Driving Tips for Towing a Trailer Safely
October 22nd, 2020 by Fix Auto USA
Towing a trailer can be challenging, regardless of your driving expertise. But, if you dedicate time, resources, and energy to learn how to drive with a trailer, you can limit the risk of accidents and collisions.
Why Is Safe Towing Important?
Safe towing is crucial — if you want to avoid towing accidents and collisions, you need to consider several risks, including:
If your trailer blocks your view, it will be impossible to switch lanes, make turns, and maneuver your vehicle safely. Thus, you need full visibility around your vehicle when you tow a trailer.
Use the right equipment to connect your trailer to your vehicle. Review your vehicle’s owner’s manual, so you know exactly how much weight your vehicle can tow — and do not exceed this weight. If you use a trailer that has a hitch and coupler, ensure all of the associated parts fit together, too.
Some vehicles are not rated for towing. If you try to tow a trailer with one of these vehicles, you can cause serious damage to the vehicle’s transmission, engine, brake system, and suspension.
How to Tow a Trailer: What You Need to Know
Before you tow a trailer, you need the right vehicle for the task at hand. If you are searching for the right vehicle for towing a trailer, here are factors you need to consider:
Four-wheel-drive trucks and SUVs are great options for towing trailers. However, heavy trucks and SUVs tend to have a lower towing capacity in contrast to other tow-rated vehicles.
A tow-rated vehicle with an extended wheelbase may provide you with better control over your trailer than other options.
3. Axle Ratio
There is a direct correlation between a vehicle’s axle ratio and its pulling power — the higher the axle ratio, the better the pulling power. Comparatively, if you choose a tow-rated vehicle with a low axle ratio, you can enjoy better fuel economy
Towing a Trailer Tips
Some of the best things you can do to tow a trailer safely include:
1. Choose the Right Trailer Hitch
There are five classes of trailer hitches, and they enable a vehicle to tow different levels of weight safely. Purchase a trailer hitch that accounts for your car, as well as the size and weight of your trailer. That way, you can ensure that your trailer consistently stays attached to your vehicle — and minimize the risk of causing a trailer accident or collision.
2. Ensure the Hitch Ball and Trailer Match
Use the correct hitch ball for your trailer. The hitch ball offers an attachment point for your trailer’s coupler and ensures your trailer can pivot for smooth turning. Therefore, failure to match the hitch ball to your trailer can make it difficult to turn safely and increase your risk of an accident or collision.
3. Leverage Safety Chains
Utilize safety chains and cross them when you hook them up to the hitch. By crossing your safety chains, you can create a cradle for your trailer if it inadvertently gets disconnected from your vehicle. This cradle can help prevent your trailer from digging into the pavement, as well as lower the risk of an accident or collision.
4. Assess Your Trailer
Check the tire pressure on both your vehicle and your trailer before you depart. Also, verify the lug nuts on your trailer and vehicle are tightened to the proper torque. You should inspect your trailer’s electrical wiring system to ensure it is connected to your vehicle, too. With these measures, you can correct safety issues that otherwise could lead to an accident or collision.
Take the necessary precautions, and you’ll be well-equipped to avoid accidents and collisions any time you travel with a trailer.
This blog post was contributed by Fix Auto Montrose, a leading industry expert and collision repair shop servicing the Los Angeles area.
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