With Autumn on the horizon and thoughts turning to the Easter long weekend, we thought now would be the perfect time to share our top tips when it comes to towing and make sure you have a safe getaway
Before you leave:
- Ensure your vehicle is capable of towing. Your manual will give you the information in regards to your vehicle’s capacity of being able to tow. The manual will also tell you the maximum weight that your vehicle can safely tow.
- When you are hitching up to your vehicle, ensure that the tow ball and the trailer hitch fit well. This will prevent the hitch from falling off the tow ball if you end up going over some bumpy terrain.
- Once you’ve connected the lights cable from the caravan/trailer to your vehicle, ensure you test the lights. We want you to be as safe as possible and it would be incredibly unsafe if other motorists can’t see your brake lights when you are slowing down or stopping.
- After you’ve loaded up your caravan/trailer, have a look at the load to make sure there’s nothing hanging outside its parameters. Not only is this dangerous for other motorists, it could be illegal. If you’re towing a trailer, cover your load with a tarp and firmly secure.
- Check the tyres to ensure they’re holding the weight of your load and aren’t deflating.
Once you’re all packed and ready to hit the road, remember the following:
- Weather conditions can affect how you drive when towing. Ensure you pay attention to how the weather is behaving and adjust your driving accordingly. As you’re driving, check the trees on the side of the road as you are going past, to see which direction the wind is blowing from. The wind direction will affect your driving responses, especially when towing. If you experience a cross wind, make sure you slow down so you don’t get blown off the road.
- Always remember to leave extra room between you and the cars in front. As you’re driving uphill, remember it will take your vehicle longer to respond when you put your foot down. And as you’re heading downhill, always remember to choose a low gear so your brakes don’t have to work so hard.
- Reversing can be quite difficult, as everything happens in opposites. When reversing, it’s best to start off in a straight line then slowly reverse back. If this isn’t possible, just remember to steer the opposite way to which you need to go and do it slowly! If you’re a little nervous, or haven’t towed before have a little practice at home before you leave.
- When your car’s towing an extra load, it’s putting extra strain on the engine so make sure to keep an eye on your temperature gauge and pull over if it starts to overheat.
- Show courtesy to other drivers. Towing will mean you’re going a little slower, so why not just pull over and let other drivers pass? That way everyone’s happy and less stressed.
If you need any help with your vehicle or trailer at any point, our VACC members will be more than happy to help! Find your nearest one here.