Towing isn’t just about hooking up a camper, boat or other trailer to your vehicle. It’s also about knowing your vehicle and trailer capacity, understanding lingo like curb weight and GVWR, and driving safely.
Remember that towing decreases fuel efficiency by about 20% and requires a planned approach to acceleration, braking and maneuvering.
Towing requires a whole new set of driving skills and knowing how to properly operate your vehicle when hauling a trailer is crucial. Whether you’re taking a weekend warrior adventure with your boat or planning to haul a camper for the summer, these safety tips will help keep you and others on the road safe.
The most important thing to remember is that it takes longer to accelerate, stop and change lanes with a trailer attached, so it’s essential to leave much more space between you and the vehicle in front of you. This is especially true on highways where speeds are high and accidents can occur quickly. Leaving plenty of distance also helps you avoid having to slam on the brakes or make abrupt maneuvers, as these can shift the cargo inside your trailer, causing sway that’s dangerous for everyone on the road.
Another important tip is to never exceed the rating numbers for your hitch and trailer combination. These numbers can be found in your vehicle’s owner’s manual, and will include a list of recommended towing capacities for your model and type of vehicle. If you’re unsure of what towing capacity your vehicle has, it’s best to contact a dealer or the manufacturer directly for more information and detailed instructions.
Before hitting the road, it’s a good idea to double-check that all of your trailer’s lights and electrical components are working properly. For instance, if you have a trailer with electric brakes, make sure they’re hooked up correctly and that the controller is functioning. It’s also a good idea to test your trailer brakes by driving into an empty parking lot and letting off the brake pedal. If the brakes seem spongy, it’s time to have them serviced.
One final important towing safety tip is to always cross the trailer’s safety chains instead of running them straight. This will create a cradle for the tongue to fall down onto in the event that it becomes disconnected from the hitch, rather than digging into the pavement. This simple step could save you a lot of headaches down the road.
There are a lot of pieces of equipment that go into making sure that towing trucks can perform their jobs efficiently and safely. This includes everything from the truck bed itself to the specific tools that help vehicles connect to the trailers. It also includes things like mechanical braking systems that can be used to give extra braking force when pulling trailers. Some towing companies even have systems that can make it easier for the drivers of pickup trucks to navigate in reverse by giving them a guide on how to steer.
A wheel lift is another piece of equipment that helps to make vehicle moving easier. It uses long steel bars that affix to the front tires of the vehicle being towed so that they are suspended in the air and not touching the ground. This is a great alternative to using the hook and chain truck for general towing because it causes less damage to the vehicles that are being towed.
Another type of towing equipment that is commonly used is a boom. This is a winch device that is very easy to operate and is very useful for towing companies when they need to haul away large vehicles. It can be in a fixed position or it can pivot and extend with hydraulic functionality, which is ideal for working around tricky spots.
For bigger and heavier vehicles, there is a type of towing truck called a wrecker self loader. These trucks have a flat truck bed that can carry vehicles and their trailers safely. These towing trucks are usually more expensive than others, but they are worth the investment since they are so versatile.
There is also a towing equipment called a recovery strap. These are heavy-duty straps that can be used to pull vehicles out of difficult situations without causing any damage. They can be used in place of chains or towing binders and are a must for those who often deal with off-road or difficult terrain.
Other types of towing equipment that are very helpful for towing companies include safety chains and hooks. The chains are very strong and have loops that can be linked to a trailer hitch. This ensures that a trailer won’t be able to separate from the truck when going over rough terrain. Safety chains are also used to connect the trailer brakes to the truck’s electrical system.
Whether you’re hauling a camper to your favorite camping spot or bringing your car back to the shop after being hit, it’s important to keep safety in mind when towing. Several different factors can affect towing, including the driver, tow vehicle and trailer. Here are some safety measures to take into consideration:
Never exceed the towing capacity of your tow vehicle or the load it is carrying. Refer to the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or gross combination weight rating (GCWR) issued for your vehicle and check the ratings on both your trailer and the car you’re towing.
Make sure your trailer lights are working. It’s also a good idea to have an “On Tow” sign displayed on the back of the vehicle you’re towing so other drivers can see it.
The main cause of accidents, both in towing situations and normal driving, is driver error. Towing a trailer increases your blind spots and can easily lead to inattentive driving, tailgating or sudden steering maneuvers. So, be sure to check your mirrors frequently and always leave a greater distance between you and the car in front of you.
When passing a car or truck, signal early and allow plenty of space for the added length of your trailer to clear the other vehicle. Braking is another factor to consider, especially when towing a heavy load. It takes longer to stop with a trailer, so be sure to increase your following distance and start braking sooner than you normally would.
Check the tire pressure on your tow vehicle and trailer tires regularly. Under-inflated tires will create more rolling resistance, which will force your engine to work harder and burn more gas. They may also have higher temperatures, which can contribute to tire blowouts.
Lastly, don’t have people inside the car you’re towing. It’s against the law and a safety hazard. Also, make sure your towed car’s ignition is turned off when it’s not being driven. This will prevent it from locking up or causing further damage to the towed car, your trailer or your tow vehicle.
When you’re getting started with towing, there are a few key things you need to take into account. First and foremost, you need to get the necessary paperwork done. This includes registering your business, determining your legal entity and obtaining any necessary permits from your local, state or highway department. You should also determine the budget for your towing business, including startup costs and ongoing expenses such as vehicles, tools and insurance.
You should also create a towing company website and make sure that it’s optimised for search engines. This will ensure that your site shows up high on the results when someone searches for “towing services.” You should also include a online request a quote or booking form on your website, along with a list of your services, experience and relevant licenses and permits.
Another crucial thing to keep in mind when starting a towing company is your target audience. Do you want to go the B2B route and serve businesses or do you want to focus on serving consumers directly? Determining this will influence how you market your towing company going forward.
Once you’ve determined your target audience, it’s time to develop a brand persona for your towing business. This will help you create a strong connection with your community and foster brand loyalty. The best way to do this is by creating a mission statement that rings true for you and your team. It could be something as simple as aiming to serve your customers well or making a difference in your community.
Lastly, you should consider how to hire the right employees for your towing company. For example, you will need to find drivers, mechanics and dispatchers to support your operation. Depending on your needs, you may hire multiple workers for each role or a few people for each position.
It’s essential to train your employees on how to properly and safely operate a tow truck. This will not only reduce the risk of accidents and injuries, but it will also improve customer satisfaction and retention. Training also helps new hires quickly learn the ropes and become a productive member of your towing team.