It may seem like towing a load behind your vehicle is as simple as hitching it up and driving off into the sunset, but there are actually many important factors to understand for the safety of yourself and other drivers on the road. Here at Hitch King, we know hitches and we know towing. Use these five tips for towing safely before you start your haul.
1. Understand Load Capacity
The core of towing anything is the weight. It is incredibly important to understand the limits of the equipment you have available. Your tires, trailer, hitch, and vehicle will have noted load capacities that you’ll need to follow to ensure everything operates as it should. Additionally, when loading your trailer, be sure that the weight is distributed evenly and everything is secure to prevent a large shift in weight while traveling.
2. Inspect before Departure
You can never be too sure that everything is set up correctly and in good condition. One last time before you head out, check your trailer and vehicle tires for any wear, make sure your trailer is properly hitched and fastened, and make certain all safety lights are functional.
3. Know Your Stopping Distance
Putting more weight behind your vehicle will increase your stop time significantly. It is important to maintain the correct follow distance from other drivers to allow yourself enough time to slow and stop when the time comes. This can vary by equipment and load capacity, but in general, maintaining a five-second gap between you and the driver in front of you is considered a safe practice.
4. Learn Proper Sway Response
You hope that losing control of your trailer never happens, but the road is full of unexpected events. While scary, if your trailer begins to sway, it is important not to panic and remember the steps to regain control. Let off the gas, do not apply brakes, and continue steering straight until the trailer corrects. Slamming on your brakes or trying to counter-steer can make matters much worse.
5. Maintenance after Towing
You’ve made it to your destination so you’re all finished, right? Almost. Towing can be very hard on your vehicle and your equipment. It’s a good idea to give everything one more look to be sure all parts are safe for future travel.
Do you need to tow something but are missing the right equipment? Hitch King is here to meet your needs. We can set you up with a custom hitch and help you with a trailer rental so you can be on your way. Request a quote online or call us today at (516) 888-3663.