Blog - Trailer World

Trailer World
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Operating a trailer can be a huge undertaking. Seemingly minor adjustments, such as adding a few hundred kilos to the rear, can have a significant impact on your vehicle's stability. However, towing a trailer can and should be simple and safe with the proper knowledge and equipment. So, if you are new to hauling or are having troubles with it, the information below can assist you in towing easily and safely.

Before you hit the road:

  1. Make sure the trailer's towing capability matches the cargo weight before attaching it to a vehicle.  Look up the actual weight capacity of your towing vehicle in the owner's manual and on the tow bar itself.  Also, keep in mind to include the weight of the trailer in your estimates.
  2. Ensure that the trailer is securely attached to the hitch. The trailer coupling should be correctly fastened to the vehicle tow ball, with the locking mechanism snapped and the lock pin in the right position, for a conventional ball hitch. If the hitch isn't properly secured, it may come loose and cause damage to the vehicles and others around it. A trailer connection to a vehicle should also have a safety chain connecting the car and the trailer, for 2500kg rating this requires twin chains criss-crossing in an X pattern. 
  3. Check the trailer connection by trying to pull it off the hitch, which you should not be able to do. If you managed to pull the hitch off, it has to be reattached. Also, make sure the connection is clear and that all trailer wheels or stands are in the up or driving position.
  4. After that, check the trailer tail light, brake lights and indicators. Connect the trailer's electrical wires to the vehicle's electrical system. In case no one is around to let you know whether the lights work properly when you apply the brakes, find and utilise some reflective surface (such as a window or another vehicle) or check in the dark.
  5. Make sure to spend enough time practising towing your trailer before going into traffic. The best way to get used to maneuvering is to drive around your neighbourhood or an open car park. You don't want inexperience to slow you down or cause you to make mistakes when you're in the middle of a busy road.  
If the hitch and trailer connection is secure, the signals are working, and you’ve spent enough time practising towing your trailer around, you're good to go.

On the road:

Now that you're on your way to your next location, there are a few things to remember that will keep you safe on the road.
  1. Whether you're new to towing or have driven multiple trailers previously, you should always remember the speed limit for trailer towing is 90 kmph.  Keep in mind that the bigger the load, the longer it will take you to come to a halt. Stay well away from the cars in front of you, and test your vehicle's and trailer's stopping length before coming to a sudden stop, so you know what you're dealing with.
  2. One of the hardest tasks when towing a trailer is making turns. Drivers must allow more width on corners, taking them wide enough so that the trailer's path does not take it off the road or in contact with street-side structures, even if it doesn't seem that there might be a need for it. When you cut a corner with a trailer, you put the trailer, pedestrians, other drivers, and yourself in danger. Stay calm and stop if you start a turn too tight. Make sure the road behind you is free, then back up a little and widen the curve. 
  3. Parking can also become a challenge. When towing a large trailer, small parking lots may be nearly impossible to use. If you do manage to squeeze your vehicle and trailer into a parking spot, or several parking spots, make sure you have enough room to exit the lot later. It's recommended to park in a far corner of a car park where there are few other vehicles.
  4. Take steps to check the connection. Even if you double-checked all of your connections and everything is in order, there's still the chance that something in the road will jostle the trailer a little. It's a good idea to pull over every now and then, especially on lengthy or bumpy journeys, to double-check that everything is still connected.
There is a lot that goes into safely operating a trailer from one point to another. Make sure to follow these steps and allow yourself plenty of time to practice driving with a trailer to build your skill. For additional helpful information regarding safer towing, contact our trailer experts at Trailer World on 0800 286 966 or send us your enquiries through our website.