Transporting Equipment with Trailers Part 3: taking the trip and driving safely
Now comes the tricky part in Part 3 of our series for towing rowing boats and equipment with trailers. It’s a different kettle of fish altogether because rowing equipment is often awkwardly shaped and quite heavy when loaded.
Cornering: beware of being tipped over
Turning corners gets more difficult with heavier and bigger vehicles. There’re two important things to remember…
- Move slower – greater weights are displaced more easily with speed. The more weight you have, the slower you’ll have to turn so as not to flip your vehicle. Take corners with low speed and keep an extra eye on your trailer. Do a lap of a car park or rural area to get used to the new weight and speed.
- Use a wider turn – because of the extra length on your vehicle you’ll have to widen your turning circle so you can fit around a corner. Practice cornering with a new load a few times before starting a long journey.
Driving speed: there’s more weight driving with you
British Rowing recommends speed limits of 60mph on motorways, and 50mph on other roads which is 10 mph below the state legal limit.
This isn’t just about turning, it’s also about retaining vehicle control on windy roadways and proper counterbalancing between the weight of your trailer and the weight of your vehicle. With these two components comes the possibility of two objects moving and stopping at different speeds. This means only braking in a straight line, so brake before a corner and turn using the speed you have.
These recommended speeds by British Rowing help you slow down more easily. Make sure you’re careful of hills and adjust your speed accordingly, because you don’t want it building up (especially on a slope!).
Checking the trailer: keep an eye on it
It’s important to know what the status of your trailer is at all times. Stop frequently to check the connection from your trailer to your car is secured and look at the trailer in your wing mirror before and after making turns.
Bumps and vehicle movement can risk the integrity of trailer to car connections. It’s also very dangerous for other drivers if you aren’t checking these things, because if your trailer pops off they’ll be the first to suffer.
The moral of the story is you need to take immense care while driving with trailers. It is highly recommended to practice driving with the new weight and length for a little bit before heading off and always worth talking to those with experience in doing the same. It’s not just about the length and the weight of the vehicle but the hazards on the road that are amplified by those factors (e.g. wind, which can be a surprise to new heavy load drivers).