Safe Towing Tips for Your Next Road Trip

Safe Towing Tips for Your Next Road Trip

Towing a trailer is an additional responsibility that needs some special driving skills. If you are planning to tow a trailer or RV for your next road trip, you need to pay attention to several things to stay safe on the road. Here are some safe towing tips that will be helpful on your next road trip.

Selecting the Right Tow Vehicle

This is the most important factor in your next road trip. While heavier SUVs and bigger utility vehicles can be great tow vehicles, you need to select the best combination of tow vehicle and trailer. The first thing you need to do is calculate the combined weight of the trailer with goods inside it. Once you have an idea about the load, you need to look for a tow vehicle that has higher towing capacity greater than the combined weight of the trailer.

Pay Attention to Maintenance and Repairs

The tow vehicle should be in optimal condition for safe towing. Remember that the engine has to bear the additional load which puts it under more stress. Although the owner’s manual mentions the towing capacity, the wear and tear of the engine over time decreases the towing capacity. You need to pay attention to the maintenance of the engine and other components and perform repairs if any. Check the level of all fluids including engine oil, radiator coolant, brake oil and  transmission fluid. Always maintain recommended levels for all fluids. If the engine oil has turned black, it’s time to change it before your next road trip.

Get the Mandatory Equipment for Towing

Towing is guided by some rules and regulations and you need to abide by them to stay safe on the road. You need to use the right size tow bars and leveling devices to ensure the trailer is connected in the right manner. You also need to use safety chains to attach the trailer in a crisscross pattern that will hold the trailer strong enough in the event of a disconnection of the hitch equipment.

Pay Attention to the Brake System

The brake system fitted to the trailer should be in good working condition. Depending on the laws governing the trailer towing in your state, your trailer needs to have parking brakes, service brakes, breakaway brakes and a handbrake.

Loading the Trailer

The load inside the trailer should be balanced properly from side to side. The load should be secured by ropes or tie downs to ensure it stays in place throughout the journey. Since ropes and tie downs often loosen, you need to retighten any ropes every 10 miles. This will keep the sway under control and you will be able to drive without much difficulty.

Driving Tips for the Road

Your normal driving style may not work when towing a trailer or RV. When you are towing a trailer, the length of the vehicle almost doubles and you are required to take wide turns. You need to drive slower than usual and not make attempts to cross the 50mph speed limit.  Also, avoid passing other vehicles on the road as you will need a larger clearance area than usual when passing a vehicle.