By Evan Parsons
If you are planning an outing that requires the use of a trailer, it is important to take precautions to ensure the safety of yourself and other drivers on the road. Whether you are moving furniture with a U-Haul or other rental, towing additional automobiles or bringing your boat to the lake, it is important to be aware of how to keep your trailer (and you) safe to prevent accidents.
Difficulties that may arise while using a trailer could be a wreck caused by the trailer unhitching, damage from driving on uneven roads and water or hail damage from severe storms and flooding. It may go without saying, however, slick or icy roads present a danger as well.
Here are some quick steps you can take to ensure that your experience is a safe one:
- Always tow the trailer with the proper weighted vehicle; make sure you read the towing capacity for the vehicle located in the owner’s manual or usually readily available online.
- If you are going on a long trip, practice driving a trailer. It’s a different experience driving with the extra length and weight in the back. Drivers should get the “feel” of braking and turning with this added capacity.
- Always double-check that the hitch is on correctly and that the trailer brake lights and turn signals are working correctly.
- Evenly distribute items in the trailer by weight as you are loading it. Strap down or securely fasten all loads on trailers, which will help prevent tipping or items falling off.
One other thing to note, typically the items you are transferring have value, as do the trailer and auto it is attached to. As such, you want to visit with your insurance agent to make sure you have all the correct coverages, including on the trailer itself.
According to Insurance Agent, Bobbi Gellhaus, “A common misconception or misunderstanding is that a trailer automatically has coverage from the pulling unit, or the vehicle the trailer is attached to. However, this is not always accurate, and it is best practice to check with your agent to determine coverage is set up accordingly as there can be many variables that can have an impact. The worst possible time to find out coverage was incorrect is during or following a claim.”
Insurance can help pay off repair expenses, cover severe weather damage, protect you against vandalization of your personal property and if you are moving company equipment, you can be sure it is safe. You will also want to discuss if the trailer is being utilized for business or personal use.