L2P – Towing
First time towing? It can be tough. Everything seems normal going forward, until you break and the trailer starts to push you from behind. And reversing? The first time I towed a trailer I only drove it forwards and took it off the car to turn around.
Before you even hook the trailer up, ensure you have gone through the following:
Is the trailer registered on it’s own?
If it’s a small trailer does it display the same registration as the car that is towing it?
Is the car powerful enough to tow?
Is the tow ball fitted & secured correctly?
Are it’s tyres properly fitted, in good condition, and inflated correctly?
Take your time to connect the trailer. Reverse the car up to the trailer, or move the trailer into position behind the car. If it has a jockey wheel (the removable extra wheel near on the towing arm), raise it up so it is just higher than the towball, move it over the towball, and lower into place.
The trailer must be:
On the tow ball securely. Make sure you lift the latch as it drops into place
Connected by the chain (in case the trailer jumps the tow ball)
Lights must be connected AND checked that they are working
Ok. So you once you’re all connected and ready to go, what do you need to know?
1. Make sure anything in the trailer, even in a cage trailer is tied down securely – the driver is responsible for this. As much as you can, put heavy things in the trailer as close to being over it’s axle as possible, down low and after that for weight to be distributed equally.
2. Plan ahead – know the route you are taking, and where you plan to park when you get there. This will avoid you having to turn around in spaces that may be difficult. Anywhere that you need to reverse the trailer you’ll need plenty of room. When parking make sure both car and trailer are parked legally and not blocking access.
3. Start off with a drive around a quiet few streets to get a feel for the trailer. If it has a heavy load it will put pressure on the car turning, and braking. Make sure you brake early to allow for it. On corners, don’t take them too sharply, keep as wide as you can in your lane. If the weather or road conditions are bad, reduce your speed.
4. Don’t forget to know how tall and wide the trailer is if it’s bigger than your car. Remember when going into carparks and tunnels that may have reduced heights and widths.
5. When reversing a trailer, things can get tricky. Turning the wheel to the left makes the trailer go right. Turning the wheel to the right makes the trailer go left. The trailer will only go straight back when both the car and trailer are pointing straight together – so often you will need to drive forward a little to line both up before going straight back. Be careful not to make any turns too sharply when reversing or you risk ‘jack-knifing’ (when the trailer and the car end up next to each other in a tight V).
If you’re on your Red P’s, then sorry, towing isn’t allowed unless it’s for work, or you have a full licenced driver sitting next to you.