Trailer Towing Safety Tips in Winter

November 29, 2022 by

Trailer Towing Safety Tips in Winter

7 Tips for Towing a Trailer Safely in the Winter

Custom-made enclosed trailers may be a little more effective at safely navigating roads covered with ice and snow during the winter. Nevertheless, no trailer and no towing vehicle are completely invulnerable to slippery road conditions. If you can wait to make your trip until road conditions improve, you should do so. However, if it is unavoidable that you have to tow your trailer in conditions of snow or ice, here are some tips to help you make the trip safely.

1. Use Proper Towing Equipment

One of the biggest dangers of winter towing is trailer sway. Also called fishtailing, this occurs when the trailer starts moving side to side instead of straight behind the towing vehicle. There are devices you can use to help prevent trailer sway, but they are not safe to use on slippery roads. However, you can use air suspension springs to help keep control of your vehicle. An uneven load can contribute to trailer sway, so weight distribution devices can help as well.

If your towing vehicle has a diesel engine, you may also benefit from exhaust brakes. These help mitigate trailer sway with more gentle braking by applying diesel engine exhaust pressure to the brakes. This also helps to prevent wear and tear on the brakes themselves.

2. Check the Weather Before Departing

Even if you are unable to delay your trip due to inclement weather, it is still a good idea to know what the weather is expected to do. This gives you time to make adjustments to your driving as needed in the interest of safety.

3. Maintain a Slower Pace

Posted speed limits assume ideal driving conditions. As a driver, you are expected to adjust your speed according to the current conditions on the road. When the roads are slippery due to ice or snow, this may mean driving much slower than the posted speed limit, especially if you are hauling a trailer. When you drive fast over a slippery surface, it is harder to maintain traction, even if you have snow tires on your vehicle and your trailer. As a result, you are more likely to lose control when stopping, turning, or accelerating.

4. Observe Weight Limits

Before loading up your trailer and hitching it up to the towing vehicle, find out what its maximum weight capacity is. Do not load more weight than your trailer can handle. Make sure that the combined weight of your trailer and its cargo is not greater than your vehicle’s towing capacity. Attempting to haul more than your trailer and the towing vehicle can handle can make it difficult to maintain control, especially when driving uphill.

5. Maintain a Safe Stopping Distance

If you have to stop suddenly while towing a trailer on slippery roads, the trailer could jackknife and you could lose control of your vehicle. Maintain a greater distance between you and the vehicle in front of you than you usually would so that you have time to slow down and stop gradually.

6. Perform Trailer and Truck Maintenance

You can reduce the risk of a breakdown by performing regular maintenance on both your truck and your trailer throughout the year. If you know you will be towing through the winter, it is a good idea to perform an extra maintenance check to identify any potential problems before cold weather sets in so you have time to address them.

7. Keep Survival Gear in Your Vehicle

Whenever you travel in winter, you should have a survival kit that includes extra blankets, water, food, a first aid kit, candles, and a way to light them so you can keep warm and safe until help arrives. Keep this kit in your vehicle in case you lose your trailer in an accident.

Find Custom-Made Enclosed Trailers From McFarlane

At McFarlane Trailer Sales, we offer a variety of trailer types for sale. Whether you are in need of anything from an enclosed trailer to a dump trailer, we are sure to have it. Check out our selection of new and used aluminum trailers or order one to your specifications.