Knowing How to Tow a Load Safely

Many Americans own and drive SUVs or pickup trucks in order to tow trailers or RVs along on a road, either for work or for leisure. Some trailers may be loaded with commercial items such as construction materials or even livestock, and others are loaded with personal items such as drum kits. In other cases, a truck is towing along an RV, and some of these RVs are quite large and heavy. This means that a driver must bear towing safety in mind, and that often involves using the best brake controllers on the market. Electronic brake controllers are the key, and a truck driver can maintain fine towing safety when they use and program those brakes correctly. What else is there to know about towing safety?

Towing Items

A truck may tow a fairly small trailer along, but even then, basic towing safety must be maintained. It is possible for a trailer to start swaying during travel, and that can cause some problems. To prevent this, a truck driver should ensure that all items inside the trailer are inside the trailer’s edges, and preferably, most items are closer to the truck inside that trailer. If a trailer starts swaying during travel, then the driver is urged to slow down very gradually and try to drop below the speed where the trailer sway started happening. In many cases, that will be enough to stop the swaying, but in other cases, the driver may need to coast to a stop and inspect the trailer in person. They may need to readjust the items inside and double-check the hitch to make sure that no further problems will occur. In any case, the driver should refrain from hitting the brakes when trailer sway starts happening.

Using Brake Controllers

Electronic brake controllers are commonly used for larger trailers, especially for towed RVs. It may be noted that among RVs, only motor homes actually drive themselves, operating similarly to a bus. Other RVs will have wheels, certainly, but no means of braking on their own. So, a truck driver will use electronic brake controller products and wire the RV’s own brakes to those of the pickup truck, and allow the two brake systems to act in tandem. When the pickup truck’s own brakes are applied, this sends a signal to the RV’s own brakes, and they can coordinate. Without this, an RV would simply slam into the truck towing it while on flat terrain or while doing downhill. And while braking uphill, the RV may tug on the truck and drag it backwards unless the brake systems are coordinating correctly.

There are two main types of electronic brakes to use: timing based, and inertia based. Timing based brakes are slightly less precise, but they are sufficient for lighter trailers that are going at fairly low speeds. When the truck applies its brakes, the system will apply the trailer’s own brakes with timing that is based on the driver’s programmed input. That allows the trailer to come to a smooth halt right alongside the truck, and such timing brakes are easy to program.

Meanwhile, inertia based are somewhat more complex to use, but they are essential for larger trailers, or those going at high speeds. These brake systems, when wired correctly, will sense the truck’s inertia and apply brake pressure to match, keeping both parties tightly coordinated. This is also possible while the truck and trailer are going uphill or downhill, and the system will automatically compensate for inclined planes. Otherwise, a trailer might slam into the truck going downhill, or yank it backwards while going uphill, and that is not at all to be desired. Either way, a truck’s electronic brake control box may be placed conveniently on the dashboard while driving, for ease of use.

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