Trailer driving tips
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Driving with a trailer attached requires practice and knowledge on the difference that exists from driving without a trailer. This includes that you are operating two moving vehicles attached at a single point that is heavier and longer than when the trailer is not attached. This affects the braking, acceleration and handling of the tow vehicle.
At this time, insurance on a non-motorized horse trailer is not required by law. If you decide a horsebox is a better option since they are easier to control, our brokers can provide you with comparative quotes for horse trailer insurance from a panel of UK specialist brokers.
Below are some basic tips to help you control the trailer in tow.
Before hitching up, ensure that the tow ball height and size matches the specification of the trailer manufacturer. This will make sure the ball is held securely while underway. Also, make sure the safety chains are attached.
Having side mirrors mounted to the tow vehicle are required by law and make handling the trailer easier. It also makes it safer and easier to back the trailer into a parking spot, along with changing lanes.
When on the road, the operator of the tow vehicle must remember their vehicle is longer with the trailer hitched to it. Going around a corner requires more room and takes longer.
Due to the added weight, braking requires more distance than without the trailer. By doubling the distance you would feel is correct to begin braking than without the trailer will help to prevent accidents. If at all possible also never slam on the brakes since the shift in weight when that occurs could cause the operator to lose control of the vehicles.
Because of the extra weight, the use of low gears with more torque will be required when taking off and climbing hills. When the tow vehicle is equipped with a manual transmission, the use of the lower gears to help slow the vehicle will also help in preventing the brakes from overheating.
Snaking occurs when the trailer is moving faster than the tow vehicle and is pushing it. The back of the trailer also moves sideways and if not corrected can lead to a jackknife situation. The best way to prevent snaking is to always brake gradually. If the trailer begins to snake, accelerate slightly and control will be regained. Snaking can also occur when switching lanes on the motorway. Avoid sudden movements like switching lanes, since the weight of the trailer will negatively affect the tow vehicle. Loss of control can occur.
Reversing is difficult and requires patience and practice. To get the trailer to move in one direction, the tow vehicle must be steered in the opposite direction while reversing. An operator will only get good at it over time and with practice.
The use of warning triangles is helpful to warn other drivers of your situation when your vehicle is on the side of the road disabled. In some European countries, they are also required by law.
Operating a tow vehicle with a trailer attached requires patience and practice. It is best to never make any sudden movements and drive slower to help the operator control the heavier and longer vehicle at all times.
Buying a used horse trailer
If you will only be using your horse trailer occasionally, you should consider buying a used horse trailer that has been well maintained. If you choose one that is made of aluminium, it will still have plenty of life in front of it.