Yep, here I am banging on about safety again… maybe you’ve heard the rules about safe towing before (if not on this website elsewhere). But did you know that there are still some folks out there who don’t follow them?
If you’re new to towing, you should find the below tips very useful. Or, if you know any of those dopes who don’t tow by the book, drop them the link to this blog post. Here we go…
The golden rule
It is YOUR responsibility to understand your vehicle’s towing capabilities make sure you’re towing correctly and not leaving extensive damage in your wake or causing unnecessary nasty accidents. Know how to equip your vehicle for towing, how to fit and load what you want to tow and you’ll be golden.
- Equip your vehicle PROPERLY for towing. Get the right towbars/couplings etc. fitted; get extra mirrors if necessary; get electrical sockets and brake connections fitted. If towing heavy loads, your vehicle may need to be strengthened.
- Know how many tonnes you can safely tow. (There are equations to work this out. If you stink at maths, give us a call.)
- Load your vehicle properly, securely and with the correct balance (to ensure the vehicle is stable and your chances of sway are minimised).
- Keep loads within the confines of the trailers (avoid things poking out/back.)
- Keep loads as low as possible (and as close to the axel as possible).
- Your towbar must NOT obscure your vehicle’s rear lights. (If the driver behind can’t see your brake lights, don’t be surprised if you’re rear-ended.)
- Do NOT tow more than one trailer at a time.
- NOBODY should be riding in normally registered trailers or caravans.
- Check whether you need a ‘Do Not Overtake Turning Vehicle’ sign. (This will depend on total length of your car and trailer.)
- Obey the speed limits and NEVER drive more than 100km/ph if you’re towing.
- There are following distances on roads outside of built-up areas. If your vehicle is 7.5m or longer (including trailer or load) you may not follow closer than 200 meters to a similar vehicle in front of you.
- Watch where you stop. Depending on your vehicle’s length and load, you can’t stop on a carriageway outside a built-up area unless it’s on the shoulder, in a truck bay or other area for parking goods vehicles.
- Allow for the extra length and width of trailers and caravans when driving (& remember they can cut in on corners!)
- A greater stopping distance is required when braking.
- Practise reversing your trailer (if poss, get someone to stand outside of the vehicle to direct you).
- Take even more care when overtaking (your vehicle won’t perform as well with a trailer attached!)
- Pay attention to ‘Dangerous Crosswinds’ signs.
- Always accelerate, brake and steer SMOOTHLY.
- Put your car in a lower gear when going downhill.
- Finally, remember that towing requires more skill than normal driving. It’ll tire you out faster, so break regularly to stay safe.
If you want someone to talk you through towbar specifics for your vehicle, give Midland Towbars a call today. We’re all about safety so we’ll see you right.