1. Understand Towing Capacity
Never exceed your vehicle's towing capacity. For example, you may think that just because you have a truck, you can tow a boat, but if the boat and trailer are heavier than your towing capacity, you can find yourself in deep water (literally!).
2. Use the Right Hitch
Buying the right hitch is crucial if your vehicle is not already equipped with a manufacturer's towing package. Your hitch must not only match your vehicle's towing capacity but must be the appropriate hitch for the load you are carrying.
3. Are All Brakes in Sync?
Make sure that the brakes and lights on your car or truck are in sync with the brakes and lights on your trailer. Your trailer brakes and brake lights should go on when your car/truck's brakes and brake lights go on.
4. Weight Distribution is Critical
Make sure your load is distributed appropriately for weight. Incorrect weight distribution can cause your trailer to flip with devastating consequences for you and others on the road.
5. Perform a Maintenance Check on Your Vehicle
Make sure your car is in good condition before you head out. Towing can add extra stress to your vehicle, accelerating repair issues for vehicles that are not properly maintained.
6. Practice Driving with Your Trailer
Driving when hauling is a completely different experience, so practice accelerating and stopping, backing up, turning corners, and even parking before heading off on your road trip.
7. Plan on Safety Checks During Your Drive
It is a good idea to plan stops every 50-60 miles to check on your trailer and make sure the lights and brakes are working, the tires are inflated, and the load is secure.
8. Slow Down!
If you are driving too fast, and need to stop suddenly, you can cause your vehicle and trailer to slide, skid, jackknife, or even flip over.
9. Know the Law - Towing Laws Vary from State to State
As you embark on your road trip, you may be crossing one, or multiple, states. Do your research, look online and read up on towing laws for the states where you will be traveling.
10. Carry Emergency Equipment
Carry an emergency kit in case you breakdown or find yourself on the side of the road with a flat tire.
The information and advice provided above is general and intended to be a starting point to gather information about towing practices. You should not rely solely on the information contained herein as it may not be suitable for your particular automobile or situation. Please consult your vehicle and trailer owner’s manual before attempting to tow anything.
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