When you’re towing a trailer, whether it’s for a long skiing holiday, camping trip, or horse show, there are several considerations that you need to take.
With a heavy trailer behind you, driving your usually-light vehicle will feel completely different. You will need to adjust your driving technique and take extra caution when parking.
There’s also the process of properly securing your trailer to your vehicle with the right hitch and calculating the maximum load that your vehicle can tow.
Important Considerations to Take When You’re Towing a Trailer
Below, we’ve compiled a list of important considerations to take when you’re towing a trailer behind your vehicle.
Smaller vehicles will be less capable of pulling large trailers in comparison to trucks or vans. You will need to calculate the total load that your vehicle can pull and you can do so by identifying two numbers.
Take a look in your driver’s manual and look for the gross trailer weight (GTW) and the maximum tongue weight. You can use these numbers to figure out the maximum trailer weight that you will be able to safely tow behind your vehicle.
Hitch type and class
There is a wide range of different hitches, each of which is suitable for a specific type of trailer. Based on the weight of your trailer, you will need to find the appropriate type and class of hitch.
For example, a receiver hitch can be used to pull up to 20,000 lbs and the best fifth wheel hitch has a maximum capacity of 30,000 lbs.
It’s essential that you use the correct type of hitch to ensure your trailer is properly secured onto the back of your vehicle. Otherwise, you could put your own safety and the safety of those around you at risk.
Backing up the trailer
Backing up your vehicle with a trailer in tow can be difficult, especially if you’ve never done so before. In fact, reversing into a parking space or bay is one of the most different maneuvers that you can do with a trailer.
You should always roll down your windows and use your rear and wing mirrors when you’re backing up with a trailer. Make sure there is nobody behind your vehicle and always ask for help if there is somebody nearby.
If possible, head to a quiet area and practice backing up with your trailer in tow before you drive to busier roads. The more you practice, the better your skills become and the more confidence you build.
Keep eyes on the front of your vehicle
Whether you’re driving or performing a maneuver with your vehicle, you should always be hyper-vigilant about what is happening at the front of your vehicle.
Take extra care when there are pedestrians around and always wait for people to move out of the way before you begin your maneuver. It’s better to leave too much room between your vehicle and other people or vehicles than not enough!