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Trailer Safety Week: Driving Tips

This week is Trailer Safety Week! While trailer safety is important year-round, use this time to properly educate yourself on trailer safety! There are millions of trailers on the roads today. From recreational use to business use and even government use, trailers play an important role on our roads. It’s essential to mind safety for the wellbeing of everyone on the road!

Pre-Departure Considerations

Before driving off with your trailer in tow, do a quick check to ensure everything is ready for the roads.

  • Check the tire pressure of your vehicle and the trailer.
  • Ensure that all the parts that connect the trailer to the vehicle are connected properly and there are no missing parts or malfunctioning pieces. Make any adjustments if needed.
  • Make sure that the brake lights on the trailer are working properly.
  • Double-check that all items are properly fastened.
  • Check the breakaway system.
  • Adjust your mirrors in your vehicle and ensure visibility!
  • Plan out your route before you go. Are there any bridges, or underpasses that might not allow your trailer through?

Once you’ve completed your pre-departure check, then you can start heading out on the road. Doing a quick check can help mitigate risks that you might face during your drive.

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Slow Down

When driving with a trailer attached to your vehicle, be sure to slow down! Some states have a speed limit of 55mph when towing. Increase your distance from the car ahead of you. As a general rule of thumb, you should keep about 5 seconds or about 365 feet between you and the car ahead. With a trailer attached, regardless of size, it will take longer to brake, so it’s important to take this into account. 

Turning

The amount of space you need while turning is increased with a trailer in tow. Make sure to account for this extra space. Watch out for curbs, corners, and other cars. The type of attachment you have can affect the turning radius. For instance, gooseneck or fifth wheel attachment has a tighter turn radius as compared to a ball mount attachment.

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Backing Up

Backing up with a trailer attached can be challenging. One good option is to have another person spotting you and helping to watch your blind spots as your reverse. Remember that the trailer will move in the opposite direction of your vehicle when backing up. Don’t be afraid to pull forward and try again if you aren’t successful the first time.

You can use this method to help guide your turns while in reverse:

  1. Hold the bottom of the steering wheel
  2. To turn left, move your hand to the left
  3. To turn right you move your hand to the right

Once you are in the desired position, make sure to use the parking brake, and avoid parking on hills. 

Insurance

Help protect yourself and others on the road with insurance for your trailer. Trailers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Different trailers are used for different activities. Talk to your insurance agent to find out what type of coverage you might need for your trailer. Some people may find that liability insurance might be useful. Others may want comprehensive coverage to help cover damages or theft. You should also consider coverage for the contents of your trailer, if applicable. Let your insurance agent know the specifics of your situation to help best protect you. 

Chat with an Encharter agent today: 413.475.7283!
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For additional information about trailer safety, head to https://www.trailersafetyweek.com/

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