Towing Restrictions and Guidelines Help Keep You Safe

January 27th, 2015 by

Towing restrictionsTowing a trailer may seem simple and easy to do. However, there are towing restrictions and guidelines that you must follow to ensure your safety and that of everyone else you encounter on the road. The laws regarding towing may vary depending on where you live, so you’ll need to find out the specific laws for your state. However, there are a few general rules that apply everywhere.

For example, all trailers must have taillights, so make sure you hook them up correctly before you get on the road. This way, when you hit the brakes or turn on your signal, the driver behind you will know what you’re doing in time to respond appropriately. Large trailers should also have red reflectors on each side to increase visibility.

Towing Restrictions and Guidelines Include Weight Limits

Know and follow the weight restrictions and guidelines for towing with your vehicle. When pulling a trailer, it will take longer for your vehicle to come to a complete stop. The weight of the trailer will push the vehicle forward when you apply the brakes. How far will depend on the weight of the trailer and the speed you’re traveling. This is why many states require you to drive slower than the posted speed limit when towing a trailer but overloading your trailer can cause other problems, too.

If the load is too heavy for the vehicle, it can cause the trailer to sway making it difficult to control. It can also put so much strain on the hitch that it breaks loose. Both scenarios could result in a serious accident. You can refer to your owner’s manual to learn the recommended tow rating for your vehicle if you’re not sure what it is.

When shopping for a new or used Toyota, let us know if you plan to pull a utility trailer or boat and our dealers here at South Dade Toyota can help you find the right size vehicle to match your towing needs. We can even go over the gross vehicle weight rating or GVWR with you to help you understand how the maximum allowed weight is calculated.

Use Extra Safety Equipment

For your own safety and that of other drivers, you can take a few extra precautions when towing a trailer. Start by always using safety chains to hook the trailer to the vehicle. If the hitch fails, the safety chains will prevent the trailer from separating from the vehicle. They have helped prevent many accidents and they’re simple to use.

Sometimes, the latch on the trailer hitch will work loose from hitting bumps or from the vibrations of the road. Placing a lock on the latch will help keep this from happening. If possible, adjust the trailer so that its level with your vehicle. This way, it will pull easier and it’ll take some of the strain off the hitch. If you’re towing a large or very heavy trailer, it should be equipped with breakaway brakes to help stop the trailer from moving if it separates from your vehicle.

Always tie down anything on the trailer to make sure your load is secure and carry flares with you just in case something does happen. Taking precautions and following the restrictions and guidelines for towing trailers will help keep you and other drivers safe.

Posted in Toyota