Anyone who’s ever driven behind a slow-moving RV knows the frustration of being stuck in the middle lane while cars zip by on either side. If you’re lucky, the driver of the RV will eventually pull over to let traffic pass. But what if you’re the one behind the wheel of the RV? Towing a trailer can be a challenging experience, even for experienced drivers. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe on the road:
Know Thy trailer
Before you hit the road, it’s important to get to know your trailer. How much does it weigh? What are its dimensions? How does it handle on the road? These are all important questions to ask before you start your journey.
If you’re not familiar with your trailer, take it for a spin around a parking lot or an empty stretch of road before heading out onto the highway. This will give you a chance to get a feel for how it handles and what you need to do to keep it under control.
Take Longer stopping distances
Remember that it takes longer to stop a trailer than it does a regular car. So when you’re coming up to a stop sign or red light, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to brake. It’s also a good idea to leave extra space between you and the car in front of you. That way, if they have to sudden stop, you’ll have enough time to react.
Because of the extra weight of the trailer, stopping distances will be greater than what your tow vehicle could normally manage on its own. This implies you’ll have to be more cautious about vehicles coming to a stop in front of you as you towed, and start braking sooner.
Stay in the Slow Lane
When you’re towing a trailer, it’s best to stay in the right-hand lane. This will help you avoid getting stuck in the middle of the road and will also make it easier for other drivers to pass you. If you need to pass someone, use the left lane and then return to the right lane as soon as you can.
Check Your Mirrors Often
It’s important to check your mirrors often when you’re driving with a trailer. This will help also you keep an eye on traffic and be aware of what’s going on around you. You should also make sure to signal before you change lanes or turn.
On long downhills, don’t use your truck’s brakes.
Anyone who has ever driven a truck knows that they can be a handful on long trips. Sure, they’re great for hauling heavy loads and taking on tough terrain, but when it comes to going downhill, it’s important to take some extra steps to make sure you don’t overheat your brakes. One of the best ways to do this is to shift into a lower gear so you can take some of the strain off of the brakes and help slow the vehicle down. Many newer trucks have a tow/haul mode that will automatically downshift the transmission when it senses that the truck is going downhill, but even if your truck doesn’t have this feature, shifting into a lower gear manually can make a big difference. Another tip is to apply the brakes at intervals rather than keeping your foot on the brake pedal constantly. This will help keep the brakes from overheating and preserve their lifespan. following these simple tips can help you avoid an expensive repair bill down the road.
Take wider turns at curves
Anyone who’s ever driven a big rig knows that they have to take turns a little wider than most vehicles. But for those of us hauling trailers, there’s an extra consideration – we have to worry about our trailer tires hitting or riding up over curbs. That’s because, due to the physics of turning, our trailer wheels end up closer to the inside of a turn than the wheels of our tow vehicle. So, when we’re making a turn, we have to be extra careful to give ourselves a wide berth. If we don’t, we risk damaging our trailer (or worse). So, next time you’re behind the wheel of a big rig with a trailer in tow, remember to take it easy on the turns. Your fellow motorists will thank you for it.
On highways, stay in the right lane.
On highways, it is safest to drive in the right lane. This allows faster traffic to pass you on the left, and also puts you in a better position to exit the highway if you need to. If you do need to pass someone, use the left lane and then return to the right lane as soon as you can.
Don’t forget about weight limits
When you’re driving a truck, it’s important to be aware of weight limits. This is especially true if you’re hauling a trailer, as the combined weight of the two can exceed the limit for some roads and bridges. If you’re not sure about the weight limit for a particular road, you can always check with the local authorities. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and following the weight limits will help keep everyone on the road safe.
Give yourself plenty of time
One of the most important things to remember when driving a truck is to give yourself plenty of time. That means leaving early for your destination, taking breaks often, and being prepared for traffic delays. It might seem like a pain to have to plan your trips so far in advance, but it’s worth it if it means you’ll be able to get where you’re going safely.
Use A Trailer To Practice
If you’re new to driving with a trailer, it’s a good idea to practice in an empty parking lot before hitting the open road. That way, you can get a feel for how the trailer reacts to your steering and braking. It’s also a good idea to get used to turning around in tight spaces, as this is often more challenging with a trailer than without one. After you’ve had some time to practice, you’ll be ready to hit the road with confidence.
Adjust trailer brakes according to load
Anyone who has ever put a boat on a trailer knows that adjusting the brakes is essential. If you don’t adjust the brakes properly, you risk skidding and damaging your boat (not to mention your ego). Electric brakes are a lifesaver in this regard, as they can be easily adjusted to account for different loads. When towing a heavy boat, for example, you’ll want the trailer’s brakes set to use a lot of force. But when the boat isn’t on the trailer, the trailer’s brakes need to be readjusted for that lighter weight. This may seem like a lot of work, but it’s worth it to avoid any unpleasant surprises on the road.
When backing up, use a spotter.
One of the most challenging things about driving a truck is backing up. Because of their size, trucks have large blind spots, which can make it difficult to see what’s behind you. That’s why it’s always a good idea to have someone acting as a spotter when you’re backing up. They can help guide you into tight spaces and make sure you don’t hit anything (or anyone).
Disconnect wiring before launching a boat
If you’re planning on launching a boat from your trailer, it’s important to disconnect the wiring first. Otherwise, you risk damaging the wiring and having to replace it. This is especially true if you’re going to be in saltwater, as salt can corrode and damage metal. To be safe, always disconnect the wiring before launching a boat, and then reconnect it when you’re finished.
Inspect your lights before every trip
Before you hit the road, it’s important to inspect all of your lights. This includes the headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals. Not only is it illegal to drive with broken or missing lights, but it’s also dangerous. By taking the time to inspect your lights before every trip, you can help ensure that everyone on the road can see you, and you can avoid getting pulled over.