Have you ever driven across the country with a lot of luggage? Maybe you’ve had to squeeze it onto the backseat with your kids. It isn’t fun as everyone is cramped on a long journey.
Towing a trailer behind your vehicle, however, can be a lot of fun. You will have more space and amenities, and you’ll be able to do more with it than you would if you were just driving by yourself.
However, there are some safety concerns involved with towing that must be taken into account before you get underway. If these precautions aren’t taken care of then jackknifing or swaying could result in an accident or injury.
Here are the do’s and don’ts of RV and fifth wheel towing.
What Is Fifth Wheel Towing?
Fifth wheel towing is a method of towing an RV or fifth wheel trailer. Figuring out if you can pull it might be a key decision in deciding if an RV is right for you.
Towing this type of vehicle is different from towing a typical car and truck. In order for the tow vehicle to be able to pull the RV or fifth wheel trailer, it must have specially designed equipment called fifth wheel towing.
The fifth wheel connects directly to the hitch on your tow vehicle and allows for movement between vehicles at different speeds in turns and even when going up steep grades.
Do Make Sure There Is Enough Space To Make a Turn Before Turning
When you’re looking at towing options for towing an RV or fifth wheel, it’s easy to forget that there are other cars on the road. It’s important to remember not only what vehicle you’re driving and its capabilities but also how much room your rig needs when making turns.
Remember RV rental has surged in popularity even before the pandemic so there’s likely to be more RVs on the road than ever.
If you don’t have enough space for your rig in front of you, then make sure that there is enough room for it behind before turning. If not, you may need to stop and wait for an opening or back up and take another route so that no one gets hurt (or worse).
Dont: Be in a Hurry
The common consensus is that you should never drive faster than your headlights will allow, and this holds true for towing a trailer as well. The more quickly you’re moving, the more likely it is that something unexpected will happen on the road ahead of you and cause you to slow down or even stop altogether.
Driving too fast can also be dangerous because of how much worse a collision between your vehicle and another car would be when each are traveling at higher speeds than normal traffic conditions dictate.
Don’t try to pass other vehicles while towing a trailer or fifth-wheeler behind your car.
It may seem like passing someone else would allow you to get where you’re going quicker, but passing can be extremely dangerous when combined with driving with an RV or fifth wheeler attached behind your vehicleespecially if there are curves in the road ahead!
Passing cars increases the risk of side-swiping another vehicle because there’s simply less room between them than there was before passing was attempted; additionally, trying to squeeze through narrow lanes can cause damage to both vehicles involved due to their proximity during such maneuvers (and it’s unlikely those dents will come out easily).
If you are worried about how much time you have you could hire us to tow your car for other luggage for you. Check out our reasonable rates here.
Do Make Sure That the Tow Vehicle and Trailer Are Properly Secured
You can do this by making sure that the tow vehicle and trailer are properly connected. You also need to make sure they are securely connected.
You must make sure that the tow vehicle and trailer are properly attached, coupled, or otherwise attached to one another so they remain connected while moving down the road.
If you want to peace of mind about this then you can leave shipping to us. If you live in a huge state like Texas then you’d be surprised how easy and quick the process can be of having your heavy goods including cards and boats shipped door-to-door.
Do Practice Driving at Different Speeds With Your Trailer
The first step to successfully towing your RV or Fifth Wheel is simply making sure you are comfortable with the way it feels driving around before you go out on the road. This means that before you leave the driveway, know what speed feels right for you and how it handles at different speeds.
If possible, take a test drive around some residential streets in order to get an idea of how comfortable your vehicle is at different speeds and how well it performs with a trailer attached.
If possible, practice braking as well as accelerating while driving down these same roads so that when it comes time to hit the open road for real, there won’t be any surprises!
Do Check Both Sides of Your Vehicle for Proper Clearance
As you turn the wheel, check both sides of your vehicle for proper clearance. You should be able to see three or four feet on all sides of your vehicle. This is especially important when turning corners and streets that have tight turns as well as areas with curbs and other obstacles.
If you are pulling a trailer, this also applies to checking for any objects or people in your blind spots, as well as any objects on the side of the road which may affect your clearance.
Dont Drive More Than 10-12 Hours per Day
Remember that driving an RV is a lot like driving any other vehicleit just takes longer. It is important to take breaks in order to keep yourself safe and alert.
Be sure to follow the FMCA guidelines who suggest a limit of between 10-12 hours. This depends on if you have passengers or cargo.
Taking a break should involve getting out of the vehicle, stretching your legs, and taking some deep breaths. You should also drink plenty of water as well as something caffeinated (if it is allowed) before continuing on your journey.
If you have not taken any caffeine or have been drinking coffee for hours prior to your break, please do not try this method until you are properly hydrated!
Using common sense while driving will help prevent accidents and make sure everyone gets where they need to go safely!
Dont Drive During Bad Weather
Bad weather can cause accidents, so if you must travel on a rainy or snowy day, be extra alert and drive more slowly than usual. Snow, rain, fog, and other conditions that make it hard to see are all factors that could affect your ability to control your vehicle safely when driving in bad weather conditions.
If you’re tired from driving long distances at night or through the day without rest stops along the way, don’t add rain/snow to an already dangerous scenario!
Do Use Extra Caution When Backing Up
Backing up is a critical part of towing. You should be extra cautious when backing up and use your mirrors, turn signals and check your blind spots regularly.
Before you back up always put your vehicle in reverse, stop and look behind you – do not rely on your mirrors alone. When backing uphill, always proceed with caution because it’s easy to lose control of the vehicle if you’re going too fast or hit something while traveling reverse down the hill.
Dont Use Cruise Control While Climbing Hills or Mountains
Be sure to use cruise control on flat roads and highways. In contrast, don’t Use cruise control while climbing hills or mountains or on curvy roads and highways.
If you use cruise control in these conditions, it could result in a loss of control of your vehicle. This could lead to serious injury or even death.
Do Brake Early and Slow To Avoid Jackknifing and Sway Control Issues
Be sure to brake early and slowly when fifth wheel towing. Next, make sure you also don’t use cruise control when towing an RV or fifth-wheel trailer. Your RV will weigh too much on cruise control and you could lose control of the car.
Be sure to not drive more than 12 hours per day. You can break up your trip with stops in between.
Also, don’t drive during bad weather conditions. Especially avoid snow, ice, sleet, or heavy rain. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Avoid jackknifing at all costs. Use sway control devices such as anti-sway bars and friction clutches. They can help reduce swaying caused by wind gusts and passing vehicles
RV and Fifth Wheel Towing Requires Planning and Preparation
RV and fifth wheel towing is a lot of fun and can be done safely. It’s important to follow the rules of the road, have good vehicles and equipment, and focus on safety while you’re traveling together.
We hope that you will follow these tips to make your RV or fifth-wheel towing experience safe and fun. If you take the time to practice with your trailer before heading out on any long trips, then you’ll be able to enjoy all of the benefits this hobby has to offer without worrying about getting into trouble along the way!
For more on long-distance towing and RV and fifth wheel towing be sure to contact us today.