Towing tricks

29 December 2023

It’s holiday time again.

For many families, that means travelling the roads and highways towing a caravan, boat or trailer. It’s fun and economical motoring, but you should know what you’re doing before setting off on any trip.

First up, read your vehicle owners’ manual to learn its towing capacity. Don’t go over the limit, not even a bit.

Make sure the tow-ball and trailer-hitch fit correctly. Check the lights and indicators work once you’ve connected the light cable from the caravan/trailer to your vehicle.

Once you’ve packed your caravan or trailer, check the load to ensure nothing’s overhanging – this is dangerous and could see you cop a fine. Cover the load with a secure tarp if you’re towing an open trailer.

Finally, check your vehicle and caravan/trailer tyres are all at recommended pressures.

Be alert to weather when on the road – especially strong winds and rain – and adjust your driving style to suit. Pull over and take a break when poor conditions occur.

Monitor vehicles ahead and allow additional room to compensate for extra braking and acceleration times. Choose a lower gear when descending hills to save the brakes.

Reversing a trailer into position is challenging. It’s best to begin with the trailer and vehicle in a straight line, then slowly ease back. Remember, to move the trailer to the left, turn right. It takes practice. Do that before you leave home, not when you arrive at the caravan park with an audience.

Drive safely and enjoy the break.

Words: VACC CEO, Geoff Gwilym. As published in the Herald Sun 29 December 2023.

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