Towing and Reversing a Trailer


A trailer that is being towed can be compared to a small child as it needs a lot of attention too. It can’t ever be neglected or left to its own devices. Failure to provide adequate attention is asking for trouble. When properly loaded, it’s easy to tow. But when incorrectly done, this can become a nightmare.

A trailer has to have its own separate registration papers. It also needs to be hitched correctly to the towing vehicle. The coupling has to be secured before ever starting out with the load. When properly loaded, a trailer will provide superior performance. This means keeping the heaviest part of the load in the middle — over the axles. When put in the front, the trailer will tend to tip down in front and cause the towing vehicle to appear back heavy. On the other hand, a heavy weight at the rear will raise the front and cause the car to lose traction with the road.

The towing vehicle has to be able to pull the load easily. The tow bar has a large influence on how much weight can be pulled, and this must be greater than the combined trailer and load. For very heavy loads, it might not be wise to use a family vehicle. A smaller load or larger truck is the right option when in doubt. Much of this information can be found online.

When driving with a trailer, there are certain guidelines to follow. It is smart to take a test drive first. A trip of about one kilometer is a good barometer as to whether the load is balanced properly and can be ready for the long haul. It can then be reset on the trailer in order to stop any kind of swaying during the trip. Most drivers will want to watch the rear view mirror to keep an eye on the load. As long as everything is stabile, then the trip should continue.

It is important to realize that there is additional length when towing a trailer. This means that some of the normal driving patterns have to be adjusted, such as turning corners. And when entering a narrow portion of the road, the car and trailer need to be lined up in a neat row.

When towing a trailer, there is additional momentum to think about also. The car won’t stop quite as quickly when towing something this large. It is very important to lengthen braking distances. The rule of thumb should be to think in terms of 3 here. Allow at least 3 times the normal stopping distance with a trailer.

If the trailer sways on the road, it is important not to hit the brakes. Drivers should slow down by letting up on the gas. And keep both hands on the wheel. Steering should be kept to a minimum. Excessive movement can make the situation worse. It is also a good idea to drop into a lower gear when doing downhill.

Always avoid lane changes or sudden movements with a trailer. To avoid a jack-knife trailer the brakes should be applied gently. Most drivers are typically courteous on the road. This is especially important when pulling a trailer.

In order to reverse a trailer, it is important to think in reverse, since turning the wheels to the right will cause the trailer to move left and vice versa. It is hard to do at first, because this seems to be incorrect. But by practicing, this can become old hat for most drivers. It is just like most things that take practice. It just takes some new thinking to get the hang of this. Turn the wheel opposite of the way to go. Straighten the wheel as the trailer is lined up.

And then back up slowly. Finally, check out to make sure there is plenty of room in order to avoid any obstacles that may be present.

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