Driving a car is different compared to driving while towing a trailer. This more or less boils down to physics. Since you are driving on the road, not knowing the difference and safely and acting accordingly can literally mean the difference between life and death. In this article, you will learn a few crucial tips on how to drive safely while towing a trailer.
Start With A Checklist
The first thing you need to do is make a comprehensive checklist. You want to fill this checklist of everything you need to check before embarking on a trip. This checklist does not include pre-trip servicing and check-ups. And yes, you must have servicing and check-ups for long trips to ensure everything is in the green. The last thing you want is to experience a preventable problem, rendering you stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Lock Down As Much As You Can
Their are many type of trailers on the market and each has a different purpose. Ramco Trailers in Melbourne know a thing or two about the trailer business. We recommend you check out their full range if you’re in the market to purchase a new trailer. The nice thing about having a trailer is that you get to bring plenty of comforts to your destination, like appliances. However, since you are moving, there’s a tendency that loose items get dropped or thrown around, causing damage. Hence, lockdown everything as much as you can to prevent such misfortunes. Any items that you can’t lockdown, secure it in a cabinet or container. Everything in that trailer is going rattle and shake when you’re doing 100km/hr up and down the Hume Highway, for instance.
Be Aware Of Your Concentration
When towing a trailer, you’ll usually drive slower. As a result, it’s easy to fall into the temptation of neglecting your concentration. This is a big mistake.
Towing can be very draining as there are many variables that you need to consider at almost every moment. You need to assess your speed continually. It would help if you also had the proper distance to give you plenty of breaking space. Also, it would help if you considered the trailer sway when going through curves. These and all other factors can cause fatigue faster. Driving while being fatigued can increase your risk. Furthermore, the risk is compounded as you are towing something that’s relatively very heavy.
Hence, you should always be aware of your concentration level. As a preventative measure, always take a break from driving every two hours. Caffeine may help but never skip on your breaks. If you are on a multi-day trip, make sure that you get ample rest.
Another skill that can significantly increase your safety while driving is anticipation. This skill applies even if you are not towing. But since your risk is increased significantly when towing, you need to increase your anticipation skills further. When driving while towing, your anticipation skills should be geared towards scanning potential obstacles like:
- Electric poles on the road
- Wildlife both near and on the road
- Vehicles with wide loads
Another thing you need to anticipate is the potential speed of the vehicle in front of you. Will the vehicle in front accelerate or decelerate? This is to ensure that you’ll always have that five seconds gap between you and the vehicle in front. The gap is to ensure that you have enough breaking room.
Beware Of Large Trucks
When driving while towing, you’d want to stay clear from large trucks as much as possible. The reason for this is because of the wind buffeting caused by large trucks. Usually, this factor does not affect vehicles that much because of their size and center of gravity. When you are towing, you are practically dragging a wall behind you that significantly catches wind-related factors.
In other words, the wind buffering from trucks can cause your vehicle to sway. To avoid this increased risk, move away from a truck that’s passing by. If you cannot move far enough, it’s best to ease on the accelerator and be prepared for the wind buffeting.
Another wind-related factor that you need to be careful of is when going through high-wind areas. The same rules apply; steer clear from gust as much as possible. Or, ease on the accelerator if you can’t avoid it.
If ever the vehicle does sway, then you should slow down. After the wind buffeting effect, apply your electric brake override and give the vehicle some throttle. This should allow your car and the trailer to straighten out.
Wrapping It All Up
If you are new to driving with a trailer, it’s crucial to understand that it’s not the same as driving with a regular car. Because of the added weight and the center of gravity being moved, the vehicle behaves differently. Hence, you should do what you can to reduce the increased risk as much as possible, and the tips mentioned above should be an excellent starting point.