Safe Towing Tips for Your Next Road Trip

Safe Towing Tips for Your Next Road Trip

When you are towing a trailer or RV, you need to be extra careful to keep your car and others safe on the road. Towing is not as easy as it seems. Here are some safe towing tips for your next road trip.

Pay Attention to the Size and Load of the Trailer

When selecting a tow vehicle, you need to pay attention to the size and load of the trailer. If you plan to tow a heavy load (around 5,000 pounds) on your next road trip, you should consider heavier SUVs or a full-size pickup or van. Modern vehicles have negligible tow ratings due to the uniform body frame and the powertrains fitted in the vehicle and may not be able to bear the stress of towing.

The best way to select the right tow vehicle is to find out the combined weight of the trailer and goods inside and then compare it with the towing capacity of the vehicle. Car manufacturers mention the towing capacity of the vehicle in the owner’s manual. If the towing capacity of the vehicle is more than the combined weight of the trailer, you are good to go. Make sure the towing capacity is marginally higher than the combined weight; greater the difference, easier the towing.

Hitching the Trailer

Hitching the trailer securely is the secret of stress-free adventures. There are five classes for hitching equipment and each has a limit on how much weight it can tow. The Class I has the lowest towing capacity while the Class IV/V has the highest towing capacity. In addition to hitching equipment, you need to also consider other equipment like sway control devices and equalizers to increase safety while towing. You need to use security chains in a crisscross pattern for added safety. Once you have hitched the trailer, pay attention to the brake lights and ensure they are functioning properly.

Driving Tips

  • Drive slowly even when the road is clear and other vehicles are traveling faster. You should never cross the speed limit of 50mph while towing a trailer or RV. This is because other vehicles on the road can stop a lot sooner than a vehicle towing a trailer or RV. You can drive at higher speeds but your trailer may not be able to stop quickly. One advantage of following this tip is you will also be using less fuel and brakes while towing.

  • When towing on your next road trip, always drive in the right lane as slow traffic should always be in the right lane. This will allow you to take the trailer off the road and stop in an emergency.

  • The braking distance increases when towing. Always keep extra following distance to ensure you have enough braking distance to stop your vehicle and trailer safely in case of an emergency. The extra braking distance will put less load on the brakes and there will be less wear and tear of the brake pads.

  • Always take wider turns and consider the length of the vehicle plus the trailer when turning. This will ensure you do not hit other vehicles, trees or traffic signs when taking tighter turns.