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Sep 1

7 Tips for Towing a Trailer

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Whether you’re heading out with your tent trailer for the last camping trip of the season, or pulling your summer toys back home to put away for the winter, here’s a refresher course on how to properly tow a trailer.

– Give yourself more space behind other vehicles so that there is plenty of room for braking, which will take longer because of the extra weight
– On corners, turn later and sharper to square off the curve, which will help prevent the trailer from clipping curbs
– Allow for extra time when switching lanes, stopping and passing other vehicles
– The extra length that a trailer adds can cause problems on turns. Because the trailer does not follow the exact path as the vehicle on turns, you must swing out wider when traveling around bends and corners
– Avoid sudden stops and starts that can cause skidding, sliding or jackknifing
– When passing a slower vehicle or changing lanes, signal well in advance and make sure you allow extra distance to clear the vehicle before you pull back into the lane. Also make sure you pass on level terrain, while avoiding passing on steep upgrades or downgrades
– Drive at moderate speeds. This will place less strain on your tow vehicle and trailer. Trailer instability (sway) is more likely to occur as speed increases.

If your trailer does begin to sway, follow these tips to help you get the swaying under control:

Do’s

– Gradually reduce speed
– Steady the steering wheel – sudden turns can cause more sway
– Apply only the trailer brakes to help reduce trailer sway

 Don’ts

– Do not slam on the brakes – jackknifing could occur
– Do not attempt to steer out of a sway situation
– Do not increase speed – trailer sway increases at faster speeds
– Do not tow a trailer that continues to sway
– Consider reloading the trailer or perhaps adding a sway control or a weight distribution system with sway control

For more tips on pulling a trailer, please visit: http://www.transportation.alberta.ca/2182.htm