As a motorist, it’s important to be cautious when you are following a truck pulling a trailer. Trailers make wide turns because the wheels of the trailer come closer to the edges of the curb than the wheels of the towing vehicle. If you are not expecting this difference, it’s easy to cause a motor vehicle accident. This is illustrated by a recent Idaho collision involving two vehicles traveling southbound on US Highway 95. Jesse Carpenter was pulling a trailer behind his Ford F350. A white Ford pickup was traveling directly behind Carpenter, with Kaysi Weisenberger traveling behind the white Ford in a Chrysler PT Cruiser. When Carpenter slowed down to make a left turn, Weisenberger attempted to pass the white Ford that was behind Carpenter and struck the rear of Carpenter’s trailer.
How to Pull a Trailer Safely
Trailer towing requires practice because the added weight of your trailer will cause your vehicle to respond differently. Before you hit the road, it’s best to practice towing a trailer in a large open area such as an empty parking lot. Backing up is another important skill to practice, since you must remember to turn the wheel in the opposite direction you want to go.
If your trailer has a wider wheel base than your vehicle, you may need to replace your normal side view mirrors with a larger set or use mirror extenders that will give you a better view of the road when you are driving.
Remember that speeding is a particularly bad idea whenever you’re towing a trailer. Your vehicle has to work harder to accelerate and brake, which means you need more room to slow down and stop. Speeding can also cause trailer sway, in which the rear of the vehicle moves independently of the front. If this happens, the trailer gains momentum with each swing and may eventually jacknife.
If you do experience trailer sway, the best way to correct it is to apply the trailer’s brakes without braking the tow vehicle so you come to a gradual stop. Resist the temptation to try to steer your way out of the problem, as this will only magnify the severity of the trailer sway. When the problem is corrected, pull over and adjust the trailer load to make sure it is balanced properly before you continue on to your destination.
Contacting an Attorney After an Accident
The attorneys at Holzer Edwards are dedicated to protecting the legal rights of Idaho families and individuals who have been injured due to the negligence of others. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident involving a truck pulling a trailer, please give us a call today at (208) 386-9119 or toll-free at (888) 490-0992 for a free consultation.