Driving a vehicle takes a decent amount of skill. Which means that towing something while driving a vehicle takes a considerable amount more skill, and it then logically follows that towing something really heavy takes even more. Whenever you’re towing another vehicle, a trailer, or any other cargo, keeping safety top of mind is paramount. This is especially true when it comes to towing big cargo like buses, semis, and other equipment that requires heavy duty towing. Today, we’re sharing 3 towing safety tips that you should reference every time you prepare to tow anything:
- Ensure you have a capable tow vehicle for your cargo.
It’s not enough to know that your vehicle can pull the trailer that you’re towing. It’s essential to have a vehicle that is in control of pulling the load that you’re towing. Letting your cargo or trailer control where you are on the road is incredibly dangerous. And if your vehicle isn’t capable of towing your cargo, accidents are likely. Check your vehicle’s manual for the payload (the maximum allowable weight of cargo and passengers that the vehicle is designed to carry), the towing capacity that indicates how much the vehicle can safely tow, and the gross combination weight rating, which includes the payload and the towing capacity. If the tow vehicle has a towing capacity above the weight of the trailer and the cargo it is towing, you’re in the clear.
- Stay up-to-date with maintenance.
A smooth tow is only possible when you stay up-to-date with maintenance on your towing vehicle. Towing puts a lot of stress on a vehicle. It’s important to always stay on top of checking the brakes, topping off the coolant, and having frequent oil and filter changes. Heavy duty towing causes even more stress on a vehicle than regular towing. This is due to the large size and heavy weight of the cargo being towed, like a school bus or a garbage truck. To keep the towing vehicle in good repair, you’ll have to change the oil more frequently than a vehicle that you just drive around and don’t use to tow.
- Understand the hitch system.
Depending on the trailer and the load, you may be dealing with any number of hitch systems. No matter the system, it’s important to thoroughly understand the hitch system and how to appropriately lock the hitch. This is especially true when the cargo you’re looking to tow requires heavy duty towing. Big loads and extremely heavy cargo automatically are more dangerous to tow and more likely to weaken or compromise the hitch system in the event that it is not securely fastened. If the hitch system is not designed to bear the heavy duty load, the safety of your towing is compromised. In addition to understanding the hitch system, be sure to appropriately attach safety chains in the unfortunate event that your trailer becomes unhitched.
While these 3 towing safety tips are critical ones, there are many more that you can reference in this excellent ConsumerReports article.
Tow Pro drivers keep all of these tips in mind on every heavy duty towing job. If you’re looking for more towing safety tips or would rather a professional tow your load, contact Tow Pro at 615.256.TOWS(8697). We offer light and heavy duty towing services, experienced operators and drivers, and a variety of special towing equipment available to rent.