Can I tow a trailer behind my touring coach?

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by Airstream, Inc.
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There are many different laws, including speed limit restrictions, having to do with trailer towing. Make sure that your vehicle-trailer combination will be legal not only for where you reside, but also for where you’ll be driving. A good source for this information can be the State Attorney General, State Police, or local authorities. Before you start driving with a trailer, check the trailer’s hitch, breakaway switch, safety chains, electrical connections, lighting, and tires. Also, adjust the mirrors to permit an unobstructed view beyond the rear of the trailer. If the trailer has brakes using an electric brake controller, start your vehicle and trailer moving slowly, and then apply the brakes manually using the brake controller to be sure the brakes are working properly. Read and follow the controller manufacturer’s recommendations. When towing a trailer, check occasionally to be sure the load is secure, and lighting and trailer brakes (if so equipped) are functioning properly. Always secure items in the trailer to prevent load shifts while driving. Take into consideration that when towing a trailer, the handling characteristics are different and less stable from those when operating the vehicle without a trailer. It is important to avoid sudden maneuvers. The vehicle and trailer combination is heavier, and therefore is limited in acceleration ability and requires longer stopping distances. It is more prone to reacting to side wind gusts, and requires more sensitive steering input. In order to gain skill and an understanding of the vehicle’s behavior, you should practice turning, stopping and backing up in an area which is free from traffic. If possible, do not brake abruptly, but rather engage the brake slightly at first to permit trailer to activate its brake. Then increase the braking force. We want every owner to be a safe and courteous driver. A few hours of towing practice in a large empty parking lot will make pulling your trailer over the road much easier. Line out two corners for left and right turns. You may also use these corners to practice backing and parking. During practice, observe that the tracks made by the trailer wheels are distinctly different from those made by the tow vehicle. Studying this will make it easier for you to correct mistakes. Consider truck- or trailer-type fender or door grip rear view mirrors for maximum visibility. In most states, the law requires them. After thoroughly inspecting your hitch, brakes, and tires, you should be ready to tow. Check traffic, signal that you are about to pull away, and start slowly. Look often in your mirrors, observe the action of the trailer, and then carefully move into the proper lane of traffic. Remember that the trailer wheels will not follow the path of the tow vehicle wheels; therefore, wider turns are necessary when turning to the left or right. On freeways or expressways, try to pick the lane you want and stay in it. Always maintain plenty of space between you and the car ahead, at least the length of the tow vehicle plus trailer for every 10 mph. Remember that in order to pass another vehicle, you will need longer to accelerate. You must also allow for the length of the trailer when returning to the right hand lane. On a two-lane road cars may be lining up behind you because you are traveling at a lower speed. It is both courteous and sensible to signal and pull over at the earliest safe opportunity and let them pass. Take into consideration that when towing a trailer, the handling characteristics are different and less stable from those with operating the vehicle without a trailer. It is important to avoid sudden maneuvers. Sudden maneuvers may lead to loss of control over the vehicle-trailer combination.

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