In the last blog we discussed thinking in terms of the space you need when pulling a trailer into and out of a lot, what to expect when reversing with a trailer, and what to think about when loading the trailer in a balanced way. This week we’re going to discuss the mind set required when towing a trailer.
Those old fashioned drivers education instructors used to hollar: Defensive driving! Defensive driving! Defensive driving! Heck, the class you used to have to take to get out of a ticket was called Defensive Driving back then too. Fact of the matter is, you really need to drive defensively when dragging a trailer along behind you! And by defensively I mean you have to have your mind a block or so ahead of your truck and prepared for any eventuality. For example, how many times have you seen a truck pulling a trailer swing a little to the left in order to make a hard right turn in order to not jump the curb with the trailer wheels? How many times in that exact scenario have you seen some jerk in a small car whip into that vacant spot in order to turn right and cut off the truck and trailer? Is that driver just oblivious or ignorant of the space the truck with trailer needs in order to turn safely? In reality it doesn’t matter, what matters is that you as the driver of the truck need to plan for the worst and be able to react accordingly.
Trucks hauling a load require greater space to maneuver, greater space for braking, and more time to accelerate when they are lugging a loaded trailer behind them. As long as you recognize that and work within those limitations you’ll be fine, however, you also have to drive that heavier than normal combination through town having no faith whatsoever that the knuckleheads zipping all around you even see you much less recognize you have reduced performance. That is defensive driving, and the safest way to drive your rig through town.