10 Must-Know Towing Tips
Towing an Airstream or other vehicles presents a number of challenges for drivers. People who are unprepared can encounter many issues while on the road. Some aspects of driving while towing are not intuitive. There are 10 must-know towing tips all drivers should understand.
No Sharp Braking
The weight and momentum of a heavy trailer makes it very dangerous to brake sharply while on the road. Drivers need to brake much more slowly than usual when towing a trailer. This means slowly applying the brakes by pumping the pedal several times until the vehicle stops.
Do Not Steer To Counteract Swaying
The instinct of some drivers who are not used to towing a heavy load is to counteract the swaying of the trailer by turning the vehicle. This is not the correct thing to do. If a trailer is swaying, drivers need to slow the vehicle down without turning until it stops.
Extend and Adjust Side Mirrors
Trailers create blind spots around a vehicle and block any direct rear view. Drivers should extend the side mirrors on the vehicle as far out as possible to compensate for this.
Practice before a Trip
Drivers will want to practice driving while towing before leaving on a long trip. Practicing should involve simple turning, accelerating and breaking in a place with no traffic. This will provide a much better feel of how the vehicle and the trailer will handle.
Leave Extra Space between Vehicles
Drivers should always leave extra space in front of the vehicle while on the road to compensate for longer stopping times. This should include when driving on city streets. Similarly, drivers should always leave extra space to the right and left when passing a slower car.
Drive Slower Than Normal
High speeds can cause a trailer to start swaying uncontrollably on highways. High speeds also make it more difficult to turn and stop. Drivers should keep speeds below the marked limits on highways for maximum safety.
Avoid Driving In Reverse
Drivers should avoid putting the vehicle and the trailer in situations where moving in reverse is necessary. Driving in reverse with a trailer is very difficult and dangerous. Drivers will have an easier time avoiding these situations.
Bring Extra Tools and Repair Supplies
Towing puts more wear on cars than usual. Drivers should bring along extra tools and supplies for repairs. This should include spare tires and an emergency kit. Bringing extra tools and supplies will make handling roadside emergencies easier.
Do Not Make Sharp Turns
Sharp turns will cause trailers to start to sway. Heavy trailers could even drag the leading vehicle off course. All turns need to be gently and gradual. Drivers should avoid routes that include tight turns.
Use Wheel Blocks When Parking On an Incline
If it is necessary to park on an incline, drivers should use wheel blocks or chucks. Even a very slight incline could be enough to cause the trailer to start rolling. Wheel blocks will keep the trailer stable.