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Few drivers have mastered backing up a trailer. Unfortunately, this is a necessary skill to learn when managing your landscape trailer. Whether you’re pulling a trailer on the job or hauling garden supplies around your yard, follow these safety tips when you’re pulling a trailer to keep yourself and your equipment safe.
Aside from backing into a building or other vehicle, your biggest concern when backing up is jackknifing. This is when your trailer angles sharply to the side. If your trailer and vehicle make an L or V shape, it could damage your trailer.
Jackknifing is frustrating when you’re slowly reversing a trailer, but jackknifing on the road can be particularly dangerous. On the road, this is typically caused by an imbalanced load or improperly hitched trailer. When reversing, it’s caused by turning your steering wheel too sharp.
The best way to start is to find an open area to practice. Reversing with a trailer is a bit confusing because the trailer often goes the opposite direction you imagine it would. With practice, you can start to aim your trailer in the direction it needs to go.
Reversing a trailer typically requires multiple attempts to go in the direction you wish. Don’t be afraid it you need to make a three-point turn or even more attempts in order to get it moving in the right direction.
For your first few times, it’s best to have a guide. Find a friend who is willing to stand outside and check your blind spots. Without additional side mirrors, it can be difficult to see every angle of your trailer. The last thing you want is to back your brand-new trailer into a fence post, over a bicycle or into the side of a building.
Your guide can help you adjust your landscape trailer and offer directional advice. Once you get close to the parking spot or work area, your buddy can help you pull right up to it without running into anything.
Another key to safe reversing is to go slow. If you’re in a hurry, you’re likely to run into something or jackknife your trailer. Don’t turn your wheel sharply or quickly back up. Take time to slowly reverse, pulling forward multiple times to realign, and gently roll your trailer into place.
There are two great reasons to go slow. First, you can be more conscious of what your trailer is doing. It allows you to see all angles before moving backward. Second, it reduces the risk of damage. If you’re moving backward extremely slow, even bumping into your garage or a post will be less of a disaster than if you were backing up at full speed.
Finally, don’t try to navigate an obstacle course in reverse. If you can pull through instead of backing up, give yourself that benefit. Don’t try to carefully weave between multiple vehicles on your property if you can get out and move them out of your way. This isn’t always possible, but do what you can to give yourself plenty of room for practice as you learn the ropes of accurately backing up your trailer.
At Millroad Manufacturing, we have a number of accessories that can make your life easier. Shop for a custom trailer or ask about additional accessories you can order to increase the safety of your trailer. We will work with you to create a safe landscape trailer. Whether you are driving down the highway or backing into your garage, enjoy a reliable trailer wherever you need it.