Texas roads can be dangerous. For small companies that use trailers for business – such as lawn care workers, mobile coffee shop owners, or on-location mechanics – extra caution is needed. These steps can help you have a safe trip from start to finish when towing a trailer:
1 Choose the proper towing equipment.
Check your vehicle’s weight capacity in the owner’s manual to ensure it can handle your trailer and cargo load. Choose the right size hitch, coupler, and components. According to Consumer Reports, incorrectly-sized hitches are the number one cause of trailer accidents.
2 Check the tires.
Check the tire pressure on both the towing vehicle and the trailer. Your vehicle’s tires may require a higher pressure while towing, as outlined in the owner’s manual. Inspect the trailer tires for dry rot and cracking, especially if stored outdoors. Even if the tires have plenty of tread, age can lead to tire failure. Always check to make sure the lug nuts are tight.
3 Be prepared if you get stuck on the side of the road.
Ensure you have at least one spare tire for your trailer. Keep a jack and a lug nut wrench for your trailer and its wheels. Keep the trailer’s wheel bearings greased and check the brakes (if the trailer has them). Towing can put extra stress on a vehicle, so make sure your towing vehicle’s maintenance is up to date.
4 Hitch the trailer correctly.
Make sure you follow the proper procedures for hooking up your trailer before towing. This step-by step guide can help you get ready.
5 Use wheel chocks.
Before unhooking the trailer from the tow vehicle, place chocks (sturdy, wedge-shaped blocks) in front of and behind the trailer’s tires to prevent it from rolling away.
For more information on trailer safety, download DWC’s Light-Duty Trailer Safety Fact Sheet.