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Towing Safely

Tips for towing your trailer this summer 

One of the many great things about summer is taking off on a family road trip or heading to the cabin for some much-needed R&R – often with trailers, boats, campers or RV’s in tow. Before you get behind the wheel, here are a few safety tips for towing your trailer or vehicle to make your summer go off without a hitch.

Getting hitched 
The relationship between your vehicle and trailer needs to be a match – meaning you should never tow a trailer too heavy or large for your vehicle. Check the towing capacity by consulting the owner’s manual or double check with the vehicle’s dealer or manufacturer.

Keep your vehicle road-worthy 
Before you hit the open road, it’s important you inspect your vehicle and trailer to ensure they’re safe to drive. Make sure your tires are in good shape and have enough air, as underinflation can cause unwanted sway. It’s also essential to ensure your hitch connection is secure and test your brake lights to prevent a rear end accident.

Brake for safety 
Brakes are an important part of any vehicle, even more so when you are towing a trailer. If your trailer weighs more than 910 kg or 2,000 lbs, you are required by law to make sure it has brakes. Since your vehicle is towing extra weight, brakes on your trailer will add extra stopping power. When you stop faster and within a shorter distance, it can help you avoid accidents.

Slow and steady driving 
It’s not a race. When towing extra weight, allow more time to accelerate, merge, brake, turn and park. Take it slow and avoid making any sharp turns or stopping too quickly. Be especially careful when passing other vehicles and allow at least twice the normal passing distance.

For more tips and information on safe trailer towing practices, visit Manitoba Public Insurance’s Trailer Safety Handbook.