Tips for drivers when towing

Here are some tips from the RMS:

Driving with a trailer takes practice. Remember: 

  • Allow for the trailer’s tendency to ‘cut-in’ on corners and curves.
  • Allow longer distances for braking, overtaking and joining a traffic stream.
  • When reversing, it is advisable to have someone outside the vehicle giving directions.
  • Avoid sudden lane changes and changes of direction.
  • Look further ahead than normal so you can react to changes in traffic or road conditions.
  • Use the accelerator, brakes and steering smoothly and gently at all times.
  • Use a lower gear when travelling downhill to increase vehicle control and reduce strain on brakes.
  • Slow down well before entering corners and curves.
  • Trailers tend to jerk the back of the vehicle around and can cause sway (snaking).If a trailer starts to sway, the vehicle’s brakes should not be applied, except as an absolute last resort.If the trailer’s brakes can be operated by themselves they should be applied gently, otherwise a steady speed or slight acceleration should be held if possible until the sway stops.
  • Take care not to hold up traffic unnecessarily.
  • Plan more rest stops and shorter travelling days as towing is more stressful and tiring than normal driving.
  • There is no specific speed restriction while towing a trailer. However, the posted speed limits must not be exceeded. Always drive to the road, traffic and weather conditions.

Before each trip, check: 

  • Vehicle and trailer are roadworthy.
  • All tyres are properly inflated.
  • Trailer’s wheel-bearings, suspension and brakes work properly.
  • All lights work and safety chains are properly connected.
  • Oil, water, brake fluid, battery and other service checks on the vehicle.

At regular intervals during the trip, check: 

  • Couplings, all doors, hatches, covers and any load or equipment are still properly secured.
  • Tyres are still properly inflated and not rubbing on suspension or body work.
  • If travelling to another State, check with the relevant roads authority whether there are different rules.

 

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