Safe Trailer Towing Tips and Practical Protection AdviceJanuary 27, 2023 by Kyle McFarlane
Driving in the winter comes with its own set of hazards. Taking on utility trailers or dump trailers makes the drive even more difficult. If you’re using your truck with a trailer this season, make sure to get some experience on the road before you tackle the snowy streets. It is always important before heading out to fully inspect your vehicle and trailer. Here are 4 practical tips for towing and protecting your trailer.
1. Ensure the Towing Vehicle Is in Good Condition.
In the winter, it’s even more important to have your towing vehicle in good condition. Before you take your trailer out on the road, check the systems of the vehicle to make sure everything is in good operating condition. Pay special attention to the brakes, so you can stop effectively. Make sure you have a good set of winter tires that are properly inflated. Check all the fluids. If you’re using an electric brake system, you may want to check the wiring before you get out in bad weather. The last thing you want while you’re hauling extra weight is for your towing vehicle to break down.
2. Ensure the Trailer Is in Good Condition
Whether you’re using enclosed cargo trailers or open utility trailers, it’s important to check the trailer before any trip. Check the wiring and lights before you ever load up the trailer. Inspect the tires for wear and proper inflation. Double-check the lug nuts to make sure they are tightened to the specs. Once you’re sure your trailer is in good condition, you can load it up. Then check the load. Distribute the weight across the trailer with 60% in the front and 40% in the rear. Secure the load. Drive one or two miles, then check the load again to make sure it hasn’t shifted.
3. Tips To Prevent Jackknifing
Slow down when you’re driving in winter conditions with a trailer. Don’t use cruise control. Drivers tend to be more relaxed when they’re on cruise control, which doesn’t give you as much time to react. Leave more space between you and the vehicle in front of you. You’ll need more time to stop with a trailer, especially if there is snow on the roads. Learn how to deal with jackknifing, so you can bring the trailer back in order. An empty trailer is more likely to jackknife, but don’t think you won’t jackknife with a full load. When you do turn, start to brake while you’re still driving straight. Use your mirror to watch the trailer for any swinging or swaying. Don’t accelerate in the turn. Wait until you can accelerate in a straight line. If the trailer does start to angle, acceleration will usually get it back in line. If you do brake, be gentle. Hard braking will not give you any control over the trailer.
4. Prepare For the Worst
Hope for the best. Keep an emergency kit in your towing vehicle that includes extra tie-down straps, chains, spare tires, flares, and blankets. You may also want to include flashlights with extra batteries and water, just in case you end up in a ditch somewhere. Don’t drive with a trailer if you aren’t confident on snowy or icy roads. Waiting may be inconvenient but not as inconvenient as an accident or injury.
If you’re looking for high-quality dump trailers, McFarlane Trailer Sales can help you find what you need. We have a good selection of trailers and trailer parts in stock, to keep you on the road when you have something to haul. As a dealer, we can help you find the right trailer to fit your needs or help you design a custom trailer that suits your business. Contact us to learn more.