Winter Trailer Towing Tips
Winter drives can be lovely and scenic—until they suddenly become totally terrifying. With ice on the roads, wind at your sides, or heavy snow smacking the windshield, you and your trailer need to be prepared for dangerous situations. Towing a trailer in the snow or ice requires certain precautions and techniques to ensure the safety of yourself and everyone else on the road. Even the most experienced driver can get themselves in trouble, so take these tips into consideration the next time you hit the road with your trailer because they can help minimize the dangers involved!
When it comes time to tow your trailer in the snow, it’s important to understand that the conditions are going to be much more dangerous than in otherwise clear weather. To help you stay safe, here are some tips for driving your trailer in the snow.
Brush Off Snow
brushing snow off truck First things first, you need to completely brush off any snow on your vehicle and trailer. Grab a stepstool and a broom to clear snow off the top of your trailer. This will prevent a chunk of snow from dropping down on your tow vehicle when you brake. It will also keep other drivers safe—you won’t be shedding snow and ice into the road as you drive.
Check The Tires
Before you get rolling, check all of the tires on the trailer to ensure they have a good amount of tread left on them. If not, you may want to buy new tires that offer more traction because it’ll provide for more control on the road. Additionally, if your trailer has aged significantly, it may be time to look at trailers online because new models will have brand new tires as well as new suspension systems that aid in control.
Inspect Your Load
It is common knowledge that it can take longer to stop your vehicle in snowy or icy conditions and when you combine that with towing a trailer, expect it to take even longer. With that said, check the weight of your trailer because the heavier it is, the longer it will take to stop. Remove any items from the trailer that add unnecessary weight because you’ll want to have the shortest stopping distance possible and a lighter trailer can help.
Asking your vehicle to haul extra weight in the wintertime is going to place serious demands on its available traction—even with a good set of winter tires installed. In order to avoid getting stuck on ice or in deeper snow, it pays to maintain your car or truck’s forward momentum, especially if you find yourself dealing with a hill. Try to avoid stopping on an incline or in an area where snow has piled up.
Avoid Cruise Control
Cruise control is a great, convenient feature that you should never engage while towing in the winter for two important reasons. The first is that, by letting a computer take over your throttle inputs, you become that much less engaged with driving and will be less likely to react quickly and safely in a dangerous situation. Second, the cruise control system isn’t able to detect what the weather is like or how packed the snow is on the road, and it may downshift or accelerate at the wrong time, potentially destabilizing your rig.
Leave Stopping Distance
This is true whenever you’re trailering, but especially when roads are icy. Braking hard can cause your rig to skid or jackknife easily. The more distance the better because it’ll give you plenty of time to adjust in the event of an emergency.
Another extremely important tip when towing a trailer on snowy or icy roads is to slow down. Driving at a safe, slow speed can be the difference of arriving to your destination or not. It may take you a little longer to reach where you are going but it improves your odds of making it there safely.
Slamming on the brakes may be one of the worst-case scenarios while towing your trailer in wintery conditions because it can cause your vehicle and the trailer to lose control. You will want to apply the brakes gently and gradually to come to a full stop and this is why you’ll need plenty of space in front of your vehicle. Additionally, when you must get around corners and turns, perform your braking in a straight line before entering the corner and get all the steering out of the way. Then, accelerate out of the corner in a straight line to maintain proper control.
Driving in snowy or icy conditions is difficult enough without a trailer, but with these tips and a little common sense, you can safely tow a trailer during the winter!
Experts You Can Trust
The experts at USA Trailer Sales carry a huge selection of hitches, trailers and accessories. We are always here to help you negotiate the many options and possible customizations available when buying your trailer. Please contact us with any questions you may have or stop by one of our six Michigan locations to speak with a local trailer expert today.