Winter Tips for Safe and Efficient Trailer UseDecember 16, 2019 by Kyle McFarlane
If you’re an expert in towing a single axle utility trailer, driving on snow-covered roads shouldn’t be a problem. However, most highway drivers, including the highly experienced ones, don’t change their skills when driving on icy roads. They forget that such driving conditions need some special skills and expertise for one to get to their destination safely. To overcome the towing challenges that come with poor weather conditions, arm yourself with the following tips.
KEEP YOUR SPEED IN CHECK
Most trailer accidents are a result of excessive speed. While it’s legal to tow at the set speed limit, the speed may just be too fast for a snow-covered road. Therefore, don’t be in a hurry to get to your destination. For your safety and to avoid going into a skid, just tow the trailer slowly with lots of stopping distance.
ENSURE ALL SYSTEMS ARE WORKING
Towing a faulty trailer on an icy road is more than risky. The trailer may break down in the middle of the trip, and that’s the last thing you’d want to happen on a snowy day. Therefore, before embarking on a long journey, make sure all systems are up to date. During your regular check, ensure that the brakes, defroster, heater, and lights are working properly. Clear the windows and the mirrors of any stains for better visibility.
KEEP SOME WEIGHT ON THE AXLES
Apart from having your trailer fitted with snow-ready tires, you need extra traction for safe winter driving. While you can achieve a good road grip with proper tire pressure and quality tires, you need to keep additional weight on the tires. If you didn’t know, the additional weight provides extra traction which is needed for you to safely maneuver the snow-covered roads. Sandbags work well for this purpose.
KEEP THE TRAILER TOP SNOW-FREE
Don’t haul a trailer with a snow-packed top, not unless you want to deal with chunks of snow on your tow vehicle during the trip. If you’re towing a trailer covered with snow at the top, you’re likely to shed off some snow into the road, and that increases the trailer’s chances of skidding. Therefore, before you depart, get a broom and clear the snow that’s accumulated on top of the trailer. You may not remove all of it, but at least, whatever will be left is manageable.
KEEP YOUR BATTERY ON CHECK
You won’t get far with a faulty battery, and, therefore, check the battery before embarking on your journey. Usually, old batteries fail when the temperatures get cold. So, get a new battery in case the one you’re using has lasted for some time. At least with this, you can drive smoothly without breakdowns along the way. You can best do this during the regular maintenance check.
TAKE AN EMERGENCY KIT WITH YOU
While you may already have the necessary safety measures in place, it pays to get armed with an emergency kit. Of course, your single axle utility trailer is already packed with one, but there’s no harm in confirming whether the kit contains all the essentials. Make sure you have enough first aid supplies, traction mats, extra warm gloves, and any other item you’ll need for the cold weather.
KEEP A SAFE DRIVING DISTANCE
Make sure you leave plenty of space in front, behind, and on the sides of your hauling vehicle whenever possible. Avoid traveling as part of a pack on the highway to maximize the space around your vehicle. Driving too close to other vehicles can lead to unexpected collisions if the vehicle ahead or behind makes an error. So, always keep a safe distance.
With these tips, you’re ready to tow your trailer on the icy roads of winter.