Here at Phoenix Coach Works, we are fully aware that many of you are seasoned travelers, having towed horse-trailers, RVs or toy haulers hundreds of times and thousands of miles throughout your life. However, in recent weeks we have been focusing our attention on proper towing techniques and other safety related items. Our purpose is not to bore or insult the intelligence and experience of our weathered vets but rather to educate and inform those who are just beginning their travels.
Whether you tow a 6×8 tilt-bed or a 4 horse trailer with a tack room and sleeping quarters, there are certain techniques and driving habits that must be learned and observed. If a driver fails to abide by these principles, vehicles, trailers, people and their animals may fall victim to their negligence and unsafe towing practices. That is why it is important to discuss safety at such lengths.
Practice, Practice, Practice: Before cruising on the interstate, you’ll need to get some practice operating your rig. Even if it’s a small trailer, the additional weight as well as your extended length will change the way your vehicle handles. If you’re used to heavy, last-minute braking, you need to practice giving yourself more space and time to slow your rig to a stop.
One of the most frequent complications when towing a trailer is backing up. Practicing backing will not only ensure the safety of your rig and those riding in it, but it’ll impress bystanders as they watch you finesse your trailer into position.
WIDE LOAD: If you’re towing a trailer or RV that has a wider wheelbase than your vehicle, you will need to replace the standard side mirrors with a larger set or install mirror extensions. You also want to consider the length and width of your rig when making any spatial judgments including turns and passing other vehicles (most likely you’ll be the one getting passed as safe towing requires driving at reduced speeds).
Keep it steady: Aside from being scary, trailer sway can be extremely hazardous and cause your rig to jackknife if not corrected promptly. In order to prevent trailer sway, make sure your load is evenly distributed and maintain a steady, consistent speed with as little lane change as possible. If your trailer has independent brakes, you can correct trailer sway by applying the trailer brakes without the vehicle brakes.
It seems that almost anything truly enjoyable comes with some sort of risk or hazard. Traveling while towing a trailer is no different. Whether you’re hauling quads in your enclosed trailer or livestock in your 6 horse trailer, safety should always be your number one concern.
And if you happen to discover something during your rig’s inspection that needs repair or slight fabrication, please contact Phoenix Coach Works and schedule a consultation. We take pride in what we do so you can take pride in what you tow.