Helpful Hints for Safe Towing

Helpful tips for safe towing

Towing can be a tricky business and trailers don’t always behave the way you expect them to. But there are various measures you can take to stay safe. McFarlane trailers for sale experts are here to give you expert advice to keep your trailer safe when on the road for years to come.

Keep Your Trailer in Good Condition

  • Your trailer needs to be roadworthy, safe to operate and meet all legal requirements.
  • You must have the correct mudguards, fenders, and flaps to eliminate spray or splash on vehicles driving behind you.
  • You need a white license plate light, a red tail light, and two reflectors at the rear of the trailer. If your trailer is wider than 2.05 meters it must have a yellow clearance light on each side at the front of the trailer and a red clearance light on each side of the rear of the trailer.
  • If the load in your trailer blocks your vision to the rear, you need to have additional mirrors that provide a clear view of the road behind you.

Attach your Trailer Securely

  • Make sure that you have the right trailer hitch for the weight of your trailer and attach it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • The hitch-ball should be installed so that when the trailer is attached and tightened, it is level and there is no tilting.
  • Your trailer must have two separate ways of attaching it to your vehicle, so that if one fails the trailer will remain attached to the vehicle.
  • Safety chains, strong enough to hold the trailer and load, must be crossed under the tongue to prevent the trailer from dropping to the road if the hitch accidentally disconnects.

Always Load Your Trailer Correctly

  • Load your trailer carefully and make sure everything is properly strapped down so that nothing comes loose, shifts around or falls off while you’re moving.
  • Load distribution is vital in a trailer and heavy or improperly placed loads can pull down the rear of your vehicle and affect your steering.
  • Never overload your trailer as too much weight can put a strain on your vehicle and damage your tires, wheel bearings, and axle.

Safe Driving with Your Trailer

  • Before you attempt to tow a trailer, consider the size, power, and condition of your towing vehicle and make sure it is capable of towing both the trailer and the load in it.
  • At the start of each trip do an all-around inspection, check the trailer hitch, wheels, tires, lights, load distribution, and load security.
  • Drive slowly and carefully and be aware that stopping suddenly can cause your trailer to jackknife or slide sideways.
  • Maintain a safe following distance and speed that will allow you to stop smoothly in any situation.
  • Make sure you have enough time and space to pass safely, and always take into account that your vehicle is longer than usual.
  • After passing another vehicle, don’t cut back into your lane too quickly as this will cause your trailer to sway and make it difficult to control.
  • Backing up with a trailer takes practice and patience so always back up slowly and carefully, and use a series of small turns to steer.
  • To back up to the right, steer to the left – the front end of the trailer will go left and the rear will go right. To back up to the left, steer to the right – the front end of the trailer will go right and the rear will go left.
  • If you’re new to driving with a trailer you need to practice backing up in an empty parking lot before you go on the road.

At McFarlane’s, we have a large variety of trailers for sale and we also have the experience and expertise to advise you on how to tow your trailer safely. Visit us today to have all your trailer questions answered.