4 Tips to Help You Drive Better With a Trailer
If you own a truck, the chances are that you have it so that you can tow trailers and other large things. Trucks are almost uniquely suited for towing trailers because of their size and weight. You need a strong vehicle to be able to handle a trailer on the road, but strength alone is not the most important part of towing. If you don’t know key pieces of information about towing, then you are not likely to be successful. Here are four tips to help you drive better with a trailer.
Get the Right Equipment
Most people think that the tow capacity of their truck is the key to figuring out what they can tow, but it’s only a part of the equation. You have to have the right components to be able to handle the weight safely. You need a tongue with the proper weight ratio to maintain control of the trailer. The ideal rating will be roughly 10-15 percent of the trailer’s overall weight. If the tongue is too weak, it could snap, or it will fail to keep control over the trailer when you reach driving speeds.
Take Advantage of Technology
Many vehicles that are designed for towing are beginning to have various technologies installed to help you tow safely. These features include automatic braking controls and sway controls. Automatic braking is good for controlling your trailer when problems arise, or you need to drive in reverse. Sway control systems vary the output of your rear suspension and wheels to compensate for trailer sway. If your vehicle has these technologies installed, make sure that they are enabled, and you know how to use them properly.
Start and Stop Slowly
It may not need to be said, but towing can significantly change how your truck drives. To compensate, you need to start and stop slowly. This will minimize the stress on your vehicle. It will also help you maintain control since your vehicle and trailer will stay in sync with each other. Over-accelerating or decelerating could damage your trailer or the connection, and cause you to lose control of a sizable load.
Keep Turns as Shallow as Possible
Many drivers run into trouble when they make turns that are too sharp. All vehicles that tow must make much wider turns than they normally would. The key to preventing problems is to keep turns as shallow as possible. This will ensure that you do not cut turns too deep and hit things on the side of the road. This will also help you prevent jackknifing, which happens when the truck and trailer form an angle under 90 degrees. The result is damage to the trailer hitch and your vehicle getting stuck. Keeping your turns shallow keeps this from happening.
Towing can be a great way to get things done if you know what you’re doing. If you are ever unsure of what to do, ask the experts at your nearest car dealer. The experts at Lee’s Summit Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram can show you how to properly set up and drive a trailer with any of the Ram trucks on the lot. From pulling trailers to bad credit financing, our team is always ready to help you on your Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and RAM journey!