When towing, there are countless other factors that go into driving that you normally wouldn’t have to think about. Things like checking the lights, tires, and load weight among other safety precautions. Below we have compiled a list of 8 towing tips that will assist with safer driving:
- Know your limits and stay within them.
Every truck has different towing capacities and it is important that you review and are aware of those boundaries. Going over the maximum towing capacity can create a dangerous situation. Exceeding the maximum towing capacity can risk damage to the truck’s suspension, engine, drivetrain, and insufficient braking performance. It is also important that you ensure that your trailer hitch is capable of handling the weight of your trailer and is properly attached. Follow the owner manual’s recommendations depending on the weight of your trailer.
- Your trailer needs to be properly packed.
Loose cargo creates a tremendous danger to you and those around you. It is important to make sure the cargo you are towing is positioned properly. Ideally, it is best to have 60% of the payload packed in the front half of the trailer and is loaded in a way that gives you tongue weight between 10-15% of the total weight of the loaded trailer. It is also important to have even weight distribution on the right and left sides of the trailer. Once the weight is correct, all cargo should be secured down to prevent shifting while in transit.
- Check your lights.
Make sure that your lights are working and fully illuminated. Large trailers can obscure tail lights and make it difficult for other drivers to see you. This can result in an accident, especially when driving at night. You can check your tail lights by having a partner stand behind the vehicle and check the lights as you flash them on and off. You can also use a multimeter if you do not have someone with you.
- Check your tires.
You should always check both your truck and your trailer tires. If your tires are not inflated properly it can affect handling and create more rolling resistance. This causes the engine to work harder and uses more fuel. Improperly inflated tires can also increase tire temperatures and lead to a tire blow-out. You can refer to the tire pressure label on the doorjamb of the driver’s side door panel for proper tire pressure. It is also important to never exceed the speed rating of your tires.
- Check Your Brakes.
Make sure the emergency breakaway cable is attached properly to your tow vehicle. If for some reason the cable disconnects from the hitch, this will trigger the breaks on the trailer quickly stopping the vehicle. This simple step can save you and those around you from an accident.
- Make sure your mirrors are properly adjusted.
Adjust your mirrors so that you have a clear view that extends to the end of the trailer. At Barco, our ¾ ton and 1 ton rental trucks are equipped with tow mirrors specifically designed to extend in order to increase the field of vision.
- Take wide turns.
It is crucial to take precautions and give a wider berth around corners. When you are taking a corner or curve, your trailer’s wheels end up closer to the inside of a turn than the vehicle’s wheels. This can result in the trailer’s tires riding up on a curb or even lead the trailer to side-swipe another vehicle.
- Create more distance when stopping.
Your stopping distances will increase compared to what you can achieve without towing a trailer. This is due to the additional weight of the trailer. You will want to keep a larger distance between cars in case the vehicle in front of you abruptly stops.
Barco allows towing on all of our rental trucks
Contact us for quote and start towing today!