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5 SAFETY TIPS FOR DRIVING WITH A TRAILER
Prepare your tow vehicle
Check the owner’s manual of your car to ensure the vehicle’s towing capacity can handle the weight of your trailer and its contents. Since towing puts a strain on any vehicle, make sure your car’s maintenance is up to date. This includes checking the oil and brake pads, as well as topping up the engine coolant and transmission fluid.
If your vehicle doesn’t come with a trailer hitch, you’ll need to buy one that suits your needs. You should also consider installing towing mirrors on your vehicle, especially if it’s narrower than the trailer, to reduce blind spots and improve visibility when backing up.
Inspect everything before you leave
Check the tread and pressure of your trailer tires and make sure you have at least one spare. Verify that all the lights are working and that the trailer is properly secured to the hitch. The safety chains should be crossed and have enough slack to allow sharp turns without dragging on the road.
Practise driving with the trailer
Driving with a trailer requires more practice, skill and focus than many people realize. The weight of the trailer impacts your vehicle’s ability to stop, so get in the habit of breaking sooner and keeping your distance from the car ahead of you. You’ll also need to make wider turns to avoid hitting or driving up over curbs.
Depending on your trailer, clearance might be an issue at gas stations or under low bridges. Make sure you know the height of your rig before you hit the road. You should also practise safely hitching and unhitching the trailer.
Take it slow on the road
Maintain a steady speed below the limit and stay in the right lane on the highway whenever possible. Driving next to the shoulder gives you extra room to stop if you need to break suddenly and makes it easier to pull over in the event that you blow a tire. If your trailer starts to sway, don’t accelerate or break. Simply continue to drive straight while you ease off the gas.
Get advice from a professional
The knowledgeable staff at Hitch City will be happy to advise you on safe driving practices. We can also ensure you find the right trailer to suit your budget and needs. In addition to selling trailers and towing hitches, we offer trailer certification and repair services out of our Barrie, Mississauga and Scarborough locations.
For more information about Hitch City’s products and services, contact us today.