In our last blog, our Elmhurst U-Stor-It team mentioned the importance of knowing how to back up a trailer so here is an elaboration on the subject matter to ease the process!
Backing up a trailer is often the most dreaded aspect of getting behind the wheel of a vehicle with a hitch. It’s really quite an easy task once you get the hang of it, but for the average driver who may need to do it only once or twice here is the crash course on how to maneuver that trailer backwards.
Things to Avoid
There are two things you have to be mindful of at all times throughout the process. One is the obvious, avoiding hitting other cars, walls, or objects. The second thing to stay aware of is jackknifing the vehicle with the trailer ; this is when the trailer gets overturned and ends up in a 90 degree angle with the vehicle, ultimately damaging the vehicle and the trailer (pictured above).
How to do it
Start the process by attempting to be (as much as you can) in a straight line with the trailer. If you are not able to get in a straight line it isn’t a problem, it’ll just take a little extra navigation.
Trailers turn the opposite of how you turn your wheel, so while the vehicle may go right the trailer will go left. Jackknifing occurs when this occurrence becomes too drastic because of a lack of adjustment.
3. Using primarily the left mirror and window for sight of how the trailer is moving, begin to reverse slowly. If the trailer begins to turn or started in a turned position, turn the wheel in the direction the trailer is headed. This will even it out and get it headed back in a straight direction; the more heavily you turn the wheel, the more turn you get.
Sometimes Mistakes Happen
Especially if it’s your first time, it can be difficult to get it on the first try. Don’t be afraid to put the vehicle back in drive to straighten out. This is highly recommended if you weren’t able to start straight as it helps you guarantee you’re on the right path backwards.
If it ever appears you’re close to jackknifing or hitting something the first step is to pull forward to straighten out your line. If you’re in an awkward position where you can’t straighten out, remember that you can always unhitch the trailer, adjust the vehicle, and re-hitch in a better position to get out.
Have you taken on the challenge of renting a moving truck or trailer? It’s more complex than it may seem. Our Elmhurst U-Stor-It staff has laid out the guidelines to consider before taking the driver’s seat.
Make Sure You’re Plugged in and Chains Aren’t Dragging
One of the most common mistakes when towing a trailer is forgetting or incorrectly attaching the trailer connections. Without the electrical outlet plugged in you risk getting rear-ended since the drivers behind you will have no knowledge of when you are breaking or signaling for a turn.
Chains often are not tight enough and will drag on the ground creating major sparks. It’s important to make sure the chains hang at least 4 inches off the ground to avoid these sparks and to form the safest connection if the trailer happened to pop off the hitch.
Be Prepared to Back up the Truck or Trailer
You may find yourself in a situation where it is necessary to back up and maneuver your way out. If this occurs you want to be prepared! If you have a trailer be sure to read up on how to back it up. With both a truck and trailer it is extremely helpful to have a passenger that can get out and help you with the navigation. Remember to go slow and be aware of all corners of the vehicle and/or trailer.
The number one piece of advice is to make sure you stay safe by driving slowly. It’s easier than you’d think to get to a high speed while towing or driving a large truck; not only does this put you in danger, but it threatens your belongings as well.
Stay at a max of 55 mph or the marked truck/trailer speed limit on all streets and highways. Hopefully you’ll never have to break hard, but if you do you’ll realize how much better of a situation you’re in if you’re going an appropriate speed.
When approaching stop signs or lights ease off of the accelerator early. The easy speed change will help your loaded items avoid shifting around. Gas efficiency will improve, and your breaks will have a much easier time stopping the load.
Whether you’ve rented a trailer or own a truck, moving furniture from one place to the next can be a hassle; thankfully our Carol Stream Self Storage team has the tips you can’t afford to miss out on before making your move. The moving process puts a lot on your plate, making it easy to forget or not even think about the little details. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to avoid a disastrous situation!
Avoid Nicking Corners And Scratches
It’s easy to assume your big furniture can hold its own in a move, but corners and framing are much more delicate than the piece itself. Placing a simple blanket over each valuable piece of furniture greatly improves the likelihood of its survival. Once a piece has a blanket, you can stack other furniture on top without the risk of the surfaces scratching one another.
Even Weight Distribution
Why does the wheel keep pulling to the right while driving? If you loaded your trailer unevenly you could be setting yourself up for major consequences. Not only is it dangerous to drive an uneven trailer, but the wear and tear on the vehicle and trailer frame can be costly.
Before loading, assess all of the items that you want to fit in the trailer. Load the heaviest items towards the front of the trailer (the opposite side of the door) and pay attention that both the right and left side are approximately equal in weight. This will assure a much safer trip than otherwise.
Strap Loose Items
Unless the trailer is completely full and all items are secure, it is absolutely necessary to run rope or straps across to avoid items from fumbling around. Test this by pushing a loaded item—if it moves you need to tighten your straps again.
Don’t Try To Do It All On Your Own
Lastly, you may be confident in your strength or the ability of the new dolly you purchased, but moving completely on your own is a surefire way of risking injury or damage to your belongings. Ask a buddy or significant other for assistance—after all, what are friends for?