6. Balance Load
Loading your trailer correctly is important. Be sure you have plenty of D-hooks and tie-down points for you car and equipment.
Loading your car and equipment is a very important part of towing safely. The load should be centered over the trailer’s axles. If the weight is too far back, it can cause the trailer to sway, which can result in a lack of control at highway speeds. Put the load too far forward and the truck is carrying more of the load than it should. This cause premature wear in shocks, springs, and tires.
7. Proper Strapping
Good quality straps are extremely important. If you see excessive wear or tears in your straps, replace them immediately. Strapping your car and equipment is also extremely important. Be sure the straps are clear and any suspension components or other equipment that could sever a strap. There a couple of schools of thought when it comes to strapping a car. Some people cross straps, which keeps the car straight. While this does keep the car straight, if a strap does brake, the other diagonal strap will pull the car to that side of the trailer. At that point there are essentially no straps keeping the car tied down. If you keep the straps as straight as possible, any one strap can brake the car will stay in place.
Trailer brakes should be inspected often. What good are having trailer brakes if they don’t work? Be sure the shoes are in good shape and all electrical connections are solid. If you trailer through a hilly part of the country, trailer brakes can really be a lifesaver!
Let’s be honest, you need the people around you to be able to see you on your way home from the track. It’s easy to overlook the lights on your trailer, but you should inspect the marker lights, brake lights, and flashers every time you use your trailer.
10. Safety Chains
In the event your trailer breaks away from your truck, the safety chains are there to catch it. It sounds simple, but most people connect these incorrectly. Safety chains have to be crossed without excessive slack to be effective. When you cross them, they will catch the tongue of the trailer if breaks away. Without the chains crossed, the tongue of the trailer will dig into the ground. This could result in a complete loss of control, and with other drives around you, that’s the last thing you want.
Trailering isn’t all about your trailer. Tuners for late-model trucks can give you more power and better fuel efficiency. With the price of fuel as high as it is, any saving you can get at the pump are greatly appreciated!
The biggest safety aspect of trailering is you. You have to drive smart! Tailgating, speeding, or changing lanes too quickly can lead to accidents or damaged equipment because trucks and trailers aren’t designed to handle that. Slow down and take your time. Also be sure to drive with plenty of rest. The effects of fatigue are amplified with a trailer behind you. You need to be rested so you can react with plenty of time to whatever may happen on the road.
Be sure to give the structure of your trailer a thorough inspection. If your trailer has suspension, be sure to inspect it regularly. Broken spring shackles like this one to the right can lead to some serious damage!