Open as PDF
Driving with a Trailer
Towing a trailer requires a certain amount of experience.
Before setting out for the open road, you’ll want to get
to know your rig. Acquaint yourself with the feel of
handling and braking with the added weight of the
trailer. And always keep in mind that the vehicle you are
driving is now a good deal longer and not nearly as
responsive as your vehicle is by itself.
Before you start, check the trailer hitch and platform
(and attachments), safety chains, electrical connector,
lamps, tires and mirror adjustment. If the trailer has
electric brakes, start your vehicle and trailer moving and
then apply the trailer brake controller by hand to be sure
the brakes are working. This lets you check your
electrical connection at the same time.
During your trip, check occasionally to be sure that the
load is secure, and that the lamps and any trailer brakes
are still working.
Stay at least twice as far behind the vehicle ahead as you
would when driving your vehicle without a trailer. This
can help you avoid situations that require heavy braking
and sudden turns.
You’ll need more passing distance up ahead when
you’re towing a trailer. And, because you’re a good deal
longer, you’ll need to go much farther beyond the
passed vehicle before you can return to your lane.
Hold the bottom of the steering wheel with one hand.
Then, to move the trailer to the left, just move that hand
to the left. To move the trailer to the right, move your
hand to the right. Always back up slowly and, if
possible, have someone guide you.