Friday, November 30, 2018

Tips for Safely Loading and Hauling a Cargo Trailer

Many people who are new to owning or operating a cargo trailer make the mistake of thinking the methods of loading and hauling don't really matter. If it fits, it should be fine, right? Not necessarily. In today's post, we'll go over a few simple but very important tips for loading your cargo trailer correctly as well as hauling it in a safe and efficient manner.

Trailer Loading Tips

  • Unless otherwise directed by the trailer manufacturer, you should always load your trailer with the heaviest weight in the front. That helps keep the weight balanced between the end of the trailer and your vehicle being used to haul the trailer.

  • Don't put so much weight in the front that it's off-balance, though. The trailer should have about 60% of the cargo weight in the front and about 40 percent in the back.

  • Secure your load to the trailer as best you can, using rope, tie downs and other appropriate stabilizers.

Trailer Hauling Tips

  • Always reduce your normal driving speed when hauling a cargo trailer.
  • Always obey posted speed limits
  • Be sure to allow for extra time and distance between you and other vehicles so you can stop safely. A good rule of thumb is to leave 4-5 seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Stay alert. If you feel like you're getting sleepy, pull over to the nearest rest stop, motel or other safe place where you can rest.
  • If swaying occurs, take your foot off the gas pedal. Do not brake or increase your speed.
  • Remember to allow for additional space and time when passing other vehicles.
  • As a rule of thumb, use the same gear to go downhill as you would to go uphill. This will help you control your speed when going downhill.
  • Always slow down before going downhill.
  • When approaching a corner, pull out a little bit farther into the road before you begin your turn. Turn wider so the trailer won't go over the curb.
  • When parking, try to select a space that will allow you to pull out forward, rather than having to go in reverse.
  • When backing up, place your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel and, while looking over your shoulder, turn the wheel right to make the trailer go right or left to make the trailer go left.
  • If you start to jackknife while backing up, just take your vehicle out of reverse and pull forward to straighten out. 
  • It's always helpful to have an experienced person with you if you are hauling a trailer for the first time.

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