Towing a trailer is not an easy task, especially if you're driving a large-sized vehicle. External factors such as wind, location, and road conditions can affect its driveability and could eventually lead to unwanted accidents.
Previous studies cite "inexperienced drivers" as the topmost common RV accident causes -- which is true since towing is not something people often do, particularly in a recreational setup.
There are ways to prevent accidents from happening and make towing trailers a lot easier. In this article, we'll tackle some towing driving tips that you need to keep in mind to ensure your safety at all times.
#1. Pre-departure Checks
As with all things that require hands-on operations, necessary checks are essential to ensure everything is working and connected correctly. This proceeding goes to ensure all the hitch, chains, lights, brakes, cameras (if included), and anything else on your rigs are functional before traveling.
Weight also plays a crucial role in maintaining the balance and limiting the impacts of the road to your tow vehicle and RV. Further, an overloaded RV is susceptible to tire failures, suspension and frame wearing, and, most importantly, decreases the RV's handling characteristics.
#2. Drive Slow and Steady
When it comes to towing a trailer, velocity is a little bit trickier. Since trailers are additional weight to your RV, its change in speed -- both acceleration and deceleration -- takes longer compared to cars. Therefore, you have to be extra cautious when driving with a travel trailer attached to your rig.
The best way to do is to drive slow and steady. When driving on a highway, take the slow lanes as much as possible, so that you won't have to keep up with imposed speed limits. Most speed limits for trailers range between 45 mph to 65 mph, depending on the state regulations you are in. Meanwhile, RV tires are rated usually between 60 to 65 mph; you have to keep these in mind when on the highway.
By driving slow and steady, you are eliminating the possibility of performing abrupt changes in motion, control the trailer much better, and take necessary actions ahead to avoid accidents.
#3 Allow Ample Braking Distance
In conjunction with tip no. 2, make sure to give yourself plenty of braking room before coming to a complete stop. As much as possible, avoid last-minute braking -- that's because the added weight increases the trailer's stopping distance. Aside from that, apply the four-second rule to give you enough time to react and time to stop.
#4 Turning: Slow and Wide
First, you have to be mindful of the length of your trailer and the turning radius you're about to take. As shown in this photo, the rig follows the path of the tow vehicle and cut corners sharper. Therefore, when turning, take significantly wider turns, taking into consideration the length and the turning radius. It is necessary to give yourself plenty of extra room to clear your trailer from hitting curbside hazards and getting off-track.
Speed also affects your handling when turning. Turning too fast might cause your RV to lean too far. Although the chances of tipping are meager, instances such as this happen. Don't rush in taking turns; your good decision-making plays a vital role in ensuring you'll have a smoother drive.
#5 Avoid Backing Up Inadvertently
The last thing you want to do when towing a trailer is performing actions under pressure, particularly in backing up. When backing your trailer, allow an ample amount of room to execute correctly. Remember the four-second rule? Yes, that applies all the time to ensure you avoid putting yourself under pressure.
When driving in a congested area, take necessary action to avoid tight spaces instead of backing up inadvertently. Give way for other vehicles to move past or around you, and don't let their impatience consume your decision-making. By this, you can avoid unwanted accidents and other issues that might arise when backing carelessly.
When driving while towing a trailer, the core value that you should practice all the time is patience. That's because a careless and out of spite action could hurt yourself and others. Drive slow and steady and make sure to think ahead; this will help you a lot in avoiding doing actions under pressure and maneuvering your vehicle correctly.