The rules for towing a trailer have changed recently in the UK, so anyone who wants to know how to tow a trailer will need to know the weight of their load and vehicle.
The new rules require that anyone with a B driving license that wishes to tow a trailer over 750 kg or a load and vehicle weight of more than 3,500 kg must complete a towing test.
Even after completing and passing the test there are things you need to do before setting off into the sunset with your load behind you. Driving on the road while pulling a load is very different to driving down the road in your car, you have added weight behind you, which can affect the braking and steering of your vehicle.
Be sure to read the manufacturers guidelines for your vehicle when it comes to the weight you can pull behind you. When you learn how to tow a trailer, this is one of the most important elements, before you even get behind the wheel and start driving.
Always walk around the load to make sure your tyres are at the right pressure, an uneven load are exceptionally dangerous on the road and can cause the load to weave across lanes behind you and even tip over.
When hitching the load to your vehicle, you will want to make sure the load is level and not leaning forwards or backwards. Ensure when you tow a trailer that you use the chains provided, these are a backup should the hitch fail for any reason. Remember you are not the only person on the road and this can give safety to you and the other drivers.
Next is checking the lights, especially the brake lights to ensure all the electrics are working. This is essential as once you are on the road you want to ensure you are completely safe and having lights that don’t work can leave you in a serious predicament.
Once you set off on your journey, it’s important to know that you cannot drive at your regular motorway speed. You should stick to the slow lane on the motorway and make sure you can see clearly out of your side mirrors.
Be wary when braking. When you learn how to tow a trailer, the instructor will teach you about braking and how the load can actually put added pressure on your vehicle, taking it longer for your car to stop. Normally you will have a set distance when you need to break, with a trailer, add distance to ensure you stop in time.
It’s always advisable to stop ever twenty miles or so to check your load, often straps and ties can come loose as the trailer knocks around and bounces on the road. It’s imperative you to check your load on a regular basis when driving long distances to ensure it doesn’t come loose and fall into the road.
When you arrive at your destination you may have to reverse. Now as you probably know reversing with a load behind you is very different to reversing with just a car. It takes time and practice to get it right, which you will learn if you take a reputable training course.
Always be aware of the other vehicles around you, watch at least two cars ahead so you can expect any problems and keep an eye on your load, watch for weaving and swaying, this is an indication you are driving too fast or your load is uneven.