Learn How to Load and Haul a Trailer Safely

You may think that towing a trailer is as easy as hitching it to your vehicle and hitting the road, but there's a little more to it than that! In order to protect yourself, your belongings, and other people on the road, here is everything you need to know about driving with a trailer, from loading it to parking it.

Before You Hit the Road
  • Make sure to check your owner's manual to learn the towing capacity of your vehicle (you can also check the manufacturer's website).
  • Learn your hitch system rating. This is the maximum weight your hitch system can tow (every U-Haul trailer has it labeled on the inside of the trailer at the front).
  • See our hitch glossary to learn any unfamiliar towing terms.

Trailer Loading Tips

  • Load your trailer heavier in front (unless otherwise directed by the trailer manufacturer). The trailer should have about 60% of the cargo weight in front and 40% in the back.
  • Secure your load to the trailer using rope and tie-downs.

Trailer Driving Tips

To avoid dangerous situations like rolling or jackknifing, be sure to follow these guidelines:

  • Reduce your normal driving speed when towing.
  • Do not exceed 55 miles per hour.
  • Always obey the posted speed limits.
  • Leave extra time and distance between you and other vehicles. As a rule of thumb, leave about 4-5 seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Be alert and wear your seatbelt.

Trailering Techniques

  • If swaying or whipping occurs, take your foot off the gas pedal. Do not brake or speed up.
  • When passing, know that you will require more space than normal to pass.
  • Use the same gear to go downhill as you would to go uphill (this helps you keep a consistent speed).
  • Slow down before going downhill.
  • When turning a corner, turn wider so the trailer won't hop the curb.

Parking with a Trailer

  • When parking, try to park in a place where you can pull forward so you have an easier time pulling out.
  • When backing up, look over your shoulder. Move your hand to the right to make the trailer go right, and to the left to make it go left.
  • If you are backing up, and you start to jackknife, just pull forward to straighten the trailer out and try again.


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