For many small business owners, trailers offer a simple and affordable way to upfit work vehicles to meet the demands of their industry. However, towing trailers can be a bit intimidating, especially for beginners. But if you do your homework regarding proper equipment and practices, the process soon becomes almost second nature. Here are several simple tips to help ensure your trailered equipment gets to the jobsite – and back – safely.
Check Your Tires
Just before you move out, always check the tire inflation pressure all the way around on both the tow vehicle and trailer. Don’t underestimate how a small amount of over- or under-inflation can make a big difference in the handling properties of the rig.
When towing a loaded trailer, it takes more distance to accelerate and break. So take it slow and give yourself room between your truck and other vehicles. Drive as you would on an icy road
When backing up, relocate your hands on the steering wheel from the usual ten and two o’clock positions to five and seven. This makes reverse-maneuvering the trailer much more natural and intuitive.
If a wind gust from an overtaking semi or other vehicle causes your rig to sway or swerve, don’t stab the brakes. Cleanly move your foot off the throttle, firm up your grip on the steering wheel and give the rig a moment or two to stabilize.
The longer the trailer, the wider the turn
Swing wide while turning and double check your mirrors to be sure your trailer clears all obstacles.
As a rule, only pass when necessary and obey all laws. Remember to account for your trailer length when passing another vehicle. Check that you’ve cleared the other vehicle before returning to your lane. Also, the extra trailer weight will make acceleration slower. Be sure to use you turn signal and allow for plenty of clearance.
Always slow down before going downhill. If you’re in a manual transmission vehicle, downshift when going both uphill and downhill
Bring a full-size spare
Never use a compact spare tire when towing a trailer
For a complete guide, towing specs and common weight estimates on trailers, boats, cars, RVs, construction equipment, upfits and building materials, visit ramtrucks.com/towing_guide.