Towing a Car Trailer

As with driving a truck, before you tow a trailer of any kind, evaluate your driving experience and knowledge of towing. If you do decide to tow a trailer, again ask for and read any advice from an experienced driver or your rental company. The following tips will also help:

  • Use your seat belt and require that passengers use theirs.

  • Set your mirrors and use them often.

  • Test your brakes. It will take longer to stop with the added weight.

  • Your tires may need extra inflation to carry the load. Check your manual or ask at your tire store.

  • Watch your radiator indicator. Your car could overheat with the extra weight to pull.

  • Check the hitch before you start driving after a rest stop to be sure safety chains and latches are secure.

  • Avoid backing up, if possible. Think ahead and plan your stops so that you don't have to back out, even if it means walking further.

  • If you must back up, place your hands on the bottom of the wheel at approximately 4 and 8 o'clock instead of 2 and 10 o'clock, gripping the wheel from the inside, and go slowly. This technique lets you steer the trailer and your car as if you were steering just your car.

  • Rely on a spotter to back up. Agree on signals.

  • Remind the spotter that if he or she can't see the driver in the mirror, the driver can't see the spotter.

  • Most folks get nervous and agitated when backing a trailer or helping someone back it. Be gentle with each other.

 
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