If you drive a truck, you may at some point wish to add a trailer to your vehicle to transport additional items. While trailers are very handy, they can also be dangerous. Using trailers incorrectly can cause a truck accident which can result in head injuries, spinal cord injuries, other serious personal injuries, and even fatalities. Here’s how to use trailers correctly:
1) Hitch the trailers to your truck correctly. Read the manuals included with your trailer and ask for help if you need it. Make sure that the lighting connector is properly installed and make sure that the lights work correctly on the trailer. Use safety chains for added security.
2) Before you use the trailer, inspect the trailer and truck. Before each use, check that the wheel bearings are properly lubricated and the tires are in good condition. Make sure that if your trailer has brakes, they are working correctly. Trailers can sustain more stress on the road because they are pulled along, so check each time to make sure the trailer is in good condition.
3) Load your trailer correctly. Always lock the brakes before beginning to load the trailer and make sure that the trailer is on a level surface to ensure that weight is properly distributed. Use binders or tie downs to secure items securely to the trailer. You don’t want things shifting or flying out of the trailer while you are on the road. When you take a break while driving, you might want to check your binders or tie downs again. If your load has shifted, you may need to adjust them to account for that. When loading your trailer, make sure that you put about 60% of the weight near the front of the trailer. If you have too little weight in front, your trailer may fishtail and pose a danger to other drivers. If you have too much in front you may have a hard time maintaining steering control. Understand the gross vehicle weight and towing capacities and ensure that you do not overload the trailer.
4) Clean your trailer and decks regularly. Keep in mind that trailers do not have to be in motion for an accident to take place. A slippery surface on the trailer or deck can lead to a slip and fall accident, so stay safe when loading and unloading your trailer.
5) When on hills, use the same speed and gear both up and down the hill. Maintain a steady speed and pace and try to brake suddenly, as this can cause your trailer to fishtail. If you will be driving in very hilly areas, consider practicing on a few small hills first to build your confidence.