Posted on: 30 July 2015Share
If this is your first summer pulling a travel trailer with your vehicle, it is important that you know a little about towing in order to keep your vehicle, your travel trailer and the vehicles around you safe while you are out on the road. Follow these five tips to stay safe on the road.
Tip #1: Know Your Limits
Before you purchase or rent a travel trailer, make sure that your vehicle will be able to handle the load. You should never exceed your vehicle's towing limits; doing so will cause extra wear and tear on your vehicle and can even cause your vehicle to break down.
Find out what your vehicle's towing capacity is, based on the towing hitching you have installed and based on the manufactures recommendations. Then, compare that towing capacity to the towing weight of the travel trailer that you wish to purchase. If the travel trailer exceeds your towing capacity, you are going to need to look for a smaller trailer or purchase a vehicle with a larger towing capacity.
Tip #2: Make Sure Your Vehicle Is In Good Shape
Next, before you take your first trip with your travel trailer, you need to make sure that your vehicle is in good shape. Even when your travel trailer is below your vehicle's towing capacity, it is still going to exert additional strain on your vehicle.
Take your vehicle into your mechanic for a check-up. Ask your mechanic to check all of your fluid levels. Let your mechanic know that you will be towing a travel trailer; depending on your vehicle, your mechanic may want to check additional components to make sure your vehicle is up for the job.
Tip #3: Practice Before You Hit The Open Road
Since this will be your first time towing a travel trailer, make sure you get in some practice before you start on your summer trip. Find an open parking lot near your house and practice turning and changing lanes. Take your vehicle and travel trailer out on some roads that you know are not very busy in your area and practice these same skills.
Spending a little time practicing will help you react safely when you have other people in the vehicle with you on busy summer roads.
Tip #4: Be Prepared For Emergencies
Even if you take all the right precautions, there is always a chance that your vehicle could break down. Every time you stop, be sure to walk around your vehicle and do a quick visual inspection for anything unusual.
Make sure that you carry flares as well as warning triangle signs in your vehicle; that way, if you break down, you'll be able to alert other drivers. Keep the number of a towing company like AA Action Towing Inc saved in your phone and written down on a sheet of paper inside of your vehicle. If you do not belong to a roadside assistance program, consider signing up for one. You should also keep extra food and water in your trailer in case you break down so that you will be able to safely wait until help arrives.
Tip #5: Slow Down
Finally, slow down. Remember that it will take you more time to stop, accelerate and turn with a travel trailer behind your vehicle. Make sure you add extra driving time into your trip so you don't stress out and try to drive too fast with a travel trailer attached to your vehicle. Plan to spend a little extra time getting to all of your destinations.
If you follow all five tips above, your first summer pulling a travel trailer with your vehicle should go smoothly. Just remember to take care of your vehicle and to take your time when you are on the road.