Close up of woman wearing shorts in the driver seat of a truck.

How to Tow a Trailer with Respect

Almost anyone can tow a trailer; however, towing a trailer with respect requires a bit more knowledge, experience, and skill. No matter your towing experience, you’re capable of becoming a driver who tows their trailer with respect.

Today we’ll share some of the best tips we’ve gathered for keeping you and others on the road safe while towing. Let’s take a look!

Close up of woman wearing shorts in the driver seat of a truck.

Don’t Be an Example of How NOT to Tow a Trailer

If you’ve been RVing long, you’ve likely been passed by a “towing expert.” Someone who thinks they know so much or have so much experience towing that the rules don’t apply to them. Don’t be this person.

When you’re towing thousands of pounds behind you, it’s not the time to show off your driving skills. Whether you’re towing an RV or any other kind of trailer, you should be driving responsibly and cautiously.

Don’t get in a hurry or feel pressured by other drivers. Make sure you communicate with other drivers before changing lanes and give plenty of space to other vehicles. By doing a few simple things while towing, you can be an example to other drivers and your passengers.

How to Tow a Trailer with Respect

We have a handful of suggestions for you on how to tow a trailer with respect. Let’s dive in.

Don’t Speed

Speeding will cost you whether you’re towing or not. Officers may even be less forgiving if they catch you speeding while towing. Expect a hefty ticket. Plus, the faster you’re traveling, the harder your engine has to work, so you waste fuel as well. 

US speed limit sign listing 45mph

Don’t Ride Someone’s Bumper

When you’re pulling a trailer behind you, it’s going to increase your stopping distance. If you’re riding someone’s bumper, you better hope they don’t stop quickly. Following a smaller vehicle with a shorter stopping distance is a recipe for rear-ending the vehicle in front of you.

To tow a trailer with respect, you should always keep a lot of space between you and the vehicle in front of you. You should be aware that smaller vehicles may see this space and use it for maneuvering and changing lanes. If a vehicle does move into the lane, slow down to create more distance between your vehicle and theirs.

Stay in Your Lane

It’s crucial when towing to stay in the appropriate lane. Because you’re probably not the fastest vehicle on the road, you shouldn’t ride in the fast lane.

If you’re following the proper speeds while towing, you shouldn’t be passing too many people anyway. Clogging up the fast lane is an excellent way to anger other drivers by reducing traffic flow.

Only use the fast lane when actively passing. You should also exit the fast lane as soon as it’s safe to do so. 

Use Safety Precautions to Avoid Accidents on the Road

When you’re towing, you need every advantage you can get to avoid accidents. Using a tire pressure monitoring system is a great way to stay aware of the pressure and temperature of your trailer’s tires. 

If you’re towing a travel trailer, sway bars provide support to help avoid sway. Trailer sway can be serious, especially in high winds. If sway gets out of control, you could lose control of your RV.

Don’t Let Traffic Intimidate You

Driving in new and unfamiliar areas can be intimidating. You may find yourself in a situation where there’s a long line of traffic behind you. One of the worst things you can do is allow the situation to get to you where you feel pressure to drive faster. In these situations, drivers behind you may be annoyed.

However, if you were to speed up and cause an accident, they’re going to be stuck in a much longer line. If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable while driving, pull over and let the traffic pass.

If you find yourself in a situation with fast-moving traffic and multiple lanes, stay in your lane and allow them to pass. You won’t need to change lanes often when passing through larger cities. Slow down and take your time.

Always Be Mindful of Other Drivers

One of the best ways to tow a trailer with respect is to be aware of other drivers. You should be checking your blind spots constantly.

You may even use cameras that monitor blind spots to stay aware of your surroundings. It’s also essential that you have proper towing mirrors to minimize dangerous blind spots.

Be Sure All Your Lights Are Working Properly

Before hitting the road, ensure that all of your lights and indicators are functioning. Some sections of the road require drivers to use headlights to increase visibility. Law enforcement may have something to say if your tail lights or turn signals aren’t functioning correctly.

Do a Brake Check

You should always do a brake check before hitting the road. If you’re going to discover your brakes aren’t functioning, it’s better to do it before pulling out of your campsite than while coasting down a mountain pass.

Plan Your Route Ahead of Time

You should never just hit the open roads without a plan. This helps you avoid getting stuck on impassable roads, low bridges, or roads with weight restrictions.

Resources are available to help plan your route. You can even get RV-specific GPS units that will alert you if you’re on an unsafe route.

Over the shoulder of a brunette woman wearing glasses and using her smart phone.

Use Common Sense and Safety Precautions When Towing 

Towing a trailer with respect often boils down to using common sense and a handful of safety precautions. Not being in a hurry is a great way to avoid making bad decisions while towing and keep you and your fellow passengers safe.

We’re confident that you’ll have a great towing experience when you follow these tips, even when things don’t go according to plan. What’s your best towing safety tip?

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