Safety Tips for Driving with a Trailer

If you’re new to driving with a trailer, then you’re well aware that having it attached to your truck makes for a whole different driving experience.  It takes practice to master the art of trailer driving, but it does get easier.  No matter what your skill level is, though, it’s important to remember the safety factors that come into play when driving with a trailer.

  • Take it easy on the accelerator. As your speed increases, so does your trailer’s instability, or sway. Drive at the posted speed limit or even several mph slower.
  • Don’t make sudden stops. These can lead to sliding, skidding, or jackknifing.
  • If you do experience sway cause by wind or air pressure changes, take your foot off the accelerator and grip the wheel with both hands for better handling.
  • Keep your turns wide to avoid driving over curbs or exiting your lane.
  • Hit the brakes sooner than you would if you didn’t have a trailer, as you need more distance to complete the stop.
  • When passing other vehicles or changing lanes, be sure to allow plenty of space between the end of your trailer and the other vehicle.
  • Downshift to help slow down, rather than relying solely on your brakes.
  • You can also downshift to improve your acceleration when passing other vehicles.
  • When backing up, avoid exaggerated movements on the steering wheel, as this will cause the trailer to turn more. Instead, use slight movements to adjust the trailer’s position.
  • Don’t park on a grade if you don’t have to. If you must park on a sloped road, however, put blocks in front of the wheels on the downhill side.
  • When driving on rough or bumpy terrain, or during inclement weather, reduce your speed and use both hands to steer the vehicle.

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