It's summertime, and that means it's time to head out into the woods and camp. Unfortunately, far too many drivers hit the road for camping season without knowing how to properly tow their camper trailer. This is incredibly dangerous for everyone on the road, and something that can be easily avoided with just a little bit of research and preparation.
In this article we will discuss the ins and outs of towing a bumper-pull travel trailer. We will discuss some of the most common mistakes people make and how you can avoid the same problems.
Check Your Weight
All travel trailers have a weight limit. Additionally, all trucks have a towing weight limit. Unfortunately, not all travel trailer owners know the limits of their setup. By learning your weight limits, you can ensure you and your family are safe during travel.
Balance Things Out
Besides weight limits, it is also important to ensure you load your trailer up evenly. This means making sure cabinets are equally full on both sides of the trailer and checking that neither the front nor the back end weighs significantly more than the rest of the rig.
Hitch Up Correctly
Purchasing a high-quality hitch that can handle the weight of your trailer is crucial to your towing safety. An anti-sway bar is also a necessary investment. Of course, learning to properly use your hitch and anti-sway bar is also imperative; otherwise, your high-quality hitch purchase is just money down the drain.
Test Your Lights and Signals
Working tail lights and turn signals are a requirement for safe and legal driving. Fortunately, plugging your trailer into your truck in order to get these necessary lights shouldn't be a problem. That said, it can be easy to forget to plug in, and sometimes the plug doesn't get pushed in quite enough. Therefore, it's a good idea to check your lights before every trip to ensure they are working properly.
Make Brakes a Priority
Many vehicles that are large enough to tow a trailer will come equipped with a trailer braking system. However, not all do. For this reason, it is important that you double-check for a braking system on your vehicle and learn how to properly use it.
Change Tires Regularly
A tire blowout when towing a trailer can be incredibly dangerous. Fortunately, this situation can very easily be avoided by checking your truck and trailer tires regularly and immediately replacing tires that seem worn in any way.
Turning becomes just a bit more difficult when you are pulling a travel trailer. For this reason, it tends to be a good idea to get in some turning practice in a big, empty parking lot before hitting the road. When practicing, be sure to focus on turning slowly and making your turns as wide as possible in order to avoid running over curbs and hitting nearby objects.
Account for Slower Stops
When you are pulling a lot of extra weight, stopping tends to take a bit longer. This is because the trailer actually continues pushing your vehicle as you apply the brakes. In order to ensure this isn't an issue, make sure to leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you, and give yourself a good amount of time to stop.
Pack for an Emergency
While nobody likes to think about what could go wrong on a vacation, it is important to consider the possibilities and pack accordingly. A spare truck tire, as well as an extra tire for the trailer, should always be kept on hand. Additionally, tools to change a tire and an emergency kit with reflectors, a flashlight, blankets, water, and jumper cables should be stowed in the truck.
Invest in Roadside Assistance
If something goes wrong while towing your travel trailer, you may be at a loss for what to do. For this reason, it is crucial that all trailer owners invest in a good roadside assistance program. The AAA Plus RV option is a perfect example of an RV-friendly roadside assistance that can help you out when something's not right.
Are you ready to enroll in a roadside assistance program so you can rest easy on your next camping trip? Please contact us at AAA North Jersey for information on the various options we offer.