Towing Safely

Towing Safely

Towing a trailer will alter the way the car performs. Acceleration will be slower and stopping will take longer, particularly when going downhill. The car may not go around bends as well and the trailer will cut in more on tight corners. Side winds and passing traffic (particularly large trucks) may affect stability as can bumps and undulations in the road. Consequently, towing a trailer can be more stressful and fatiguing for the driver.

Safety Tips

Maintain a greater space to the vehicle in front to allow for the longer stopping distance

Provide extra distance when overtaking other vehicles as this will take much longer.

Select a lower gear on long or steep downhill grades to increase control and conserve the brakes.

Avoid sudden lane changes or swerving to reduce the risk of developing sway. Gentle manoeuvring (and braking) is most important with horse floats as sudden movements could injure the horse. Sudden movements may also make the horse move which could cause the float to sway.

Be cautious in high winds or when passing large oncoming vehicles as buffeting may induce sway.

If sway develops, the car brakes should not be applied (except as an absolute last resort). A steady speed or slight acceleration should be maintained until the sway has ceased. Alternatively, if the trailer brakes can be applied independently, gentle application of the trailer brakes will restore stability.

Keep an eye on following traffic as they will have more difficulty passing you and a long queue can quickly develop. Where possible make provision for this queue to overtake you. On some narrow roads this may mean pulling over and stopping occasionally.

Take more frequent rest breaks or driver changes. At these rest breaks and/or driver changes the condition of the car and trailer should be checked.