Safety guidelines that will allow motorists to tow a trailer or vehicle effectively are not something that should be taken lightly. Drivers who lack experience towing a vehicle or operating a car or truck under load are far more likely to find themselves involved in a collision or other accident. The following tips can all ensure that novice and seasoned drivers alike are able to tow a trailer or vehicle safely and without issue.
Avoiding Excess Weight
Attempting to tow loads that are too heavy can lead to no end of problems and concerns. Engines, drive trains and trailers that are subject to excessive weight and stress are far more likely to experience a mechanical failure, some of which may be potentially dangerous if they occur while on the road. Excessive weight can also have a negative impact on a vehicle’s handling, performance or breaking characteristics which could result in a potential safety hazard. Vehicle manuals often contain information regarding how much weight a car or truck may be able to safely tow
Inspecting Tire Pressure and Lighting
Tires that have not been inflated to the proper level and lighting that is not able to function properly are two of the most common issues that lead to towing accidents. Vehicle handling can vary considerably while attempting to tow a load and tires that are either over- or under-inflated will only compound the issue. Additional issues may stem from trailer-wiring harnesses and towing lights that have been improperly installed, connected or that may be otherwise unable to function effectively. Turn signals, break-lights and tail lights should all be tested and inspected prior to towing.
Safe Breaking While Towing
Vehicles should be given additional time and space to break safely when towing a trailer. The additional weight being towed created more momentum that a vehicle’s breaking system may struggle to arrest. Additional concerns may be caused due to the side to side motion of a load during a breaking maneuver. Drivers would be wise to test break performance at lower speeds in order to ensure that they will be able to break safely when towing a load.
Practice Driving Under Load
Among the many tips that can help inexperienced drivers to learn how to tow trailers and vehicles more safely is to practice driving under load. Vehicles often handle very differently than drivers are used to and even parking can pose unique challenges for those who are towing for the first time. Attaching a trailer or hooking up a tow vehicle in an empty parking lot or other open space can provide drivers with the room they need to practice safe towing and to get a better feel for how a vehicle will respond while under load.