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Towing Tips for your next adventure

By:
Opposite Lock
Dec 07 2020

Overview

Safe towing adds a whole new degree of skill to driving. While most people can tow a small trailer, it’s different for a boat, van or even a fully loaded trailer. These can add a whole new level of complexity to things such as braking distance, vehicle handling and peripheral driving vision. Your local Opposite Lock store team can recommend the best set up for your tow vehicle, but these are some of my tips.  By Cam McConville

 

Braking distance

The added weight of towing can add a significant amount of stopping distance. Always leave a bigger margin for error as heavy braking can upset the stability of both the tow vehicle and the trailer. Other set up and driving issues that can influence trailer sway include; vehicle speed and incorrect tyre pressures or exceeding weight limits – on the vehicle and trailer or misaligned trailer load weight. Driving hazards such as larger vehicles overtaking or passing you, strong cross winds, and sharp cornering, can also cause instability.

 

Trailer sway

In the event the trailer does start to sway, avoid excessive braking, it can make it worse. Backing off the accelerator is often a much better option. Although it goes against  your natural instinct, also try to avoid sudden steering changes, again it can make the situation worse. If you  do have an electronic braking system, manually applying  these may be an option to reduce the movement.

 

Reduce vehicle wear, tear and running costs

Along with reducing the risk of trailer sway, smooth and consistent driving that reduces braking, sharp cornering  or accelerating will reduce the stress that towing puts  on your vehicle, help reduce the tyre wear, fuel consumption and brake wear and tear. Where possible avoid frequently accelerating and braking as it will use more fuel, cause early brake wear and put additional stress on the engine and gearbox.

 

Braking help

Another way to reduce brake wear is an assisted brake system. If you are towing anything over 750kg you must have override trailer brakes, over 2000kg and an electronic brake controller must be fitted. The Opposite Lock teams use and recommend high quality and Australian proven systems such as Redarc or Hayman Reese

 

Overtaking

Like in a race car, overtaking while towing is harder than it looks. You can’t pull out or accelerate fast, for fear  of upsetting the stability of your trailer; you will need a much longer stretch of road than you are used to and again like on a race track, there are sometimes some faster and more aggressive drivers ready to go. If you aren’t sure, the best bet is to wait for a dedicated passing lane.

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