5 tips to towing safely
Once upon a time, I towed an old Landcruiser on a car trailer from Cunnamulla in Queensland to Halls Creek in the Kimberly region of Western Australia.
It was a hideous experience.
Please don’t think this was my first rodeo. I had spent many years towing horse floats to polocrosse competitions and boats to the ramp over the years.
At one stage I had a mobile pet grooming business and mastered the art of reversing the trailer into the oddest of driveways.
But that trip with the old Toyota broke me.
If I am blessed, I will never ever tow anything again.
Towing requires you to take it steady and focus on safety.
If you do choose to pack your life into a caravan or tow your project car across the country, here are 5 tips to make it there in one piece.
Don’t be a fool, use the right tool
Make sure the vehicle you using to do the towing is up to the job.
Each vehicle will have towing specs to indicate the size of load you can tow.
The vehicle will need enough weight, engine power, suspension strength and suitable accessories such as electric brakes.
Check the vehicle is suitable and is in good condition.
A bald tyre that goes pop, a rusty tow bar that pulls apart, or electrics that fizzle can all lead to a terrible accident.
Even if your car is brand new and the most perfect tow vehicle ever made, you won’t avoid disaster if your trailer is not up to scratch.
Confirm the trailer and the tyres are built for the task and are in good condition. Any wear and tear or damage to the trailer can create an epic catastrophe.
Are we there yet?
Don’t rush. Towing a trailer is not a speed event. Slow and steady will win the race.
Whatever time you would allow without a trailer needs to be doubled when there’s a load behind you.
The art of towing is to drive smoothly from start to finish. Sudden acceleration, turning or braking can all lead to the trailer leaping out of control.
You won’t overtake easily, you won’t corner well, and you won’t brake quickly either. So just chill, relax and enjoy the scenery.
Not distributing the weight of your load appropriately can cause the trailer to jump and buck and sway.
Place your heavier items towards the front, ahead of the first axle. Try to spread the load evenly with not too much piled up on any one side or end.
Take the time and make sure that your load is secure and doesn’t move inside or out of the trailer.
You don’t want a chunk of your load flying off and getting lost, or worse hitting someone else at high speed.
Even if nothing can fly out of your caravan, make sure that items like the fridge can’t tip over.
You can use a net or a tarp for finer items that can’t be constrained by a rope or strap.
I find towing to be slow and monotonous, boring and very, very responsible.
If you are that responsible type who has too much to fit into the car, follow my tips and take it steady and you will avoid disaster and arrive with all of your stuff safely behind you.
When towing regularly you will need to service your vehicle more often, you can book a service at AutoGuru. We’ve got awesome high-quality mechanics near you!
Lara Wilde is the automotive addict showing you how to love your car without getting dirty.
With more than 20 years of driving experience, Lara has made cars her life.
Lara shares her automotive adventures educating and entertaining audiences as a keynote speaker for corporate events and freelance author for a variety of publications.
Driving across the country or on your daily commute to work, Lara can offer you safe, simple, stylish advice for adventures on the road. Look her up on wildedrive.com.