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Guide to Safe & Legal Towing

The Trailer must be matched to the Towing Vehicle

It is essential to ensure that your vehicle choose to haul your trailer is able to the task.

Make sure the engine has enough power to pull the trailer and load.
Verify whether the brakes are strong enough to stop your vehicle and trailer in a safe manner.
Verify that the Trailer’s Gross Weight is not greater than the capacity of the vehicle that is towing the trailer.

The loading of a trailer to a vehicle will undoubtedly affect the way it drives on the performance of the vehicle. The beginning, particularly when in a hill, may be difficult and stopping may take longer distances; and maneuvering sharp bends demands special care. Be sure to consider all of these aspects carefully before deciding to load (and transporting) the trailer.

Weight Distribution

There shouldn’t be any load projections that extend beyond the trailer which could pose the risk of injury to other road users.

When possible, loads must be evenly distributed over the trailer, and placed in a manner to keep the weight of the nose within the guidelines.

Follow the manufacturer’s advice and/or the maximum weight for the nose for your car. Check out “Attaching the Trailer”.

If load loads are to be distributed in order to be carried, be sure that each wheel/axle is not overloaded.

It might be necessary to lower the load overall in order to accomplish this.

Note: A good towing practice should always be considered in light of the potential effects on vehicle handling, braking, and general stability of the trailer behind the vehicle.

Risky loss of stability when loads become loose and move. Risk of the load breaking off of the truck.
The load is pushed forward as the equipment brakes. This can be particularly problematic in the case of bars, planks, and so on, laid across the front and back.
There is a significant chance of items that are light being lifted from an enclosed trailer due to the slipstream. Every item should be secured.

The practice of loading must consider:

Restrain yourself
The recommended weight for the nose.
Weight Distribution

Livestock Trailers and Horseboxes

If horses have to be pulled, they are likely to put the majority all of the load on hind legs. This is why horseboxes typically have two axles located behind the their centre.

(There are strict guidelines regarding the transportation of animals, the conditions of floors, partitions Tethering points, etc.)
Trailer Inspections Prior to Each Journey

The operator of the trailer and/or the owner of the towing vehicle should they be different, bears the responsibility of ensuring the safety running of the towing vehicle. It must carry out the following tests:

When the truck is loaded, is the load distributed correctly i.e. Not too much or small a weight on the nose?
Is the cargo in the trailer’s payload that is official? – i.e. not overloaded.
Is the total weight of the vehicle within the towing vehicle manufacturer’s recommended amount of towing (whether braked or not. )?
Are the loads properly secured?
Do all lights appear unaffected and are they working properly?
Are the 7 core cables and plug unharmed?
Do you have it the right number plate installed? (both numbers and design)
Does the breakaway cable or secondary coupling intact and properly connected to a suitable location at the top of the towbar or vehicle?
Are the pressures of the tyres correct and are all tyres clear of cuts, bulges and adequate tread (including those with spares)?
Tires need to have a constant tread depth of 1.60 millimetres on vehicles trailers, vans and light vehicles at the center three-quarters of the length (1mm for all other vehicles)
Are you sure that the wheel nuts/bolts have been adjusted to the right torque?
If necessary, Are the mudguards in good condition and safe?
Is the trailer properly connected to the trailer towing jaw, pin or towball?
Is the coupling’s height correct? I.e. not excessively nose down or up.

Be sure to follow the golden rules of towing

Make sure that the trailer’s level before it is connected to the vehicle towing it.
Check that the nose weight is between 50 to 100kg (unless the trailer is extremely light.)
Verify that the pressures of the tyres are in the right place.
Are the jockey wheel , as well as any corner steadyes or prop stands properly secured and fully

NB. Verify the operation of brakes and damper as soon as is possible following the beginning of the travel.
Attaching the trailer to the vehicle

Be organized about hitting up and undoing so that you don’t lose everything.

If the mirrors on your towcar don’t provide a clear view of the trailer, you need to install towing mirrors.

Use the handbrake on the trailer Remove any towball as well as electrical socket dust caps, and security devices, then turn the jockey wheel up to the desired size. Verify that the towball has been lightly oiled. (Not oil-lubricated) (If you are not using it with a head stabilizer.)

Have a friend stand with their hands and show you which way to go (place the broom on it if you’re in a room by yourself) and slowly reverse to reverse. The helper will let you know that you’re off the the line.

Lift the rear of the trailer using by the wheel jockey assembly until the height required, then roll the trailer towards the back of the vehicle towing it.

