General Towing Guidelines
General Towing Guidelines When towing a trailer, forget about being in a hurry. Leave plenty of travel time because some states have decreased speed limits that dictate how fast you can drive with a trailer in tow. Even without lower mandated speed limits, allow for plenty of travel time.
In fact, towing a trailer requires just a little more of everything. You’ll need extra distance to bring your vehicle and trailer to a stop, and so it is very important to always leave extra room between you and the vehicle in front of you – far more than if you were not towing. It has as much to do with safety, good driving manners and collision avoidance as it does with braking performance. When towing, the vehicle’s brakes develop more heat than when you are not towing. An increase in heat can lead to diminished braking performance. By leaving a lot more room between you and the car in front of you, and by looking as far ahead as possible when you drive, you can avoid heavy braking.
You’ll also need extra time and space in the event you have to pass another vehicle. And you can look forward to spending more money on fuel during your trip. Towing greatly decreases fuel efficiency. You’ll also need plenty of patience.
Some other road hazards include side winds and wind gusts from passing vehicles, such as a tractor trailer. When you feel the truck being blown around a bit, maintain speed or slow down if necessary and make your throttle, brake and steering adjustments as smooth and as gradual as possible.
Driving up or down long grades also can present challenges. When driving downhill, reduce your speed and shift to a lower gear before you begin descending the hill. Downshifting allows the engine compression to do some of the slowing so your brakes don’t overheat. When traveling uphill, downshift and decrease your speed to reduce the possibility of overheating your engine or transmission. Be sure to keep an eye on the temperature gauges until you’ve crested the hill.