Did you know that more than 1.26 million new trailers were registered in 2021?
While many drivers are vastly under-educated on the proper use of trailers, safe trailering practices save lives, and with millions of trailers—used by businesses, local governments, and individuals—traversing the nation’s roadways every day, it is crucial to ensure that trailers are being towed safely for the sake of everyone on the roads.
The National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM) is getting ready for its fourth annual National Trailer Safety Week (TSW) to be held June 5-11, 2022.
This traffic safety effort aims to close the trailer safety knowledge of people using trailers for personal or professional uses to make towing safer and raise awareness of safe towing practices.
According to NATM, it is crucial to share essential how-to information regarding proper towing, loading, and maintenance to reach the broad audience of trailer users across the nation.
Let’s discuss important trailer driving tips.
Safe driving starts with proper vehicle and trailer pre-trip inspection
If you are planning to haul your boat to the lake this summer, when was the last time you looked over the health of your trailer?
As any professional truck driver will know, the first step to safe driving is running a pre-trip inspection.
This is a simple but thorough walk-around of your truck and trailer to make sure there are no obvious signs of extreme wear or damaged tires, brakes, cargo securement and more. It is also used to make sure your brake lights and turn signals are working properly.
Proper pre and post-trip inspections should take at least 30 minutes to perform thoroughly and will reduce vehicle maintenance costs.
Remember, you are responsible for selecting the right tow vehicle and trailer for the load, hitching the unit, loading, steering, speed, and braking.
So, before you head to the mountain:
- Check and correct tire pressure on the vehicle and trailer (including the spare tire)
- Make sure tires have no damaged sidewalls or low tread depth
- Make sure the hitch, coupler and draw bar are connected properly
- Make sure no chains or electric wires are dragging on the road that are likely to rub against your equipment and damage your truck or trailer components. The lines can rub while driving and eventually wear a hole in the lines, causing trailer lights to not work properly
- Check that all brake lights, turn signals, hazard lights, clearance lights, or running lights are working properly
- Check for any rust driplines by the bolts as rust will eventually cause bolts to be loose
- Check for oil or liquid leaks for signs of damaged hoses or tanks
- Check that all cargo is secured tightly and properly
- Check side and rear-view mirrors to verify good visibility
- Make sure you have wheel chocks, jack stands, tire chains, extra cargo securement straps, and other safety equipment
Learn how professional truckers inspect their trailers: