How many times have you seen a towing vehicle down the road? Not sure? Probably more than what you can remember but, the truth is that many people don´t stop to think about the know-hows of towing a vehicle or even consider the option until they have to make a long trip. That´s when things start to get all confusing, and everything is done wrong. So, before you meet disaster, you better get familiar with towing safety tips.
We all know the words: “Safety Comes First,” but do we really stop to think why? Moreover, have you ever thought about towing safety? Maybe you haven´t given this much thought, but I´m sure you have seen a towing trailer, at least once in your life, and have clutched the wheel a little higher, hoping to pass the trailer without any accident. There is one good reason for getting this feeling, and that my friends is called: Protection, which is something, we, human beings cannot help. The problem is that most of the time we are completely clueless of safety rules, and, people ignore more things about towing a vehicle than what they think they know.
If you do decide to head out on the road with your car or boat behind you, follow these towing tips and don´t forget to make a trailer towing checklist to ensure you don´t miss anything and have a fun road trip.
Trailer Towing Checklist
- Tow Capacities: How much can your vehicle tow? There are towing limits for every truck, SUV, and car, ranging from a hundred to thousands of pounds. Calculate how much weight you are going to carry or plan to carry, and calculate how much weight your trailer can pull, that way you will prevent many accidents but, for further details, please check specific weight ratings with the vehicle’s manufacturer.
- Trailer Conditions: Make sure your trailer is in good condition; that means checking the tires for loose air pressure, check regulations on the state you are going to travel and see if your trailer is in good shape for making the trip.
- Check the Wheels: Check if your trailer is a four-wheel drive or two-wheel drive. The first difference you have to consider is Four by Four vehicles are typically used for all-terrains while two-wheel drives, although suitable for rough terrains, are not meant for all of them. If you wish you have details, and you should, take a look at the manufacturer manual and see what type of vehicle you have, and if it is the right one for this particular job.
- Flatbed trailer: You can always use a flatbed trailer, and hook the trailer to the tow vehicle, this way the wheels will not touch the ground when pulled, and, it will be easier to manage. The last thing you need is getting things complicated, towing a vehicle is complex as it is, and it just doesn´t need more things to make the job harder.
- Tow Dolly: In case you don’t have a trailer, you can use a tow bar or a tow dolly to connect the car to the tow vehicle. This is trailer fortified with one or three axles, which are designed to connect to a tow bar.
- Sync Up: Your must have the right lighting kits, brake system, and turn signals in order to let people know when the two vehicles are slowing down. For extra safety precautions, you will need parking lights or extra reflectors but, remember that these precautions serve legal purposes as well.
- Driving while Towing: What could possibly ensure more safety than knowing how to drive properly? If you’ve never hauled a vehicle before, I strongly recommend practicing in an open space. A parking lot is a good place for doing this; there you can work on how to slow down, how to turn and back up, and how to put the right amount of pressure to the gas pedal.
- Go Slow: Drivers love speed but, remember you are not driving just a car you are towing a vehicle so, you should start off slowly and keep the same speed. It will be harder to stop the vehicle and the car you are towing if you are going fast.
- Avoid Damage: Do no put too much pressure on your tow vehicle, it will, over time, cause damage.
- Coverage Capacity: This safety precaution will avoid you big trouble. Insurance is real important. If you get your vehicle insured, you can get coverage for your trailer in case of any accident including personal effects replacement, funds for lodging (when the trailer is damaged,) total loss recovery, and possibly a full-timers package. Check your insurance and make sure which type will suit your specific needs.
- Mirror, mirror: Select the right mirrors that ensure you to have visibility behind the tow vehicle. Why? Because you need to take turns and change lanes safely, and also be able to see a car that approaches on both sides.
- Go the Distance: Pull over and rest. After you´ve driven a long distance, (10 and 25 miles,) check connections to ensure it is all tight and secure. Tight everything again, if you follow these tips, you will ensure safety for other drivers, passengers (if you have any,) and yourself.
There are many towing vehicles you can choose in the market. Their towing capacities vary from model, year, and make. This is the first thing on the trailer towing checklist, from this first step depends the rest of your safety tips. It is important to remember all of this before you start your list. Be always ready and remember: “Safety Comes First.
Do you have any tips that are not listed here? Do your next vacation plans include towing? What are your safety precautions? Share your safety towing tips (if you have any,) it´s always good to hear what others have to say.
Make sure you have a quality electronic brake controller to ensure safety when braking.