Driving with a trailer is not a difficult task, but does come with extra responsibility. It’s like learning to drive for the first time. Do not overestimate your ability. Towing a trailer is a different experience than just driving. Practice! Different trailers and weight loads may require you to adjusting your driving.
To keep yourself, your passengers, and other drivers safe make sure that your trailer towing conditions are sound. The first thing you will want to check is your towing vehicle. Make sure your vehicle has enough power to tow your trailer and appropriate load. Over loading your vehicle can result in damage to the vehicle, trailer, and bystanders. Ask a trailer professional or look up the specs of your trailer and vehicle to make sure you are operating within a safe weight limit. And make sure you hitch and load your trailer correctly. Don’t forget to hook up the brake lights! Improper prep can have catastrophic damages—so make sure you do it right!
Next, get comfortable driving with the trailer. Start by practicing at low speeds in an open area. As you gain confidence begin driving in more populated areas at faster speeds. Eventually you may find yourself on a highway. But do not let that intimidate you! Drive slow. You can drive in the right lane with flashers at slower speeds, if necessary.
Other tips for driving include slowing down and braking before going down a hill. Do not exceed speed limits or 55 mph. Observe other safe driving habits like wearing a seat belt. Wider turns will be necessary. And remember that your vehicle is much larger now, so don’t be aggressive! No quick turns or fast lane changes. Towing a trailer requires defensive and cautionary driving strategies.
Wind can be alarming when towing a trailer on the highway. If there are strong winds, avoid driving all together. Powerful winds will tip your vehicle and trailer over. If conditions become unsafe while driving do not hesitate to pull over and wait out the weather. Professional haulers do not drive in these conditions and neither should you!
There are also winds from passing vehicles that can be unsettling to you. When a faster moving vehicle, passes you at faster speeds, the wind coming from their vehicle can cause your trailer to sway. As a general rule, when your trailer begins to sway slow down and try to avoid swerving. But in this case, slight steering to counter the sway is okay. You do not need to be alarmed, as this is generally safe.
Towing a trailer is not excessively difficult. However, it does require some extra precautionary measures. Always ask a hauling professional if you have questions about your towing vehicle, maximum weight or load placement. Remember to practice and get comfortable driving the trailer before you drive on a populated road. And only drive in safe non-windy conditions. If you keep these guidelines in mind, you should have a safe trailer towing experience!