Due to the price of holidays escalating this year, more people will stay within the UK rather than holiday abroad, and many people will tow a vehicle or a trailer to their chosen destination.
As the roads fill up over the busy holiday periods, accidents involving towed vehicles increase significantly, so if you’re considering towing a vehicle this season, it’s important to be aware of the dos and don’ts when out on the country roads of motorways.
According to IAM RoadSmart, there are an average 4,809 towing incidents every year which most commonly occur on motorways and A-roads, so to help you stay safe on the road, we’ve put together some top tips below as advised by the National Trailer and Towing Association.
Some quick checks
Make sure that you check that the driver of the towing vehicles has a driving licence which allows them to tow a vehicle and a trailer.
Check that the load you intend to put into the trailer is compliant with the trailer’s official payload. The pay load being the amount of weight a vehicle can safely transport at any given time.
Make sure that the total weight you plan to tow falls within the towing vehicle manufacturer’s recommended maximum towing limit (either braked or unbraked).
Check the height and size of your vehicle against the height of your trailer – is the coupling height going to be correct? Make sure the trailer is not excessively nose down or nose up. An adjustment plate will help with the alignment of your vehicle and trailer if required.
Packing your trailer
Make sure you pack your trailer so that the load is evenly distributed across the board to stop it from becoming unstable at any given time. Avoid loading the front of the trailer too much or too little to prevent any tipping.
Make sure that whatever you’ve loaded into your trailer is strapped down. Even if the item is very heavy it will still need to be secure, gravity is not enough to keep a load from sliding about and potentially causing an accident.
Before setting off
Make sure that the lights on your trailer are working correctly and are not damaged or obscured in any way. In addition, check the lighting cable and plug are in good working condition.
Check the number plate is correctly fitted and confirms to DVLA standards, and that it is the same registration as your vehicle.
Check your breakaway cable or secondary coupling is undamaged and connected correctly to a suitable point on the tow bar or towing vehicle.
Check the tyres of the towing vehicle. Inspect them for any damage and make sure the tyre pressure is correct and the tyres have an adequate amount of tread. Remember, tyres must have a tread depth of at least 1.6mm to be legal on the road.
Tighten the wheel nuts and bolts to the correct torque for safety and to enable a smoother journey.
If your towing vehicle has mudguards, check these are also secure and in a drive-able condition.
Be aware of the national speed limit for a vehicle towing a trailer. The maximum speed limit on a single carriageway road is 50mph, and 60mph on a dual carriageway or motorway.