Trailer towing is very potentially hazardous. Without taking the proper precautions you could find yourself in quite the compromised position, facing lawsuits and injury. Knowing the ins and out of hitching and towing a trailer can save you a lot of aggravation and money. Proper towing could even save a life.
Tongue Weight Ratio
Setting the tongue weight to 10-15% of the trailer’s total weight ensures good stability. If you drive a smaller or front wheel drive vehicle, look into installing an equalizing hitch to equally distribute tongue weight between the front and rear axles. Another means of ensuring stabilization and preventing road vibration is using the right size hitch ball for your trailer. This not only stabilizes lateral sway, but can actually prevent the trailer from popping off mid route. Though it may be tempting, don’t try to use a 1-7/8-inch ball on a 2-inch trailer.
In order to prevent jackknifing and rolling, installing electronic braking while towing is must. This also cautions other drivers as to when you’re slowing down and stopping. The first step is installing a trailer-brake controller inside your vehicle, preferably a proportional brake controller. Oppose to timer brake controller, proportionate brake controllers match trailer brake output to the tow vehicle’s deceleration.
When on the road, many drivers with a trailer in tow forget about their increased payload. Though you should never tailgate to begin with, following too close with an extra 1100 pounds in tow could spell disaster. So being mindful and practice driving a safe distance from any other drivers, allowing for a safe stopping distance, is your first line of defense from catastrophe.
Other aspects drivers typically used to driving sans trailer aren’t always used to are making turns. So remember to turn later and sharper to square off curve and preventing the trailer from clipping curbs or buildings. Hauling a trailer is very different than driving a family sedan or even a full size pickup truck, so make the necessary adjustments to your driving habits for the safety of yourself and fellow drivers.