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Winter driving takes extra care, even without a trailer. If you need to use your utility trailer when the roads are snow-packed or it’s icy, you may find it challenging to drive safely. It is possible, but you need to remember the three keys to winter driving, stay alert, slow down, and stay in control. Here are our tips for hauling a trailer when the road is slippery and cold.
The tow vehicle needs to be able to drive on the roads safely and effectively. Your tires need to be in good condition for winter driving. Use snow tires or tire chains if the conditions allow. Make sure the brakes work well. The lights and electrical system need to be in good working order. Check the fluid levels before undertaking a long drive. The last thing you need is to have your vehicle break down when you’re hauling a trailer.
Not only does your vehicle need to be winter-ready, but your landscape trailer also needs to be in top condition, too. If the trailer is open, you need to tie down the cargo securely to prevent it from shifting while you’re driving. Unsecured cargo can affect your ability to handle the trailer when you’re on the road. You want the heaviest part of the cargo in the front of the trailer. Check the tires on the trailer and all the connections to make sure everything is in good working order.
Although it is possible to tow in the snow or ice, it’s safer to avoid the worst of the weather. You should also avoid heavy traffic or icier back roads. Do some planning before you get on the road to take the best route. You’ll want to be able to take it slow and easy. Know where you can pull over safely to ride out a storm or wait for traffic to diminish. Allow extra time for any trip when you’re hauling a trailer.
Clear off the snow from your vehicle and trailer. Make sure all the lights are connected and working effectively. Think about your visibility to see your surroundings, but also consider that other drivers need to see you too. Consider adding reflective tape for extra caution when the days are gray and grim.
Carry a winter emergency kit that includes an extra set of gloves, a blanket, ice scrapers, a shovel and traction aids. You should always have a first-aid kit, flares and emergency rations with you. If you get stranded or stuck, you want to be prepared to wait for help. Start with a full gas tank to make sure you get to your destination.
When you hit the winter road, you should have an understanding of how to drive in winter conditions. The trailer adds to the difficulty, so don’t assume anything. Follow all the basic driving guidelines. Use your blinkers. Wear your seatbelt. Know how to turn out of a skid. Leave more room for braking in wintry conditions. Do not use your phone. Focus completely on the road and the other drivers.
If you’ve never driven a trailer in the snow, try to find a place to practice before getting out on the road with a lot of traffic. Drive slowly in wintry weather. If you get next to an aggressive driver, plan to pull over to let him/her get by you. Pull over when visibility is low. Getting to your destination safely is more important than getting there quickly.
Millroad Trailer offers a large selection of landscape trailers and utility trailers.