Is It OK to Speed When Towing a Trailer?
When you’re towing an RV trailer, slow is the way to go. We understand the urge to rush off toward your destination, but lowering your speed pays off in the long run.
How fast is too fast? Let’s look at how fast you should be going while towing and why.
Can You Speed When Towing a Trailer?
Sometimes we’ll see a car or truck zoom past us on the highway. We might think, just for a second, that it’s OK to fall in behind them and pick up our pace. But it’s never a good idea to exceed the speed limit while towing a trailer, even briefly.
In fact, going under the speed limit rather than over is a much better approach. Let’s take a look at what’s safe – and what’s not – when towing a trailer.
What Is the Recommended Maximum Speed When Towing a Trailer?
In some states, RVs have to follow the same posted speed limits as commercial trucks. Though it’s not always the law, it’s still a good practice. As a general rule, this means not going faster than 65 mph on interstates.
We like to slow things down even more, however. Driving between 60 and 63 seems to be a sweet spot, but we recommend rolling at 55 mph whenever possible.
We realize that in some fast-moving situations, you may pose a hazard by creeping along or at least feel like you’re in the way. Sometimes, during peak traffic rushes, it’s better to pull over for a while and simply get out of the way.
Besides the safety issues, traveling at lower speeds has additional advantages. You’ll save some money on fuel costs, and you’re much less likely to get a speeding ticket. This means money savings not only in fines and court costs but also from jacked-up insurance premiums.
Best Practices When Towing a Trailer
Towing a trailer isn’t for speed demons, so leave your lead foot at home. By taking things a bit more slowly, you’ll lose some time, but you’ll gain lots of peace of mind.
Shaving a few digits off your mph reduces the risk of trailer sway, which can be very dangerous. Tires can blow out if you go too fast.
Over time, it will also mean less wear and tear on your tow vehicle and your RV trailer. Here are some other things you can do to be safe while towing a trailer.
Staying alert and driving defensively can help you avoid a collision. By slowing down and not following too closely, you have more time to react to other drivers.
You can more easily anticipate when the vehicles in front of you are slowing down or preparing to turn. Not tailgating is always a good practice, but it’s even more important when you have a heavy trailer at your rear.
Shift into Lower Gears
Don’t ride your brakes to maintain the lower speeds. Shift your transmission down into a lower gear, especially when going downhill.
This means less stress on your brakes because the engine itself assists in slowing you down. Driving in tow/haul mode or with your overdrive off has a similar benefit.
Read up on these features in your tow vehicle’s manual to fully understand them.
Stay in the Slow Lane
This is where you’re going to live for a while, so make yourself comfortable. At first, you may feel like the entire world is passing you by.
As you get used to calling the slow lane home, you’ll discover that it has many benefits. It’s less hectic on this side, and it’s much easier to navigate highway exits.
Can You Use Cruise Control While Towing?
Using cruise control will keep you from speeding, but it’s not always the best idea. It’s OK to use cruise control when you’re towing on flat ground. In fact, this should cause no problems at all as long as you’re safely within your towing limits.
On hills, however, using cruise control can put more stress on the engine and transmission. This is because cruise control has one mission, to remain at a constant speed. On inclines, it may have to shift between gears excessively to accomplish this. Your engine will rev, too, and could overheat as a result.
It’s a fact of RV life that a considerable part of the experience is the journey rather than the destination. Sometimes this means some long hours on the open roads between stops. But even if you get restless, it’s better not to get in a hurry. Play it safe while towing by easing up on the gas pedal. What highway speeds work best for you?
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