If the trailer is equipped with tandem axles, lift the trailer sufficiently to lift the front wheels off the ground for better maneuverability.

Don’t attempt to lift the front end of the trailer. Lower the trailer with the help using the wheel jockey assembly on the wheel of towing on the car.

Over the last foot , or more, your assistant will need to utilize their hands to demonstrate the distance between the towball and the head of coupling.

If you are forced to stop just a few inches you can determine the distance back you’re getting by comparing your forward wheels’ movements to something else on the ground.

Turn the jockey wheel downwards in order to bring the head of coupling to the towball.
Some coupling heads feature locks that stay up, and then locks automatically onto the ball. Others need to be held and could be equipped with an indicator to indicate that the ball is in position.

When the coupling head is to be locked it, turn the jockey wheel just a few turns and lift the rear of the vehicle in order to verify that the coupling head is in place properly. Then, fully raise the wheel prior to taking it off and then by locking it securely elevated. Make sure that the wheel is in the position that you locked isn’t impairing operating the mechanism for coupling overload.

Attach the safety breakaway cable(s) to the rear of your vehicle. This cable will trigger the hand brake in the event that for any reason, the trailer gets detached when towing. (Clip this breakaway cord on the rings that towbars come with or wrap over the bars being sure that it doesn’t get caught on the head of the coupling. Do not wrap it around the neck of the towball, unless there is an alternative.) Verify that the breakaway as well as the lighting cables are slack enough to corner, but they will not be in contact with the ground.

Plug in the light plug, and then check for lighting and indications. The electrical plug is only able to fit in one direction therefore, make sure you align its cut-out to the lug at the bottom of the socket. Certain cars have two sockets . You should choose the one that has the black flap as that one has a white flap intended for the caravan’s electrical systems that are supplementary to.

It is your duty as the driver to make sure that all lights are working. Turn on the car’s lighting and examine the trailer’s lights. While the ignition is on check that the right indicators are functioning as the car and trailer indicators do not match is a typical issue Then, ask someone else to determine whether the brake lights for the trailer are working. (If you’re alone you can use a stick that is short in between the brake pedal and your chair to hold your brake lever.)

Adjust the mirrors on both sides to ensure that a clear view of the side of the truck could be achieved. (If this is not possible, extensions mirrors must be installed).

In loading your trailer,, ensure that the weight is evenly distributed. The nose weight is an crucial element in making your trailer and your vehicle dry when towing. An insufficient nose weight can lead to problems with snaking. Overweighting the nose causes various other issues.

The weight of the nose should be at minimum 50kg when your outfit is stationary. Check the recommended weights of your trailer and vehicle manufacturers.

As a driver, it is your duty, as a driver, to make sure that your trailer or vehicle isn’t overloaded.

If the trailer comes with an eye coupling prior to connecting the trailer, make certain that the lock for the security of the towing pin has been installed correctly and the clip or safety pin is properly fitted.
(If this isn’t fitted (if this is not fitted), the trailer could be unhitched).

Lift and secure your jockey wheel. (If you don’t do this the wheel of the jockey could be damaged).

Driving with a Trailer

Speed limit:

Be sure to follow the legal speed limit of the route you’re on.

Limits on speed for cars towing caravans and trailers.

30mph limit is in effect on all roads that have street lighting, unless signs state that it is not the case.
50mph applies to single carriageways, unless signage indicates otherwise.
60mph is the limit on motorways and dual carriageways.

It is important to remember that you are not allowed to travel in the right-hand side of motorways that has three lanes or more when you’re driving a vehicle that is pulling the trailer.

Use your gear to the best of your abilities:

Always travel at the speed that is within your abilities and in accordance with the weather and road conditions that are in place at the time.
If your trailer starts to turn or swerve slow down the accelerator and decrease speed gradually.
(This could happen in the event that you drive too fast or the weight on the trailer is not correctly placed).
Don’t brake too hard in a bend (this could result in a Jack-knife accident).
Lower speed just before the bend, and use the gear that is appropriate to match the speed you’re doing.
And then gently accelerate away from the bend.

Reversing a trailer with a trailer:

Before you reverse take a step back from the vehicle and ensure that everything is in order towards the rear prior to executing the move.
Keep an eye out for pedestrians and children. If you can, ask someone to be on the lookout as the maneuver is being made.

