Towing a trailer can be dangerous if it isn’t done correctly. Many drivers make mistakes that lead to accidents or that cause them to get pulled over and receive tickets. Here are some tips on how to avoid the most common towing-related mistakes.
Stay within Weight Limits and Distribute Weight Correctly
The vehicle that is doing the towing can only handle a certain amount of weight. Exceeding that limit can damage the tow vehicle or result in an accident, which may cause injuries to people, vehicles, and other property. Before you attach a trailer to your car or truck, check the tow vehicle’s manual or driver’s door to find out how much weight it can safely pull.
It can be difficult to control a trailer if it is loaded in a way that makes it off-balance. Distribute items inside the trailer evenly, with the majority of the weight in front of the axle and with the center of gravity low. Make sure items are secured so they don’t shift during transport.
Research and Obey State and Federal Laws
State laws on towing vary, which is why it’s important to check each jurisdiction’s laws if you are planning a multi-state trip. States set various limits on maximum towing speed, trailer width, and the number of vehicles that can be towed. Most states require a trailer to be connected to a tow vehicle with chains, and some state laws require additional mirrors or braking equipment.
Federal law requires trailers to have brake lights, taillights, turn signals, and reflectors since drivers traveling behind a towed vehicle won’t be able to see the lights on the vehicle in front. Lights on a trailer are connected to the tow vehicle’s electrical system.
Take Other Safety Precautions
Before you embark on your trip, check the tire pressure in both the tow vehicle and the trailer. Underinflated tires can blow out and cause an accident.
The weight of a trailer makes it take longer for the tow vehicle to slow down or stop. When driving while towing a trailer, keep more space than you normally would between your vehicle and the one in front of you in case you need to slow down or stop suddenly. Be particularly careful when changing lanes.
Check Your Insurance Coverage
Make sure you have the right auto insurance coverage before you tow a trailer. Insurance companies handle coverage for a towed trailer in a variety of ways. If you need auto insurance or additional coverage for a trailer, Petruzelo Insurance can help you compare rates from several top insurers. Contact us today to get a quote.