How to Avoid Car Accidents While Towing
Whether you’re a highly experienced driver or you’re towing a trailer for the very first time, driving while towing requires skill and extra effort. It should always be taken seriously, as incidents are common while towing. If you’re getting ready to embark on a journey while towing a trailer, keep these tips in mind to avoid accidents along the way.
Be Prepared Before Getting on the Road
Simply put, you should always be as prepared as possible and make a plan before beginning your trip. These steps can help you feel confident and ready to get on the road.
Look up Your Vehicle’s Tow Specifications
GMC’s number one tip for safe towing is staying within your vehicle’s limits. Every car has towing specs that give you a better understanding of your car’s towing capacity. Depending on what you’re towing, your vehicle may or may not be able to take on the extra weight. You should be able to find this information in your car’s owner’s manual, and specifically, look for:
- Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR);
- Gross combination weight rating (GCWR); and
- Tongue weight.
Knowing your vehicle before attempting to tow anything is crucial.
Check Your Tires
You might remember to check your car’s tires, but it’s equally important to check the tires on your trailer. Depending on the item you’re towing and its weight, the tires may require more inflation than the tires on your vehicle. Both the tires on your car and the trailer should meet the manufacturer’s specifications.
Make Sure Everything Is Properly Connected
Making sure your trailer is correctly connected to your tow vehicle is essential before hitting the road. Mismatched hitch balls are the number one cause of trailer accidents, so always match the hitch ball to your particular trailer. Adding trailer safety chains can also help avoid unfortunate incidents while on the road.
Ensure Trailer Lights Are Fully Functioning
Not only should the lights on your tow vehicle be functioning, but also all of the lights on your trailer. If the lights are not working correctly, other vehicles will not know when you’re pressing on your brakes or backing up, easily leading to an accident.
Check the Weather Before Leaving
Decent weather conditions are necessary for towing safety. Heavy rain or snow can increase the chances of an accident. If the weather is not favorable at the time you plan to drive, try to adjust your plan or leave the driving for another day.
The mirrors on your vehicle may work for you now, but adding a trailer may require you to adjust them before hitting the road. Be sure you can see as much as you can through your mirrors, including your trailer and other cars on the road.
Have a Plan
When towing, it is helpful to have a plan, especially for inexperienced drivers. Choose the ideal time of day to drive, map out your route, and plan any stops along the way. Having a solid plan can help ensure a smooth trip and fewer hiccups.
Follow Driver Safety Tips
According to Weigh Safe, many of the most common causes of towing accidents are related to driving, including:
- Poorly miscalculated turns,
- Miscalculated stopping distances, and
- Blind spots.
It is imperative to practice safe driving at all times, but even more when towing. Keep in mind that driving while towing is never going to be the same as driving a regular vehicle. You are carrying even more weight and have the capability of causing dangerous accidents.
First and foremost, never speed while towing. Because of the extra weight, you will need more time to come to a complete stop. If you encounter an issue and need to brake quickly but are speeding, you will likely cause an accident. Drive at a responsible speed to avoid any incidents on the road.
Leave Space While Driving
Never follow other vehicles too closely while towing. Like with speeding, if you need to stop quickly, you will more than likely rear-end the person in front of you. Always leave a safe distance between vehicles.
Keep an Eye on Your Trailer While Towing
It is good to get in the habit of checking mirrors frequently to keep an eye on your trailer. Adjusting your mirrors before starting your drive can help greatly. This way, if your trailer seems unsteady or appears to have an issue, you can address it sooner rather than later.
Get Someone to Help You If Possible
If possible, travel with someone while towing. The other person can serve as another set of eyes on your trailer and help when parking or backing up.
Accident While Towing? Contact a Knowledgeable Car Accident Attorney
Accidents happen. Fortunately, you are not alone and may have legal options. If you’ve been involved in an accident while towing, consult with a car accident attorney as soon as possible. According to The Francis Firm, having a car accident lawyer is vital, as they will fight to protect your legal rights. Don’t try to navigate a towing accident on your own. Contact a car accident attorney right away.