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There will come a time in your life where you may have to tow a trailer behind your car. It may be something you volunteer for, or perhaps you are the only one available for the job. It can be a slightly troublesome activity, but if you take the correct precautions you should be able to tow safely. Here we look at some basics that you should adhere to, please have a read if you think you might find it useful.

Ensure That You Are Legal

Before you even think about setting off on your first journey with a trailer in tow, you should ensure that you are fully legal in this respect. Check with your country’s regulations regarding towing a trailer and remember there are different weights of the trailer you will be responsible for.

Once You Are Legal

You need to do a safety check before you commence on your maiden towing journey. Here are five checks that are critical to the success of your trip:

  • Check that the electrical plug is installed correctly.
  • Ensure that the safety chains have been connected effectively.
  • The hitch coupler should be secured.
  • The spring bar hinges have to be tight with the safety clips correctly in place.
  • The pin that secures the ball mount to the receiver should be intact.

How To Drive Safely With A Trailer

Before your trip, you should plan your route to avoid any low bridges or particularly narrow roads. This is especially important if you have a tall object on the trailer.

Make use of an open space to practice your manoeuvres before setting off on your proper journey.

Check your car’s manual to make sure that you are using the correct gears.

After you set off, you should keep your speed lower than normal and drive as smoothly as possible. Remember that your car is pulling an extremely heavy load and as such will be harder to control effectively.

Be extra careful if the driving conditions are not perfect, especially if ice is on the road.

When you are making a turn you should take a wider route than normal to allow for the trailer’s wheels. Otherwise the trailer’s wheels will end up on the pavement.

Allow more time for your car to stop, the heavy trailer will add a lot of momentum to the combined weight. A sudden braking movement could cause the trailer to jack knife.

Never attempt to overtake another vehicle if the road conditions are less than perfect – be patient!

If you need to reverse, always ask someone to help guide you into the space. Take it slowly and do not over steer.

If you absolutely must overtake, please indicate well in advance to let the other drivers know that a long load is coming through.

Allow yourself extra time to reach your destination as you should never have to rush when towing a heavy and long load – this will be asking for trouble.

Henry Thomas, the author of this post, works at Gardenstate Towing, a company that specializes in providing services like tow truck in Melbourne. Besides claiming to be a massive automobile fan, he also has a passion for writing about the latest cars.