Driving Safely With a Trailer

July 31, 2018, 6:00

Showing off their honed backing up skills is a point of pride for those who know how to maneuver a long trailer into place. Backing up with a trailer is almost an artform when navigating a tricky turn into or out of a driveway, and those with the know-how have acquired this ability over many trials and errors. For everyone else, consider taking it slow and following the following tips.

Be Mindful of Your Speed

There is a reason why one in 10 fatalities involves a tractor trailer, according to the Insurance Information Institute: They are hard to stop, they are large, and they are difficult to maneuver. A pickup with a trailer is similar in a lot of ways. A trailer adds considerable risk of losing control when you get up to speed or navigate a sharp corner without slowing down enough. The weight of the load, combined with a relatively narrow wheelbase (a trailer can essentially double the length of your vehicle but does not add any width), causes instability at high speed. Novice drivers may find themselves out of control when overcorrecting, which can put them in a ditch or cause a head-on collision or rollover. Another factor is wind. High speeds combined with a strong gusting wind is also something that you should be aware of while you drive with a trailer, especially when it is loaded down with cargo.

Check Your Side View Mirrors

There is no such thing as a “blind spot” if you adjust your mirrors correctly and use side view mirror extensions when carrying particularly long trailers. If you make a turn and cut someone off, or change lanes and side-swipe a motorcyclist or small car, not only will you be at fault, but you could also cause serious injuries or even a fatality. When driving a trailer, you need to give extra attention to the road at all times, especially when changing lanes, merging, or making turns. Put your phone away, and check your mirrors and look over both shoulders every time.

Additional Tips

Drivingtests.org also recommends the following:

  • Make sure the hitch and trailer are attached properly;
  • Practice backing up in a large parking lot, and make small adjustments;
  • When backing up, avoid making sharp turns that will cause the trailer to jackknife; and
  • When parking in a small lot, make sure you have extra room to get out afterward by taking up multiple spaces that you do not really need.

Call Marcus/Allard Pickup Truck Rental Today

If you have a boat, moving box, or any other type of trailer that needs to be hauled with a capable pickup, Marcus/Allard Truck Rental is fully stocked with Ford F-150s, which are the ideal vehicle for pulling trailers. Contact us to reserve your truck today.