THE LOOK TRAILERS GUIDE TO A SAFE TOWING EXPERIENCE
April 14, 2017
TOWING ADVICE FOR TRAVELERS YOUNG AND OLD
As the weather outside gets less frightful, more and more drivers are taking to the road, whether it’s a cross-country trip, a weekend getaway or just down the road to start the landscaping season all over again. No matter your reason for towing, Look Trailers wants to make sure you’re as prepared as can be before hitting the pavement and navigating the roadways ahead. Here are a few quick reminders and helpful tips to get you started again.
SOME KEY PRACTICES TO REMEMBER FOR A SAFE TOWING EXPERIENCE
Before you go, know what you’re going to tow… and where to put it all
- The 60-40 rule is generally accepted as the be-all method for cargo storage in a towable trailer. Just make sure 60% of your items (and the heaviest) are loaded in first and are positioned closest to the back of the towing vehicle. The other 40% can be loaded towards the back of the enclosed trailer. This will ensure that the majority of the weight is dispersed where it can be supported the most, as well as helping you avoid an uneven turning and slow-down process.
Tie it down so you don’t have to track it down
- Utilize the surface mount rope rings found in Look Trailers, or make sure there are enough tie-downs present to keep your haul from sliding around. The more things slide, the worse it’ll be when you try to slow down or need to abruptly hit your brakes. Just as well, when items slide… they tend to break.
Know your destination and avoid awkward situations
- When looking for a gas station amidst traffic or weaving inside a tightly-packed parking lot, it’s okay to take a deep breath, slow down and think about the best available spot for your enclosed cargo trailer. While drivers tend to get a bit frazzled when navigating parking lots, sharp corners and where a lot of traffic is present, taking a moment to find the right spot can make all the difference. We’ve all been there, so there’s no shame in telling other drivers to go around when needed. If possible, just park further away. You should be able to find a spot that’s big enough for your trailer, while also not bothering any other cars.
Backing up your towing trailer 101
- Going off the old phrase, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” we’re going to suggest a strict adherence to the ins and outs of backing up a towable trailer. When it comes down to it, you’re really just trying to avoid jack-knifing the vehicles and causing self-inflicted damage to either unit. It’s best to have another person guiding you where you need to go, but if that’s not possible then you’ll need to take it slow and plan ahead. First things first… utilize your mirrors. The general rule is to put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and direct the trailer’s direction this way. Moving your hand to the left will cause the trailer to move left as well, and right when you move your hand right, respectively. As a rule of thumb, don’t just hit the gas and assume you’re good to go. Take is slow and gently apply the gas so that you can easily maneuver the trailer in the right direction, gradually unsteering as you line up the right path.
The same old rules of the road, but with some tweaks for small and large cargo haulers
- Drive normally as you would in any other truck or car… with a couple of exceptions. As always, you should adhere to traffic laws to make the trip a safe one. However, with another vehicle attached, you’ll need to be extra cautious and mindful of your surroundings. Speed warnings and right lane etiquette is important to keep in mind as you travel. A lot of the time, trailer owners will stick to the right lane to let faster traffic pass by on the left. You should only be passing if it’s absolutely necessary. Your tow will incur more drag from the wind and weight, so maintaining a lower speed than posted, and being mindful of high wind warnings, is crucial to safe travel. Since your rig will take more time to slow down, make sure you leave plenty of room between you and the vehicles in front of you. The more, the better.
Look Trailers are built to last, but that doesn’t mean you should skip your trailer maintenance
Tires: Pressure and wear and tear
- Tire pressure is the bread and butter of a smooth traveling experience. To avoid blowouts, make sure all tires are at the correct PSI and that they are void of any wearing down of the rubber.
Brakes: Working? Proper lubrication?
- Check for rust and be mindful of squeaky brakes (on both units). If either of these are present, you may have brakes that don’t function properly, making it harder for the trailer to come to a stop.
Lights and mirrors
- This is a quick and easy check before you leave. Just make sure you’re leaving as little blind spots as possible and that all mirrors and lights are free from dirt, ice or anything else that could limit visibility. This goes for interior lights, as well.
- Make sure you don’t overfill the trailer’s specified weight and cause damage to the support system, the tires or the axles. Utilizing the correct capacity will also ensure that your trailer can stop when needed and that you don’t put unnecessary strain on either the trailer or the towing vehicle.
For your gross trailer weight (GTW) and tongue weight (TW) specifications and limits, you can go to Look Trailers’ Towing & Safety page. And, if this is your first trip or you simply haven’t been towing for a while, another good idea is to check the Trailer Hitching page for useful information.
For all other questions and concerns, the Look Trailers’ customer service team is equipped to help you as soon as possible. You can find them here. Look would like to wish all trailer owners a safe and smooth hauling experience, and we look forward to helping solve all your towing needs in the future.