General Tips for Towing Trailer Units

by Al Page (NH)

Some general items for towing trailers:
Responsibility of the tow driver
(Note any damage or deficiencies in the trailer notebook, inform DR Coordinator)
    Trailer load
        Interior properly stowed
            Equipment properly tied down with straps/bungees
            Heaviest load must be forward of the axles. Distribution should be at least 60/40% with the greater weight forward and on the towing vehicle.
(Improper weight distribution will cause excess sway and could cause a serious accident)
No flammables stowed in the trailer. (Propane/gasoline)
Check for leakage on gas powered equipment
        Exterior
            Confirm that the state registration is current
Check tire pressure (including spare), inspect tire tread for excess or irregular wear
            Check running/turn and brake lights
            Check brake system
Check condition of safety chains. Chains must not drag on the ground.
Hook up brake-away cable, Check for fraying.
            Assure that hitch is the proper size and locked
            Crank Trailer jack to the fully raised position.
            Raise rear jack stands or remove if so equipped
            Exterior doors dogged and locked
            Remove wheel chocks
Towing
    Check braking  at start
    Carefully check for sway once on the road
    Allow extra stopping room when possible
    Backing
        Know what is behind the trailer:
            Obstacles
            Soft ground
            People
        Get out and check behind the unit
        When possible, have someone guide
            Designate only one person to direct
        Use 4-way flashers
        Back slowly
            Watch the angle of the trailer to tow vehicle
                Fast change leads to jack-knife
    Control the angle so that it changes slowly or remains constant.
    When parked, place wheel chocks between the wheels on both sides.
If unhooking, lower jack-stand in front and place rear jacks (if so equipped)