Safety should be your priority when towing something. Ideally, you should focus on keeping yourself, your passengers, your trailer or vehicle, and other road users safe. Therefore, knowing practical towing safety tips is vital when planning to tow anything. This blog post lists practical safety tips to follow when towing anything.
Know Your Hauling Capacity
Before doing anything, review your specific vehicle’s towing capacity. Ensure that your vehicle can handle your trailer’s weight. If you exceed the maximum hauling capacity, you can experience dangerous handling or insufficient brake performance. Also, you can damage the vehicle’s engine, suspension, or drivetrain. Additionally, ensure the trailer hitch can handle the trailer’s load weight. Hitches have the maximum tongue and trailer weights on their labels.
Ensure Proper Weight Distribution
Appropriate weight distribution on the trailer is another vital towing tip. Aim to have about 60% of the total weight at the trailer’s nose and 40% at the rear. That way, you ensure the towing equipment doesn’t have excessive weight. Also, you ensure the trailer doesn’t pull upwards on the towing vehicle’s rear.
Improper weight distribution can cause swaying of the trailer while towing. Typically, this happens when towing at a high speed and it is among the primary causes of accidents. Therefore, ensure even weight distribution on the left and right, forward and backward. Regarding vertical weight distribution, keep it as low as possible to lower the trailer’s gravity center, reducing the risk of tipping when turning.
Check the tires for your trailer and tow vehicle. Improperly inflated tires can affect handling. Underinflated tires create additional rolling resistance, forcing the engine to work more and use more fuel. Also, it increases temperatures and possible blowouts. Therefore, check the tire pressure labor and ensure the correct inflation pressures. Additionally, check the trailer and tow vehicle’s speed rating for the tires, and avoid exceeding it while towing.
Lighter or smaller trailers may not require brakes. However, heavier trailers that carry heavier loads have a brake system. Most trailers weighing over 2,000 pounds have brakes. Whether a trailer has electric brakes or hydraulic surge brakes, ensure proper attachment of the emergency “breakaway” cable to the tow vehicle. This cable triggers the trailer brakes if the trailer disconnects from your hitch, bringing it to a stop.
Monitor the Trailer
The trailer may look okay when starting the towing journey. However, this doesn’t guarantee you it will be okay throughout the journey. Vibration and bumps can make the straps loose. Items can move around during the journey. Therefore, look behind once in a while to ensure everything is in proper condition. If you notice an issue, please stop and fix it before it escalates.
Adjusting the side mirrors when taking off will give you a clear view extending to the trailer’s end. You may have a vehicle with specific mirrors for towing that expand the vision field. Following these towing safety tips can help you avoid accidents and arrive at your destination on time. Follow them to ensure your safety and peace of mind, regardless of what you're towing.