6 Ways to Tow a Heavy Load Safely
Taking a trailer load of rubbish or helping a friend move house involves different driving skills that can take a little time to learn. Towing any heavy load involves careful attention to safety issues and a more acute awareness of traffic and obstacles around you. An accident can result in expensive car repairs, but by following some simple guidelines you can tow a trailer to its destination without incident.
There are several safety issues at stake when you tow anything so let’s take a look at them now so you can begin your task with confidence.
Make sure that your trailer is in good condition and that the ball mount pin is intact and ensure that the hitching coupler is secure. If you are using a safety chain make sure that it is in good condition and securely attached and that any electrical plugs are attached securely as well.
Obtain an accurate estimate of the weight of the load you are attempting to tow and make sure it is within the capacity of your vehicle and trailer. Once you have done this, you will need to pack the load so it is evenly distributed around both axles of the trailer and secure it so that it will not move during transport. Always play it safe and make two trips instead of one if it will make the load easier to handle. An overloaded trailer is the only unsafe in terms of its physical capacity but can also be a hazard on the road.
Have your brakes checked. Before telling any heavy load make sure your brakes are functioning at full capacity and test them out before making the actual journey. You can imagine the trouble you will experience if you have a brake failure while traveling downhill. It is far better to test your driving style and braking capacity whilst towing a trial load in a remote location before you start.
If you are towing a trailer make sure that 10% to 15% of the trailer’s gross weight is loaded in front of the front axle and onto the hitching mechanism. This will make the load more stable so that it will handle better on the road. If you are uncertain of your vehicles towing capacity you may have to consult your mechanic for specific advice.
Make sure the trailer is level after it has been loaded and make adjustments to the hitch ball height if there are any variations. It is vital to keep the tow vehicle from sagging in the rear.
Always make sure that the safety chain is in good condition as this is your fail safe mechanism in the event of the trailer separating from the tow vehicle. Don’t compromise on quality as it could save your life.
As you would expect, it is always a matter of safety first when it comes to towing a heavy load, so check with your mechanic to make sure you are taking the safest approach before starting your trip.