Perhaps you have been towing trailers and boats for a long time. But even as a veteran, there are still some ways you can improve your towing skills, and thus, be a safer tower. Continue reading to review some of the basic rules for towing safety, and test yourself to see if you are being as safe as you can on the road.
Use the Proper Set Up
The most important tip for towing is to use the right towing set-up. This means matching the load weight with the right capacity trailer hitch, and using the right type of vehicle for the tow. There is a reason why towing capacity exists. There are several consequences to ignoring a vehicle’s towing limit. This includes safety hazards, mechanical damages, and more. The most dangerous, and common, consequence to exceeding a vehicle’s towing capacity is losing the ability to brake. So be sure your car or truck is capable of towing the weight you need to haul. If you need to tow loads up to three thousand pounds, then be sure to purchase a vehicle that can tow that weight.
Safety Chains are Not Optional
One rule to always get right is to use safety chains, and good quality ones that are in good condition. Follow all the instructions laid out in the manufacturer’s manual for assembly and operation. Safety chains are not an option, they have to be used for any type of tow. They should cross in both directions underneath the trailer tongue. This way, if it detaches from the tongue, the hitch will not drop the load. Safety chains should never be attached to a bumper under any circumstances. There should also be enough slack in the chains for turning, but not so much that they drag on the ground. This is a commonly overlooked detail when assembling safety chains for a tow.
Always Double Check Your Lights
Before taking off on the road, always check the lights on the car or truck, as well as, the trailer. Be sure the brake lights are working, the flashers are functional, and the tail lights all work. Most importantly, the lights of the towing vehicle and the vehicle being towed are all in sync with each other. This is actually required by law and you will be pulled over, sited, and fined for failure to have working lights on your vehicles. For this reason, it is also important to know your towing laws, especially since they can change at any time. See our blog, “Know Your Boat Trailer Laws” just to be sure you are up to speed.
Know When You Need Help
Safe towing truly requires experience and practice. There are so many potential dangers and complications that can arise during a tow, so you can never have too much practice. But if you are ever in doubt about a certain tow, or do not feel confident that you can manage it on your own, it is strongly encouraged to consult a professional for advice or assistance. A licensed Indianapolis towing company can tell you whether or not your vehicle meets the tow capacity for your haul, give you professional advice, and even provide the tow service for you.