If you’re planning to hire a 4WD camper trailer and you have no towing experience, this article gives you a few helpful pointers. It’s important to drive safely for a hassle-free camping experience.
Take Off Slowly
When you’re towing a camper trailer, always take off slowly. Allow your vehicle to progress
gradually through the gears. The first and second gears will give you the most power when
pulling your trailer. Once the vehicle and trailer have gained momentum, then you’re free to move into the higher gears.
Keep Your Distance
Towing a camper trailer adds significant extra weight to your vehicle. Once moving, this extra weight contributes to an increased momentum. Increased momentum means:
• The vehicle will take longer (requiring more distance) to stop
• Sharp turns are magnified and more difficult to correct
To avoid an accident, you should keep extra distance between yourself and other vehicles in front of you. This also allows other vehicles to overtake you easily.
If you’re inexperienced in towing a vehicle, you should avoid overtaking altogether. If you must overtake another vehicle, be aware of your extended length. It’s extremely important that you double check (using rear view and side mirrors) that the entire length of your vehicle plus camper trailer has passed the other vehicle. Remember, too, that your vehicle’s acceleration power is greatly decreased with the addition of a trailer, so you will need significantly extra time and distance to successfully overtake any vehicle.
If another driver attempts to overtake you, you might be tempted to slow down and let them pass. If so, you must avoid applying your brakes too heavily. If you brake too hard, you could cause the camper trailer to sway, resulting in loss of control of the trailer. Instead, maintain your speed and allow the other vehicle to accelerate to overtake you. Keeping to the left and driving slowly is courteous, making it easy for other drivers to overtake you.
Use Low Gear for Slopes
If you find yourself losing speed whilst climbing a hill or slope, switch to low gear. Switching to low gear, such as first or second, gives you the power you need to drag the weighted vehicle up the slope.
It is always best to travel very slowly when you must drive downhill towing a camper trailer. Avoid accelerating and avoid high gears. Instead, use a low gear to control your progress. Driving in low gear also reduces the need to apply breaks suddenly, which could cause you to lose control of your trailer.
If you follow these basic tips, you should enjoy a safe driving experience with your camper
trailer. Remember to follow general road safety advice, such as avoiding alcohol eight hours
before driving and never driving when tired. It’s also a good idea to alternate drivers if possible. If you’re traveling alone and can’t take turns driving with another person, be sure to take frequent rest breaks. Drive safely and no doubt you’ll be rewarded with a happy camper trailer holiday.