Tips for Towing in New Hampshire

April 7th, 2015

Whether you’re new to towing or a seasoned veteran who tows your Snowmobiles up north in the winter and your boat to the lakes region in the summer, it’s important to keep in mind the toll that towing can take on your vehicle while also taking precautions to keep everyone on the road safe. 

Be Safe

According to state and federal law, every trailer or semi-trailer (including farm vehicles) should have – in addition to the coupling device – a safety chain, or cable to prevent the trailer from breaking away from the towing vehicle.

No vehicle may tow more than 1 vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer – except for those exclusively designated for agricultural use, or authorized by the DMV.

Know Your Weight

Your vehicle’s tow rating (typically found in your vehicle’s manual) is a simplification of a number of equations. When towing, what matters the most is the combined weight allowed for your rig – your gross combined weight rating (GCWR). This includes your vehicle, its occupants, your cargo, and everything in the trailer. The rating for your specific vehicle can be found in the sticker on the inside of your door.

Mind Your Brakes

When it comes to actually getting on the road, the first thing you’ll want to keep in mind is that towing can be rough on your brakes, so baby them. Even a small trip to the lake can tax your brakes, so go easy on them. Instead of riding the brakes, just lightly pump them in gentle pulses instead – otherwise you risk them overheating. Also make use of downshifting while driving down hills.

Watch Your Speed

For most states, 55mph is the top-speed for towing. Especially onrough roads and in high wind and rain – paying careful attention to your speed and the driving conditions can mean the different between safely arriving at your destination and having an accident.

Know Your Stopping Distance

Always remember, stopping with a trailer will take a lot more room than normal. Don’t take your trailer for granted, even with the beefiest truck or SUV, a trailer can still take up to 50% longer to stop.

Check Your Tires (all of them!)

We wouldn’t be a tire company if we didn’t recommend that you check your tires whenever you’re towing. But don’t just stop at your vehicle, make sure you check your trailer’s tires as well. Far too often an incredible weekend trip comes to a squealing (or grinding) stop because someone forgot to replace the old, cracked tires on their trailer. In addition to periodically checking tire tread depth and wear, think about picking up a spare tire for your trailer. You’d be surprised by how many trailers don’t actually include a spare tire, but you’ll be happy you have one when you’re spending time in the water or at your campsite instead of on the side of the road waiting for a replacement.

Looking for a spare trailer tire? We can help! Contact your local Stratham Tire today to learn more.

Take Your Trailer Seriously, Get Professional Service

A lot of drivers experienced with towing tend to let the condition of their trailers take “second fiddle” to their main vehicle. It’s understandable that you would take much better care of your daily driver than your trailer. But if anything goes wrong with your trailer – from your wheel bearings to a flat tire, think about getting experienced help. Due to the strain that a trailer can put on a vehicle, it’s important to make sure any issues get corrected properly, otherwise you may do damage to your vehicle, additional damage to your trailer, or risk causing an accident.

Adjust Your Mirrors

Don’t blind yourself! If you’re towing anything, make sure your visibility is good. Without adjusting your mirrors or adding towing mirrors you won’t be able to fully see the vehicles behind you or beside you.

Stop More Often

Driving is tiring. Due to constantly adjusting your vehicle, paying extra attention to travelers around you, and making fine adjustments to your steering wheel at all times -- driving with a trailer or boat can be twice as tiring. If you’re traveling with a trailer, boat, camper, or mobile home, do yourself a favor and stop twice as often as you normal would.

Back Up, Carefully

Backing up a trailer isn’t exactly easy. For most drivers, your best bet is to simply avoid situations where you’ll have to reverse. For instance, try skipping the drivethrough! However, sometimes it’s hard to avoid needing to back up. Should this happen, reverse with your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel, and move your hand in the direction you need the trailer to travel

  Tags: automotive
  Posted in: Automotive