How To: Tow In The Snow
7 Tips For Driving Safely With Cargo In Tow
Driving with a cargo trailer or utility trailer in tow takes extra care. But winter road conditions make towing in the snow and ice extra challenging. To help you drive safely, Formula Trailers offers tips for towing in cold, slippery conditions.
1. Check your tow vehicle.
Make sure your car or truck is prepared for winter driving. Perform regular maintenance and winterize with proper fluids, and make sure tires are in good condition and inflated properly. Consider chains or snow tires if appropriate for vehicle and terrain. Tell your mechanic you will be towing a trailer and ask them to check brakes and other safety features. Make sure your lights and electrical system are working properly.
2. Secure the right trailer.
If you will be towing frequently in bad weather, an enclosed trailer is your best option. But an open utility trailer will work, too, so long as you cover and tie down your cargo securely. Not only will this keep the cargo from damage, but shifting cargo can create a hazard on the road and affect your ability to maneuver while driving. Always be sure to load and secure cargo so that it is heavier in the front of the trailer and lighter in the back (60/40 is the standard).
3. Plan ahead.
Avoiding snow, ice, and heavy traffic is the key to towing safely. With all the weather and map apps available today, it’s easy to plan your route around traffic and the elements. Also, be sure to map out rest stops where you can pull over and rest or wait out the weather, if necessary.
4. Maximize visibility.
Make sure your lights are in good working order. Also, clear snow off your tow vehicle and the top of your trailer before you set out to avoid having it blow, or slide, into your (or someone else’s) line of vision.
5. Drive slowly and cautiously.
When towing a trailer, you always want to drive more slowly than usual and brake well in advance of stopping. This advice goes double for winter, when slippery road conditions can make it more difficult to stop. Keep a generous distance between you and other drivers, and pull over in a safe place to wait out weather—or aggressive drivers—if necessary.
6. Carry an emergency kit.
You should carry flares, water, jumper cables, and a first aid kit year-round. But in winter, add warm gloves and hats, an ice scraper, traction mats, and a portable shovel to remove snow.
7. Follow basic driving guidelines.
Whenever you hit the road—but especially while towing—it pays to follow safe driving rules. Keep your speed in check, signal before changing lanes or turning, and wear your seatbelt—you are the most precious cargo you will carry!
Formula Trailers is ready with enclosed cargo trailers and utility trailers to help haul in all seasons. Contact your local Formula Trailers dealer for more information and advice on how to choose the perfect trailer for your needs.