tow vehicle should have the recommended air pressure and there should be no cracks or signs of damage. Also, the trailer lights should be functioning properly, especially the brake lights and turn indicator lights. The wheel bearings of the trailer wheel should be greased properly to avoid excessive friction and prevent irregular wear and tear of the tires.

Loading a Trailer

The way a trailer is loaded goes a long way in keeping you safe on the road. According to experts, the trailer should be heavier in the front and 60% of the load should be on the front axle of the trailer. The load inside the trailer should be secure with tie-downs and ropes to ensure the stability of the trailer while moving.

Hauling a Trailer

Hauling a trailer safely, especially with less practice, can be a difficult thing to do. When you are towing, everything changes including how the vehicle and trailer respond differently to acceleration, deceleration and braking. Everything becomes extended. For example, the braking distance increases and you cannot push the brakes hard like you can do with normal driving. Turning your vehicle with the trailer attached needs a different approach as well. You need to take a wide turn to ensure the trailer does not hit road signs or trees on the road. You also need to keep your foot on the brake pedal for a longer period than usual to allow the trailer braking system to work and bring the trailer to halt.