Safe Towing Tips for Your Next Road Trip
Towing consists of your car pulling a trailer behind it. Taking a recreational vehicle with all your goods inside heightens the joy of the road trip. However, towing an RV or a camper is not an easy thing to do. Here are some safe towing tips for your next road trip.
Check Your Towing Vehicle
The first thing to do before your next road trip is to check the condition of the tow vehicle. Towing puts a lot of stress on your vehicle’s engine and hence it is necessary that your car is in optimal health. You can start by checking the fluid levels like engine oil, brake oil, transmission fluid and radiator coolant. If the engine oil has turned black or doesn’t flow right, ask the mechanic to change the oil. You need to check the levels of radiator coolant, transmission fluid brake oil and ensure their level is between the maximum and minimum levels. If you don’t pay attention to these aspects, your engine is more likely to overheat due to the additional load and can lead to a breakdown. The tires should be properly inflated and the treads should be good for better grip on the road.
Hitching the Trailer Securely
You need to ensure the towing vehicle is suitable to town the trailer attached. You should pay attention to the tow fittings, safety chains and couplers to make sure they are firmly attached. The security chains should be attached in crisscross style and should be slack enough to allow for turns. If the security chains are tight, it will be difficult to pull the trailer safely while turning.
Make sure the trailer is evenly loaded and the load is distributed well. The right way to load the trailer is to place 60% of the load in the front side over the front axle. The lights of the trailer should be functional and the trailer should be road worthy.
Trailer Driving Tips
Towing a trailer needs some special driving skills and you need to practice driving your vehicle with a trailer attached to understand how the trailer reacts to your driving habits. The first safety tip while towing an RV, boat or trailer is to drive slowly. You should always drive below your normal driving speed and the golden rule is to never cross 50 mph when towing. Leave some extra distance between your tow vehicle and the vehicle ahead as the braking distance increases when you are towing. The rule of thumb is to leave five to ten seconds between your vehicle and the one moving ahead. Plus, you should always wear a seatbelt and be alert when towing a trailer.
Pay Attention to the Trailer Braking System
To drive safely, the trailer braking system should be in sync with your tow vehicle. If the trailer is heavy, it will lead to greater momentum and pushing the brakes hard could lead to an accident. Modern trailers have hydraulic or electrical brake systems to employ a simple mechanism to stop the trailer. The braking works gradually and you need to keep your foot on the brake pedal to ramp up the tension on the trailer brakes. This will slow down the trailer safely before bringing it to a halt.