Whether you’re an experienced tower who’s been hauling loads for years, or you’re preparing to tow cross-country for the first time, it’s important to prepare your vehicle for towing. Towing shouldn’t be taken lightly. Hauling heavy loads can increase the risk of accidents and injury. When you’re out on the road, you’re not only responsible for your own safety, but also the safety of those around you on the road.
Skipping over the preparation phase of towing can lead to accidents and mistakes on the road that can have deadly consequences. To avoid these mistakes, there are a few tips you can apply that will help ensure you have a safe and enjoyable towing experience. Here’s what you need to know!
How To Prepare Your Vehicle For Towing
One of the safest ways to tow a trailer is to make sure you are well-prepared ahead of time. Even the most experienced towers should still follow these tips to ensure a safe towing experience.
Check Your Tires
Low air pressure can cause accidents or blowouts. When traveling down the highway, this is extremely dangerous. In order to help prevent this, take time to check the air pressure in your vehicle’s tires as well as your tow vehicle’s tires. This precaution may clue you in about an air leak before you ever get on the road.
Make Sure Your Vehicle’s Maintenance Is Up To Date
Towing heavy loads puts a lot of stress and pressure on your vehicle. Over time this can result in parts wearing out faster than normal, require more frequent maintenance. Before going on a trip or towing a trailer, go over your vehicle and make sure your maintenance is up to date.
Double Check The Size Of Your Hitch Ball
The wrong-sized hitch ball is one of the leading causes of towing accidents. Your hitch ball and trailer coupler need to match. A hitch ball that’s too small will certainly fit in the coupler, but also runs the risk of falling out while on the road.
Make Sure Your Lights Are Working
When you wire up your trailer, make sure you have someone help check that all of your lights and signals are working. Even if you’ve been towing for years, remember that wires wear out over time and lights need to be replaced periodically. Getting a spotter to help check your lights will help you make sure that everything is working properly.
How To Stay Safe While On The Road
Once you’ve prepared your vehicle for the road, it’s important to stay safe ON the road. In order to do this, there are a few things you need to know.
If you’ve never driven a trailer before, take time to practice. This is important to prepare your vehicle for towing. Sure, you’ll probably feel like you’re 16 again driving around an empty parking lot, feeling embarrassed at your lack of experience. But taking time to get comfortable and practice could be the difference between a safe towing experience and a disaster on the road.
Give Yourself Plenty Of Space To Stop
Trailers are heavy. This means that they don’t stop as quickly as the little smart car you zip around town in. To accommodate this extra weight, you need to give yourself more space to stop. This will keep you from losing control or plowing into the car in front of you at a stoplight.
Stay To The Right
Losing control of your trailer on the road could spell disaster not just for you, but for all of the cars around you. When towing a heavy load it’s a good idea to stay in the right lane if possible. While you’ll end up going a little slower, it makes it much easier to safely get to the shoulder should something go wrong with your towing setup or if you start to lose control.
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