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Towing and Turning, Part 1: How to Do It Right

Towing and Turning, Part 1: How to Do It Right

  • For some people, turning while towing a trailer can be an adventure. To be fair, just about everything about driving is more difficult or complicated when you have a trailer hitched to the back of your vehicle. Simply driving straight and coming to a stop feels different.

     

    Turning while towing is no exception, especially when you exit the luxurious openness of major highways for the tight fit and congestion of city roadways. Once you learn the basics, practice a bit and get through a few incident-free trips, turning your vehicle while towing will be as easy as riding a bike.

     

    Without a trailer, you just pull up to an intersection and turn with minimal effort or thought. With a trailer, you need to brake sooner and plan according to the width of the lanes and the amount of both vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

     

    The trailer tires will track much closer to the inside of the turn than your vehicle’s tires. This is why you see trailers and long vehicles like buses taking much wider turns. They have to clear curbs, vehicles, street signs and even people.

     

    An axle-pulled trailer (gooseneck or fifth-wheel) will turn much more sharply than your towing vehicle. Even though a bumper-pulled trailer will follow the path of the towing vehicle pretty closely, it’s still a good idea to take a wide turn regardless of the type of trailer you’re towing. Keep your vehicle along the outside edge of the turn – without veering out of your lane – to allow plenty of turning room for the trailer.

     

    White Dodge & Trailer

     

    An often overlooked step for beginners is paying attention to the side mirrors. This will allow you to see and predict the path of your trailer and spot any vehicles or people that enter your path at the last second. As long as you’re not going to fast, you can make adjustments safely and on the fly.

     

    Truck and fifth wheel RV with B&W hitch

     

    Take your trailer out to some quiet roadways and get some practice in before you hit the busy streets. Take your time and be cautious, and towing and turning will become second nature before you know it.