Towing a vehicle on a trailer can be a convenient way to transport your car or truck, but it also comes with its own set of risks. To ensure a safe journey, it's important to keep these risks in mind and take appropriate precautions.
One of the most important safety features of a trailer is its safety chains. These chains should always be installed and hooked to the trailer hitch, crossing underneath the tongue.
They should be long enough to support the trailer’s tongue and allow it to turn without causing any damage, and heavy enough to add stability to the trailer. The recommended weight of the safety chain is 10% to 12% of the total weight of the trailer.
Proper tyre pressure is crucial when towing a vehicle. It's important to check the recommended pound-per-square-inch (psi) level listed on the vehicle's owner’s manual or placard.
Underinflated tyres can result in serious accidents and additional risks due to friction and tyre blowout. Incorrect tyre pressure can also cause a vehicle to lose control when towing.
Maintaining the correct tongue weight when towing is critical for safe handling and braking distances. The amount of tongue weight should be between nine and fifteen percent of the towing vehicle's gross trailer weight.
Improperly calculated tongue weight can result in a serious accident, so it's important to check all the technical requirements of your specific trailer type. You can find more information on technical requirements at the website of the Department of Infrastructure & Transport.
Improperly Mated Trailer
When trailers are not mated properly, they can impact your ability to turn smoothly, navigate roadside obstacles and can create a fire hazard if the metal chains are coming in contact with the road.
Moreover, trailers have a limited turning radius, and if sharp turns are taken, it can cause the load to shift, which may lead to damage to the wheels and tyres, and even blowouts.
To prevent these problems, the driver should make sure that 60% of the cargo is in the front and 40% is in the back, and ensure that the cargo is secured.
Overworking Your Tow Vehicle
One of the most common errors made during towing is overtaxing the tow vehicle, which can lead in harm to the engine or transmission and even cause the vehicle to break down.
Monitoring the temperature gauges on your tow vehicle is essential to avoid overheating or underheating, and stopping immediately if the temperature readings are excessively high or low.
You can also help alleviate the strain on the transmission by reducing the speed of your tow vehicle and avoiding steep inclines.