Tips for holiday towing

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As a holiday season starts, many people are about to leave for a break with trailers and caravans in tow.

Yet, effective towing does require additional skills as it affects acceleration, braking and manoeuvrability. It can also have tragic consequences if a mistake is made.

The MD of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, who is known for his towing feats, provides a number of tips to follow if you are towing over the holiday period: 

  • Ensure you have the correct driving license for what you want to tow.
  • If you have never towed before, training is highly recommended. Otherwise, get a feel for how the wheels handle accelerating and braking in an empty car park.
  • Ensure the trailer is roadworthy. If trailers stand for some time, tyres can deteriorate.
  • The different weight requirements and distribution is most important, especially the gross and tow bar weight.
  • Incorrect weight can cause sway. Obtain stability by distributing the weigh evenly.
  • Cross safety chains under the hitch in an ‘X’ shape. If the trailer or caravan unhitches it may drop onto these chains, maximising control and minimising danger.
  • Empty caravan water tanks before leaving and refill them upon arrival. Additionally, fresh water is a must.
  • Ensure bearings are well-greased especially in boat trailers and particularly if you live on the coast.
  • Check all lights before leaving.
  • Every time you stop for a break, check the trailer or caravan for problems.
  • Allow for extra time to get to your destination.
  • Remember everything takes longer when towing: speeding up, slowing down and overtaking, thus increase your spaces and be aware of faster vehicles.
  • Moderate speeds reduce sway and give greater control.
  • Fast speeds increase wind resistance, increase fuel consumption and put extra strain on the vehicle and trailer.
  • Check tyre pressure before and throughout the journey.
  • If the trailer starts to sway, gradually slow down until everything is back in line. Do not steer out of a sway.
  • If your trailer continues to sway, determine what is causing the issue. You may need to reload or you may need to redistribute the weight.
  • Slamming on brakes can cause jack-knifing.
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