Everything You Need to Know: Driving a Luxury Travel Trailer for Beginners
If you are thinking about getting an RV, you may have a few concerns especially if you have never towed anything before. You love the idea of being able to have a place to stay that you can take anywhere and go seek adventure with some luxuries of a home. Having a luxury travel trailer can be lots of fun and give you freedom to explore anywhere your wheels can take you. Here are a few things to know before driving away for the first time so you can safely get to your destination.
Before you can even think about pulling off with your travel trailer, there are a few things you need to make sure of. First and foremost, can your current vehicle pull the weight of the travel trailer safely? Once you are sure you are able to pull it go ahead and hook up your vehicle to the trailer. Get someone to help you check all your lights and signals to ensure you can communicate with other drivers. If you do not have a weight-distribution hitch, that may be something to look into. That will help balance out the payload and reduce the chances of you losing control of your vehicle. Lastly, check the air in all the tires. This is important when driving any vehicle but especially when towing a heavy trailer to avoid tire blowouts and improve your fuel economy.
Now that you are ready to take off, practice pulling your trailer, parking it, and become familiar with its size. Before you take it on a long road trip, driving your trailer should feel second nature to you. Take note of how wide your turns need to be, how long the trailer is, how tall it is, practice parking and your reverse skills. Another thing to be very familiar with is how tall your trailer is. A good tip is to write it on a sticky note and stick it to the front dash so you can keep it in mind with no second guessing to avoid any damage to your trailer. You may pass bridges, lights, or natural overhangs and you will need to know exactly how tall your trailer is to ensure clearance. Mapping out your route beforehand using an RV specific GPS system can help you avoid any instances where height will be an issue.
Learning Road Etiquette
When you are driving a larger vehicle, the road etiquette changes. You are big enough to squish other cars, it is harder for you to stop, and you must be more vigilant at all times. Here are some general rules to keep in mind:
- Use the right lanes unless turning, passing, or entering or exiting a roadway
- If you’re brand new to towing, avoid passing until you feel more comfortable
- On roads with no passing lane, pull over and allow vehicles to pass if there are four or more following closely behind you
- Signal turns and lane shifts early to alert other drivers
Watch Your Speed
When you are driving a large vehicle your speed will matter way more because it will take you longer to slow down. Many travel trailer tires have a recommended speed of sixty to sixty five miles per hour. It will be safer to drive ten to twenty miles under the speed limit and maybe even slower on small or windier roads. Abrupt stops can be dangerous and you will want to avoid this as much as possible.
Check The Weather
It can be dangerous traveling in inclement weather in the safest car, so you can imagine the risk bad weather can impose when you are towing a large trailer. Wind may be something you now have to consider that you may not have thought about much before. Winds even ten or fifteen miles per hour may leave you struggling to maintain control, especially if it is a crosswind versus a head or tailwind. You will want to check the weather and always make a smart decision if it is safer to wait until the wind or storm passes. Getting to your destination is the number one goal even if it takes you a little longer.
Let’s Go Exploring
Once you feel comfortable controlling your trailer, navigating the roads, and feeling confident pulling your trailer then it is time to hit the road. Decide where you want to go first and who is going with you. Make sure to plan everything ahead from your height friendly route, your fuel stops, meal stops, and checking the weather. Having a travel trailer is a fun way to explore the world around you, but do it safely.