The number one goal of any RV vacation should be a safe experience out on the roadways. As long as you reach your destination safely, and then return home in the same manner, you can consider it a good trip. A big part of your safety is understanding how to properly operate your RV. If you own a trailer, that means knowing how to connect the trailer to your vehicle, and how to drive your vehicle so that the trailer remains under control at all times.
While pulling a trailer with your pickup truck doesn’t have to be a scary experience, it certainly is different than just driving your truck with nothing attached to the hitch. Pulling a trailer requires a different style of driving, and you will have to make that adjustment as soon as you hit the road for your next trip. If you try to drive your vehicle the same way with the trailer as without, you could soon find yourself in a dangerous situation.
Respect the Weight of the Trailer
One of the first lessons you need to learn that relates to safe RV towing is that you should always respect the weight of the trailer behind you. As you drive down the road, it is crucial that you remember how much weight is behind you – and how much additional time it will take to stop the vehicle. When you apply the brakes in your truck, the trailer is going to continue pushing you forward until enough stopping force is applied. This is a dramatically different experience than normal, everyday driving. It is key that you pay attention at all times during your trip and always remember that your stopping distance will be significantly longer when you are pulling a trailer.
Don’t Ask Too Much from Your Truck
To give yourself the best chance at a safe and relaxing RV experience, be sure to use a vehicle that has plenty of power to handle the trailer you are pulling. If you push the limits of what your truck is capable of pulling, you may find that you encounter some trouble spots along the way. Specifically, trying to start your rig on an uphill slope could become a major problem if your vehicle is underpowered for the task at hand. When you are buying your RV (or your truck), leave yourself plenty of margin for error so that you can be confident you will have enough power for the job.
Packing is Important
When you are packing up the trailer for your trip, keep in mind that you want the weight of the trailer to be as evenly distributed as possible. If you were to load up the majority of the weight on one side of the trailer, you may find that the vehicle is highly unstable on the road – especially at high speeds. Any heavy items that you place into the trailer should be carefully planned as to avoid an imbalance of the load.
Always Test Your Connection
Never head out onto the road without first testing the lights of your trailer to make sure everything is fully operational. To complete these tests, it may be helpful to have two-way radios that you and your traveling companion can use to communicate. As you sit in the cab pressing on the brakes, your helper can walk around the perimeter of the rig and let you know if everything is functioning as it should. This test should only take a minute or two, but it can go a long way toward keeping you safe.
No Room for a Lead Foot
In general, the best advice when pulling a trailer is simply to be patient. You aren’t going to make the same kind of time as you would in a little sports car, so relax and enjoy the trip. Most of the time, you will be better off in the right hand lane, and always be sure to let faster traffic pass when possible. You want to avoid sudden movements such as quick turns of the steering wheel or aggressive application of the brakes. Try to drive smoothly to and from your destination, and always respect the size of the vehicle that you are operating.
Do You Have Any Other Tips For Towing? Let’s hear them in the comments below.