If you have a new baby, you might slap a "baby on board" sticker to your rear windshield to brag and hope that other drivers will drive more cautiously around you. When you are hauling or towing a vehicle, however, you might not slap a sticker to your rear windshield, but you are certainly carrying valuable cargo that requires other motorists to dive more cautiously around you as well.
Here are a few tips to help you and the vehicle you are hauling or towing arrive safely to your destination:
Before Hitting the Road
Safe car hauling should begin with a trailer safety check. Here's a quick checklist to go through before loading the vehicle you're hauling onto your trailer:
- Tire Pressure - during a long trip, trailer wheels, particularly smaller varieties, can become dangerously hot and risk blowing out mid-journey. To reduce friction and keep your trailer wheels cool, you should fill each wheel to its maximum recommended PSI. Additionally, if your trip spans multiple days, you'll want to check and refill the tires before you start driving each day.
- Signals - it takes longer to perform any driving maneuver when you are hauling a vehicle. Thus, signaling is even more important when you have a vehicle in tow. Before setting off on your trip, check to make sure that your trailer turn signal, brake lights, and hazard flashers are in proper working order. If a signal does't work, try disconnecting and re-connecting your trailer socket plug. If that doesn't work, you should be sure to have a number of circuit plugs on hand to replace any defective circuits.
- Chains and Tie Downs - your safety chains and tie downs keep your vehicle secure during your journey. If a single chain or tie down becomes loose, your vehicle can bounce or shift, particularly when you hit a bumpy stretch of road. These shifts can cause dangerous maneuverability issues. Thus, whenever you stop always double-check your safety chain and tie downs.
Maneuvering on the Road
Now that you are on the road, you'll need to make sure that you adjust how you drive.
- Wide Turns - it seems like every 18-wheeler features a sticker warning that it makes wide turns. When you are towing or hauling a vehicle, your turns will need to be equally wider. This means that you'll need to angle slightly away from the turn as you come into it; you'll also need to drive further (angling the wheel straight) into the turn before you cut the wheel. If you have the time, you should practice turning in an empty parking lot or on a relatively empty street.
- Signaling - when you're towing a vehicle, it takes longer to stop, turn, or accelerate. Thus, you'll need to signal early and often. For instance, if you're making a left on a busy highway, you'll want to flip-on your turning signal 5 to 10 seconds earlier than you would if you were driving unencumbered.
- Parking - many car hauling accidents occur when drivers attempt to maneuver in close quarters like gas stations or congested parking lots. Particularly, backing up can be very difficult for novice car haulers. If possible, simply don't back-up if you don't have to. This means pulling into gas station spaces that you can drive out of without reversing course. Additionally, when parking in a congested parking lot, it's always a good idea to park in swath of open spaces. This ensures that other drivers won't box you in or create issues when you attempt to leave.
If you are towing or hauling a vehicle, you are undertaking a driving feat that presents a number of challenges. When you're hauling a vehicle, you are maneuvering two vehicles simultaneously. Making it from point A to point B safely requires planning ahead and vigilance during your journey.
For more tips and information, talk with the trailer company or other car hauling companies, such as Route 12 Rental Co Inc..