Shannon Papa, U-Haul Trailer Program Manager together with Joe Cook and others illustrate proper loading and driving techniques that will reduce trailer sway and prevent dangerous towing situations like jackknifing.
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:
- Always 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 when towing so you can stop safely. 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.
- 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 as a rule of thumb. This will help you control your speed downhill.
- Slow down before going downhill.
- When turning a corner, pull out into the road a little bit before turning and turn wider so the trailer will not hop the curb.
Parking with a trailer
- When parking, try to park in a place where you can pull forward so you don't have to back into or out of a parking space.
- When backing up, try placing your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and looking 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.