Let’s face it, there’s a good reason why there are so many SUV’s and pick-up trucks out there on the roads today—basically, we are towing more than ever. Owners of jet-skis, motorcycles, pull-behind RV’s, boats—you name it—they all need to tow from time to time. While towing is a relatively simple operation, safety must be used or it can become dangerous or even deadly to other motorists on the road.
The proper use of safety chains is one way to ensure that the tow vehicle never gets separated from the trailer. Of course, safety chains are required by law so using them not only keeps everyone safe, it also keeps you legal.
When using safety chains during towing, it is important that the chains cross under the tongue of the trailer. If for any reason the trailer were to become detached from the hitch, those chains will prevent the trailer from falling to the ground and away from the tow vehicle. You also want to be sure that your safety chains are loose enough for you to be able to make turns while towing. Of course, you don’t want them so loose that they drag on the ground because that creates another major towing hazard.
While towing, it is very important for the vehicles behind you to know when you are braking, turning, or using your headlights. It is required by law that any trailer have brake lights, turn signals, and tail lights that work in unison with the lights on the tow vehicle. If they don’t, the people behind you may get confused or not be aware that you are braking or turning and an accident is likely. Special wiring harnesses are generally supplied with a trailer that should hook into the wiring of the tow vehicle. If your trailer does not have such a wiring harness, they may be purchased separately at most auto parts stores.
You also never want to be towing anything that exceeds the maximum tow capacity of your vehicle. There are actually two very good reasons for this. The first is that you will damage your vehicle’s drive train when towing trailers beyond the towing capacity. The second reason is related to the first: should your drive train fail and you are towing something up an incline—well, you get the picture!
Finally, be sure that whatever you happen to be towing is secured properly. Shifting loads can cause severe handling problems while towing. And in the worst case scenario, an unsecured load may simply fall off and cause you real headaches while endangering motorists.
By following the simple safety tips listed above, you should safely transport cargo from point A to point B without incident. Towing is a relatively simple procedure but it should only be done when safety is made priority one.