I know it is hard to resist the temptation to overtake other vehicles on the highway. The very sight of slow-moving vehicles for no apparent reason will definitely make one’s blood boil. But when you are towing a trailer, you need to push that thought right out of your head. When you attach a trailer to your vehicle, the braking system and the acceleration capacity of your car come under a lot of strain. That means, you will have to be extremely careful while trying to overtake a vehicle on the highway.
But sometimes, it just gets too frustrating to wait behind a really slow-moving vehicle. Yup, there are other vehicles that move slower than molasses even when there is no traffic on the highway. Imagine stuck behind a Truck overloaded with Hay, Roller Machine or behind a bulldozer. In such cases, you will have no other option other than to overtake those vehicle.
Passing vehicles while towing a trailer is not a rocket science but there are some tips that you need to carefully consider before making the move –
You need to use indicator earlier than you would have done if you were not towing a trailer. This will help drivers behind your vehicle to get enough time to prepare themselves. If you take too long to give signals, vehicles behind your cars will presume that you are planning to change the lane and they will zoom past your vehicle. So, you need to signal early so that vehicles behind you get the time to react and give yourself enough room to make the move.
Use Your Mirrors
How can you possibly see things behind your vehicle if you don’t use your mirrors while towing? You need to see how far or how close are the vehicles behind you before you can even think of changing the lane. Double check that the vehicles behind you are not trying to overtake you while you are making the move.
Overtake Only on Level Ground
Don’t even think of overtaking another slow-moving vehicle if the ground is uneven. Since your vehicle is pulling a heavy weight in the form of a trailer, you need to understand that your vehicle will behave differently than it would have on a level ground. For example, if you try to overtake a vehicle on an incline, the engine of your towing vehicle will have to work extra hard to gain the speed required to overtake it. If you try to overtake on a decline, things can also get spiral out of hand. On a slope, your vehicle (with all its weight attached to it) will accelerate faster than what you could have possibly anticipated and before you know it, you will realize that your vehicle is completely out of control. This is the reason why it always makes sense to overtake only on a level ground while towing a heavy trailer. On Level ground, you will get to see what is behind your and what is ahead of you clearly and this helps a lot while you try to pass.
Trailer sway is definitely not a pleasant experience that you want to deal with but when you are towing a trailer, you might have to face it at least once in your lifetime. So, what exactly is trailer sway? Well, when the trailer starts moving side to side, it is known as trailer sway. Trailer Sway can be caused by things like fast movements of steering wheel or high winds (among many other things). I know it is scary but you need to hold your nerves and regain control of the trailer as soon as it starts swaying.
Trailer Sway will make destabilize your vehicle but rather than panicking, you need to take your foot away from the gas so that the vehicle slows down gradually. DON’T apply brakes immediately because that would aggravate the situation further. Cling on to the steering wheel and try to bring the trailer back in line. In extreme cases, you can apply the trailer brakes by hand but don’t apply tow vehicle brake under any circumstances.
Give Yourself Enough Room
This is a no-brainer right? Well, still most people tend to forget that they are towing a large trailer and they choose to return to the lane too early. The outcome could be disaster. You might end up sideswiping the vehicle that you were trying to pass. So, give yourself enough time and space before you even think of returning to the lane.
Always remember that you are not in Formula 1! You are driving a big vehicle with a heavy trailer attached to it and therefore, you need to act accordingly. You need to move as slowly as possible while trying to pass. Never ever try to make abrupt movements while changing the lanes because that might trigger trailer sway and believe me – you don’t even deal with this nasty thing.