Trailer Safety: 5 Basics Every Trailer Owner Should Do
When it comes to towing heavy equipment on fast-moving, crowded roads, it’s obvious that trailer safety should be prioritized above all else. Remember, towing a trailer is not like driving a car or a truck. Everything takes a little longer and requires a stricter attention to details. To keep you and everyone else on the road safe, here are five things every trailer owner should do before pulling out onto the street.
1. Know the Right Tongue Weight
Tongue weight should be set to 10-15% of the trailer’s overall weight for stability. If the rear suspension on the towing vehicle isn’t strong enough for this, try an equalizing hitch to shift some of the weight to the front axle. Equally distributing the weight of a trailer and knowing what your vehicle can accommodate are two ways to lengthen your trailer life and optimize safe travel.
2. Secure the Trailer Load
When traveling with a heavy load or large items, all items must be securely fastened so they don’t move or fall off. No matter how secure the ties are, they will loosen over time with all the movement from the road. Be sure to check them periodically throughout the trip.
3. Check Tire Pressure
Tire pressure for trailers need to be monitored more often than with regular vehicles. The tires should be checked before towing every trip. Tires should be checked periodically throughout a long trip. Maximized tire pressure will help the tires run cooler and save on gas.
4. Follow the Four Second Rule
When towing a trailer, always leave more than four seconds in between you and the vehicle in front of you. The trailer makes all processes (speeding up and slowing down) take longer and it’s important to give yourself and your trailer time to react for sudden stops or traffic incidents. A longer gap should be considered if towing a heavier load.
5. Check the Brakes
It’s essential for all vehicles to make sure that your breaks are functioning properly, especially when a trailer is involved. Check your trailer’s brakes at the beginning of the trip by sliding the brake controller lever over an inch or so to activate the breaks. This will ensure that everything is safe to travel.
Trailer safety involves more than just five basic tips, so be sure to familiarize yourself with everything you need to know before going out on the road. These processes may seem tedious and repetitive, but they are imperative to successful road and trailer safety. Remember: safety first – always!