There IS a Technique
for Making Turns with a Trailer in Tow
If you've ever
towed a trailer of any kind, you are aware that you cannot make turns
the same way you normally would in a vehicle. That trailer just doesn't
make the turns as easily as a car or pickup truck.
whether you're traveling with a gooseneck trailer or a tag-along,
you should always swing a bit wide when making a turn. Nevertheless,
there are certain techniques to follow, depending on the type of trailer
a Gooseneck Trailer
A gooseneck trailer
is one that is hitched over the tow vehicle's rear axle. As a result,
the tow vehicle will begin its turn well before the rear of the trailer
has begun turning. Because of the path a gooseneck trailer takes during
a turn, it's very important to swing wide and then go straight until
the trailer's wheels have rounded the corner. The use of side-view
mirrors with spot magnifiers can provide a full view of the wheels
throughout the turn.
a Tag-along Trailer
A tag-along trailer,
which is one that is hitched to the bumper of the tow vehicle, follows
the path of the tow vehicle more closely during a turn. However, it's
still a good idea to swing a little bit wide when negotiating the
turn, because even a tag-along trailer will cut a corner more sharply
than the vehicle that it is following. Again, the use of side-view
mirrors will help you to keep an eye on the path of the trailer's
wheels throughout the turn.
If you've never
towed a trailer, or if it has been awhile since you've towed a trailer,
you should practice making turns in an empty parking lot or a vacant
lot prior to taking your rig out on the streets. You may set up highway
cones or flags to form a 10-foot-wide lane for your practice sessions.
Practice driving your rig down this lane.
When you reach
the end of the lane, make a turn with the rig. Do this several times,
alternating each time between a left-hand turn and a right-hand turn.
Be sure to take notice, using the side mirrors, of how close the trailer's
wheels come to the last cones as you are turning.
cones to create a variety of turns to help you get a good feel of
the trailer's width and how sharply the trailer can make turns. Once
you feel confident enough, you may take the trailer out on the road.