Find out all the details about: “Step-by-step Reversing”

WARNING!! Do not reverse a trailer and not check on the side due to the massive blind area.
Ideally, you should have someone watch you in return, particularly when you are in crowds.

Reversing a trailer can be a ability that can be learned with a bit of perseverance anyone who understands the basics. Find a location with ample space and try until you master it. It’s helpful when you have someone that is aware of how to to help you figure out what you’re doing wrong.
Step-by Step Reversing Guide

This illustration demonstrates how reverse to the right, as it is much easier than reverse on the left.

If you’re unsure the direction that your wheels point at any given moment, lean forward and examine them.

Some trailers prior to 1989 feature an auxiliary lever that stops the brakes from working during reverse.
All trailers that have brakes manufactured on or after March 31, 1989, come with auto-reverse brakes.

1. ) Begin by putting the outfit as straight as you can and approximately a trailer’s length from the area into the reverse direction. There should be plenty of space for the towcar to rotate.

2. ) In the event that you are watching the trailer through the driver’s windows Slowly reverse and begin shifting the steering towards the left. It’s easier to add steering, rather than correcting overly.

3. ) When the trailer starts turning and straighten, you start to straighten it while reversed. If you wait too long the trailer may ‘jack-knife’. (This means it will be at to an extreme angle towards the towcar that it cannot be maneuvered in reverse. This can cause damage to the rear of towcars that have long overhangs. ).

4. ) At some point, you will begin turning the other direction and reversing the steering to turn the towcar’s face around so that it “follows” tow trailer however, you must be aware of the direction the trailer is heading to determine if it requires a adjustments.

5. ) 5 ) Reverse the vehicle in an even line by using the mirrors on the door. Reverse slowly and cautiously. When the trailer appears in one mirror, turn towards the mirror that is visible to get the trailer in the opposite direction. These corrections are only tiny shifts in the steering wheel.

6. ) Don’t get your mind locked in reverse! If your trailer is out of alignment It may be simpler to pull it forward in order to fix it. If the turns are tight or it does jack-knife, pulling forward is the only option.

The use of stabilizers

Stabilisers are not designed to substitute for good practice when loading and towing.
They’re useful, especially when used with horse trailers, caravans as well as other trailers with high sides.
However, they will not be able to solve the problems caused due to poor loading or bad driving.

Be sure to follow the golden guidelines for towing:

Install the trailer in a way it is level when attached with the towing vehicle.

Check that the nose weight is between 50-100kg (unless the trailer is extremely light.)

Check that the pressures on your tyres are in the right place.

Remember that you are not allowed to travel in the right-hand lane on motorways with more than three lanes when you’re driving a vehicle that is pulling an trailer.

The principal function of a stabilizer is to prevent a trailer or caravan ‘”snaking” between sides. They are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. The most sought-after varieties are the trailing arms leaf spring as well as the stabiliser for the coupling head.

“Snaking” is the term used to describe when the axles of the trailer or caravan get out of alignment with the vehicle that is towing it.
If this happens it is when the caravan or trailer attempts to make it back on track but it is over the limit.
This triggers the cycle in which the vehicle is “snaking” between sides. If the snaking does not stop the speed will increase, which can cause the driver to lose control.

Snaking could be caused by various factors including:

Improperly correctly placed loads (excessive load to at the rear end of the axle(s)

Very light or even negative nose weight

Side winds (when the size of a commercial or bus is able to overtake which causes air pressure to shake the trailer or caravan, causing wheels out of their proper alignment)

Special purpose trailers are constructed with unbalanced internal fixtures which could be unbalanced, causing instability.

To avoid snaking, there are some simple guidelines:

Maintain the vehicle’s steering on a straight track

Reduce a gear, then remove both feet from the pedals

If you notice the snaking is occurring while moving downhill, shift down one gear and then gentlely apply the brakes

Do not try to accelerate out – this could INSERT INTO tmp_cms_page (`title`, `page_layout`, `meta_keywords`, `meta_description`,`identifier`,`content_heading`,`content`,`is_active`,`sort_order`) VALUES ( in disaster unless the vehicle is exceptionally powerful.

Don’t brake too hard, this can make the truck be jack knife.

Do not attempt to steer away It is extremely difficult to see the snaking motion and could cause more damage.

Stabiliser Checks:
(Each manufacturer has their own service and checks manual and it should be found in the handbook or the fitting instructions.)

Stabilisers should be checked at the beginning of every journey

Make sure whether the friction is evident (if it’s possible)

Verify that the stabiliser is positioned in a proper way