How to Drive in Reverse While Towing

How to Drive in Reverse While Towing

  • Many of us don’t like to drive in reverse without a trailer. Trying to back up with a trailer hitched to the back of your vehicle is enough to make some people panic or unleash a never-ending stream of obscenities.


     Dodge Cummins & Trailer

    Watch this Dodge 3500 towing a 40ft gooseneck trailer back into this narrow driveway.


    Make no mistake about it – towing in reverse is tricky. Even if you drive straight back, very slowly, the trailer will naturally turn because of the joint at the hitch – the dreaded jackknife effect.


    The most confusing part is that everything about driving in reverse with a trailer is the opposite of driving in reverse without a trailer. For example, if you want to go left in reverse, you turn the steering wheel to the left. With a trailer, you turn the wheel to the right.


    Some people will say to put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel to create that reverse effect, but that could just confuse things even more. It can also limit how much control you have over your vehicle. Backing up a trailer is just one of those things you have to get used to.


    Gooseneck Towing in Reverse


    Make sure you have plenty of space, use your signals, pay close attention to your mirrors and see if you can get someone to direct you from the outside, at least until you feel comfortable. Remove any obstacles that might be in your way and be aware of low hanging tree branches that you’ll need to clear. You may be focusing on the trailer, but don’t forget to monitor the front of your towing vehicle.


    Backing a trailer around a corner or into a parking space is even more complicated because you have to turn your vehicle in the opposite direction that you normally would in order to get the trailer headed in the right direction.


    The most important part is the set-up. If you’re backing your trailer into a parking space on the right, you’ll need to start with a sharp left turn to position the trailer properly. Just be careful not to hit the curb or a ditch with the front of your towing vehicle. Then begin “unsteering” to the right to gradually straighten out your vehicle. You’ll probably have to turn left again to ensure the proper placement of the towing vehicle and trailer.


    B&W Trailer Hitches Towing a Gooseneck


    If you’re not sure what you’re doing, don’t roll the dice. The last thing you want to do is run into another vehicle, damage someone’s property or injure someone because you put yourself in a situation you couldn’t handle.


    If you’re in danger of hitting something or someone, or the vehicle starts to jackknife, pull forward until the trailer is straight and start over. Even if you’re doing really well, you’ll probably have to stop and pull forward at some point. Just don’t be discouraged by all the people who are watching and waiting for you to screw up. They’ve probably been in the same boat!