So you have a few things you need to get from point A to point B, and they’re far too big to fit in your car. It’s time to get a trailer. Trailers make it easy to transport even the most cumbersome of items to your destination, but they can also be a bit tricky.
How do you properly load a trailer? When you’re driving, how do you stay safe on the road? We’re here to answer those questions. Read on to learn more!
1. Take Your Time to Measure
You’ve heard the phrase “measure twice, cut once” before, right? While we’re not going to be doing any cutting, “measure twice, load once” is the rule of thumb you want to go by. Unless you want to take multiple trips to your destination, you’re going to want to measure everything carefully before you start loading up your trailer and hitting the road.
Consider doodling out a plan for your trailer (including the ideal measurements of the trailer or the actual measurements if you’ve already gotten one). Then, measure all of your items and consider how they’re going to fit. Think of it like you’re playing Tetris and the trailer is the game board while your belongings are the individual Tetris blocks.
Remember that you’ll have both horizontal and vertical space to work with.
Even measure the small objects. Don’t forget to measure weights (at least approximately) as well. There are weight limits for trailers and for the cars that are towing them.
2. Find the Right Trailer
Once you have your measurements, it’s time to find a trailer that’s the right size to haul all of your belongings.
The trailer has to be big enough for your things but small enough for your vehicle to tow it. Luckily, finding a good custom cargo trailer is easy. Contact your local trailer rental company and discuss your needs with the employees. They should be able to point you in the right direction.
When you get your trailer, give it a quick inspection to make sure it’s in good condition and that it meets all of your specifications.
3. Park the Trailer on a Level Surface
When you’re getting ready to load your items into the trailer, make sure that it’s parked on a completely level surface and that the safety brake is on. The last thing you want is for the trailer to move while you’re trying to load it.
If you feel the trailer move at all while you’re loading it, stop and make sure it’s stable. This could turn into a dangerous situation quickly.
4. Make Sure Everything Is Secure
Now it’s time to actually load the trailer. This is going to be tedious, but doing it right is important. You don’t want anything to break or fall off. It’s extra important if you’re using an open trailer instead of a closed one. If something falls, it can put other drivers at risk.
Start with the largest and heaviest objects first. Then you’ll add more objects around them. The heaviest objects should also be on the bottom if possible.
60% of the weight inside the trailer should be in front of the axle while 40% can be behind. This should keep the trailer more stable. There are some exceptions to this rule, but with conventional trailers, it’s good to stick to it.
Tie down large and heavy objects. You don’t want them shifting around while the trailer is on the road, especially if it’s open.
Lightweight cargo can go on top of heavier items. Tie down anything that isn’t completely secure.
5. Double-Check Everything Before Driving
Once everything is packed up, it’s time to hit the road, right?
Not so fast! You want to double-check everything before you start driving. At the end of the day, this is going to be a more dangerous drive than you’re used to if this is your first time hauling a trailer behind you.
Turn on your car or truck and make sure your trailer lights are working. Cars behind you may not be able to see your normal brake lights, so the trailer lights will keep everyone safer on the road.
If you have space, drive on your driveway or an underused road before you get onto the highway or on busier roads. You’ll be able to get a feel for what driving with a heavy trailer is like. This is tricky if you live in an apartment in a dense area, but do your best to find a clear space to drive. You’ll also then have the ability to stop and check on your belongings to make sure you’ve secured them properly.
6. Drive Carefully
Now more than ever you want to be careful on the road.
Don’t start your trip if you’re at all sleepy. Sleepy driving can be dangerous during the best of times, but it’s even worse when you’re hauling something heavy behind your car. You also need to avoid distracted driving. No phone calls, rowdy passengers, texting, or eating while you’re driving. Keep both hands on the wheel at all times.
Maintain a steady speed of around 55 miles per hour or less. If you’re on a highway with a higher speed, do not go beyond the speed limit. People will understand you going slower if you have a trailer, but make sure you’re not putting other people at risk by going too slow. Try to keep up with traffic.
Avoid any sharp turns. Your trailer may whip around or even tilt over. Slow down before taking a turn.
It will be harder for you to stop when you’re driving with a trailer behind you. Keep that important detail in mind.
Are You Ready to Load Your Trailer?
Loading a trailer and getting it from point A to point B can be tricky. Keep these tips in mind when you’re preparing your belongings, loading them, and finally hitting the road. Remember, safety is key, so don’t skip any steps to save time! You’ll regret it.