Before setting of on a journey towing your trailer, it’s important to remember that it’s very different to driving an individual vehicle. Although the basic skills are the same, there are many more things to watch out for when towing your trailer. See some of our tips below to make your journey run smoothly:
- Use Your Passengers as Spotters
During a maneuver (and particularly when reversing), it’s ideal to use your passengers as spotters to help guide you – taking advantage of a line of vision that you cannot see from the driver’s seat. Confirm a set of hand signals, or even communicate via 2-way radio if your view of the spotter will be obstructed. Make sure the spotter is aware of overhead obstacles (hanging trees, signs etc.) as well as ground level obstructions.
- Keep in Control of The Vehicle When Driving
Remember to drive in a smooth and controlled manner when towing a trailer. Try not to make any sudden swerves or lane changes. Be aware of the trailer’s movement – if you feel it swaying aggressively you can gently push on the brakes to slow down and allow it to straighten up in place. Load heavier cargo at the front of your trailer to further help reduce any swaying motion. When approaching corners be conscious of clipping the curb – turn slightly later to square the curve.
- Practice Trailer Maneuvers in An Open Space
It can take a while to be confident when controlling your trailer, so practicing in a wide area is the perfect way of preparing for a journey. As well as reversing and parking, it’s worth practicing pulling off and then back out of the side of an empty road safely.
- Do Full Inspections Before Setting Off
Aswell as the usual vehicle safety checks, make sure your trailer is safely hitched to your vehicle. Check the air pressure of your tires – these will need to be pumped sufficiently to deal with the heavier load. If you have a spare wheel attached to the outside of your trailer, check this is secured safely, and any light reflectors are cleaned to ensure visibility.
- Make Regular Stops for Checks
Even when secured loads will regularly shift, so it’s important to make regular stops to check and refasten any moving cargo. Take these breaks as an opportunity to perform other important checks, like the hitching of your trailer to your vehicle and a general walk-around inspection.
- Leave Extra Room Between Vehicles
When driving, try and leave extra room between yourself and the vehicle in-front to allow for the additional momentum the trailer’s weight will give your vehicle when moving. When braking, the extra weight will give resistance, causing you to travel further.
To learn more about towing trailers, and increase your confidence on the road, check out our full range of courses, or get in touch with one of our friendly team today.