Proper trailer loading is your first-line of defence against dangerous instability and sway. Heavy items should be placed on the floor over the axle. The load should be balanced side-to-side and secured with tie down straps to prevent shifting. Tow bar Tongue weight should be about 10% – 15% of gross trailer weight for most trailers. Too low a percentage of weight can cause sway.
Good habits for normal driving need extra emphasis when towing. The additional weight effects acceleration and braking and extra time should be allowed for passing, stopping and changing lanes. Severe bumps and rough roads can damage your towing vehicle, hitch or trailer and should be negotiated at a slow steady speed.
Check the recommendations of your towing vehicle and check the trailer’s wheel nuts and tyre pressures before use. Always make sure you carry a spare set of bearings and the necessary tools to replace them if necessary – especially if heading off on a big trip.
TRAILER LIGHTS, INDICATORS, and BRAKES:
Make these safety-critical connections every time you tow – no matter how short the trip. CHECK – TOW BALL COUPLING, RETAINING PINS and CLIPS, LIGHTS and all other connections EVERY time you tow. Ensure your brakes are adjusted correctly. There should be approximately 20mm of movement between your brake handle and the rear of the coupling piston. Do not proceed until you are sure everything is secure and that the trailer lights and brakes are working perfectly. Re-check at fuel and rest stops.
Cross safety chains under the trailer tongue and attach to towing vehicle with just enough slack to permit full turning. DO NOT let them drag on the road. Secure connections so they can’t bounce loose. CONNECT THE SAFETY CHAINS EVERY TIME YOU TOW.