by Jim Bessey editor Part Two of Two
See Part One "Safety Checklist", here
When you're towing a travel trailer on open the road, drive like your grandmother would.
If your truck or van offers a special towing gear-ratio, be sure to select it. Your camping trailer can double the weight-load on your transmission. Slow, smooth acceleration will reduce wear and tear on your vehicle and save on expensive repairs later. Never tailgate when you're towing, no matter how good your brake system might be. Allow for longer stopping distances and lower turning speeds. On the highway, forget the fast lane and the supposed buffer-zone above the speed limit. Long uphill or downhill runs call for even more caution.
Be wary of weather and fatigue:
Bad weather makes towing even more dangerous. You may want to consider taking a break from driving if heavy rain or high winds overtake you. Your risk of hydroplaning is higher, due to your camper's basic tires and poor handling characteristics. Never drive after drinking, even a little. If you're tired, it's time for a different driver or a stop for the night. All of the "minor" inconveniences you feel you can overcome in ordinary driving conditions can lead to extreme consequences for you and your camper. Don't risk it - always err on the side of caution.
Earn a passing grade:
When you tow a travel trailer, you are a menace to the other drivers around you. It's not your fault; it's just a fact. Camping trailers are wider than all but the largest passenger vehicles, and taller than all of them. They block the view of drivers following directly behind. Heaven forbid your brake lights fail to function properly. If you are towing a camper on a two-lane road with limited passing, you WILL pile up other vehicles behind you. Typically, the closest driver will be invisible to you, even if you have wide-view side mirrors.
Why do car drivers follow towed rigs too closely? Perhaps it's human nature and impatience. Travel trailers are heavy and cumbersome; nobody wants to get stuck behind yours. Since your tow vehicle and trailer are much longer than a single car or truck, you are more difficult to pass even under the best circumstances. This puts the burden of road courtesy on you.
Watch for a developing line of cars behind you.
Be considerate. Your slower acceleration and longer braking distances, combined with your need to more closely adhere to the speed limit, will lead to lines of cars behind you. Accept it, and act accordingly. If the coast is clear and passing is allowed, move slightly to the right and slow down just a bit. No need to wave followers around you - they'll get the hint. Take advantage of uphill "slow lanes" and let faster vehicles get past you safely.
Towing a travel trailer puts a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. ... keep reading
Reprinted from the original hosted on Helium. Copyright 2009 -- Jim Bessey, all rights reserved.
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