Is towing a trailer something you do on a regular basis? If your answer is yes, it’s necessary to be aware of the additional safety measures you need to take in order to prevent accidents. Not only do you need knowledge of the relevant safety procedures, you also need superior driving capabilities. Read our blog to discover how you can tow a trailer safely.
Whether you decide to rent or buy a trailer, it’s important to know how to use it safely. If you don’t have experience pulling a trailer, it’s advisable to find an empty field or car park to practice in. This allows you to practice manoeuvring the vehicle with the trailer as well as to test the braking without creating a hazard on the road. The issues that the driver can expect to navigate when towing a trailer include decreased acceleration as well as impaired manoeuvrability. Towing also has a negative impact on the vehicle control and the brakes.
Make sure your trailer is roadworthy
In order for you to legally tow your trailer on public roads, it’s important to check that it’s roadworthy. Not only will this contribute to the safety of road users, it will also ensure that you are in compliance with the law. An understanding of the road traffic legislation with regard to towing trailers is important. The legal regulations can vary between countries so if you’re going on holiday across the border, make sure that you check the regulations of the country that you’re visiting. You’ll need to check the manufacturer’s guidelines for both your vehicle and your trailer. These guidelines will provide you with useful information on how to safely tow your trailer, including the weight limitations. Before you use your trailer, make sure that the tyres are in good condition. Check the tread depth and look for signs of uneven wear. It’s also advisable to make sure that the trailer brake lights and turn signals are working. The brake couplings should be properly lubricated and the oil, water, and brake fluid should be checked regularly. The back number plate should be clearly visible when you’re travelling on public roads.
Understanding the relevant terminology
If you own a trailer, there are a few important concepts that you are required to know. It’s important not to exceed the towing capacity of your vehicle. The towing capacity refers to the maximum trailer weight that is safe for your vehicle to handle. Another key concept is the tongue weight, which refers to the weight that the trailer places on the tow hitch. The mass of a trailer, with its maximum load capacity, is referred to as the aggregate trailer mass. The gross combination weight training includes the trailer’s maximum weight as well as the weight of the vehicle. The unbraked towing capacity refers to trailers that don’t have their own braking system while the braked towing capacity refers to trailers whose braking systems are linked to the vehicle.
Safely loading your trailer
A vital aspect of trailer safety includes knowing how to load your trailer. Overloading puts your own safety and the safety of other road users at risk. Check the towing capacity of your vehicle and make sure that you don’t exceed it. Check the tongue weight and adjust the weight distribution of the load accordingly. While adhering to the manufacturer’s guidelines on weight limitations is crucial, you’ll also need to consider other aspects of loading your trailer. Make sure that the weight of the load is evenly distributed to avoid the danger of trailer sway. The centre of gravity should fall slightly closer to the front of the trailer. Once you’re done, secure the load properly to stop the weight from becoming unevenly distributed. Fasten down the load using ropes and straps as well as a cover if necessary.
Driving safely with a trailer
Driving with a trailer requires high levels of concentration, which means that you shouldn’t tow a trailer when you’re tired. If you’re heading off on a road trip, make sure that you take regular breaks. You can also take this opportunity to inspect your trailer to ensure that everything is in working order. Planning your trip properly will help you to stay safe while you’re on the road. Look for places to stop along your route and avoid trips during bad weather conditions. You may want to consider stopping at a guest house halfway to your destination on longer trips.
Now that you know more about towing a trailer, you can enjoy higher levels of safety when you’re travelling on the road. Whether you’re using a trailer for the first time or you’re more experienced, it’s beneficial to have a comprehensive understanding of road safety. If your current trailer does not meet the safety standards or you think it’s time for a new one, head on over to Truck & Trailer to see what’s available.