The act of towing requires more knowledge and a different skill than normal driving. Any driver that has no towing experience needs to understand the general concept and principles of towing a trailer before they can attempt to go to huge traffic areas. On the road, you will need to observe all traffic regulations and used signals to let other road users know what you are planning to do.
It is also important to understand all the signals to ensure you use them effectively and avoid confusion. Signals will mostly be needed when changing course or direction, when moving off and when stopping.
To ensure you take care of other road users, here are the things you must follow.
The towing driver
When you are towing, as a driver, ensure you allow for an extra distance of your trailer, in terms of length and width, when entering traffic. Doing so will allow the tendency of a trailer to cut in on corners and curves. When applying accelerator and brakes, do so smoothly to avoid sways especially on now and slippery roads. You should also allow for an increased effect of crosswinds and passing vehicles. If the trailer begins to sway for whatever reason, avoid applying towing brakes. In case the trailer is fitted with brakes that can be applied independently, ensure you apply them gently, else, you need to continue with a steady speed or accelerate steadily until the sway stops.
Ensure you leave a longer stopping distance to the vehicle ahead. Increase this gap for longer and heavier trailers and allow for more distance especially in poor driving conditions. When driving downhill, engage a lower gear and avoid the free or neutral drive.
Abide by traffic laws
The trailer used must be registered, be safe, and in worth road condition. It must be fitted with a rear number plate. The braking system must be fully operational. For the towing vehicle, it must be fitted with a well rated and approved towbar, coupling, and tow ball. It must be properly resourced and prepared for towing using suitable mirrors, safety chains, lights, and load leveling equipment. Never exceed the weight rating of the loaded trailer. Additionally, the load in the trailer must be loaded in such a way that it will not overload the trailer, upset the required balance, or impede the safety and operation of the tow vehicle.
While embarking on a long trip
If you are embarking on a long trip, there are a couple of things you must observe. All tires must be carefully checked. Additionally, check on oil, brake fluids, water, and battery. Ensure the coupling is securely fastened and crewed firmly when the trailer is connected. The trailer brake and light connections need to be secure and lights must be properly working. When towing heavy loaded trailers, ensure the tire pressure is increased to recommended levels. The safety chains must be secured in place. They should be connected with attachments that are capable of withstanding the set breaking threshold of each chain. In case you are using two chains, cross them under the drawbar before attaching them to the towing vehicle.