Be Considerate when towing… some good ideas

Towing is easy for some of us and sometimes we need to remember that not everyone feels this way. It can be stressful to you the person doing the towing (especially if you are a novice) but stressful to the others on the road as well. I guess it works both ways no matter if you are doing the towing or you are travelling nearby someone who is towing. For example people doing the towing forget or sometimes can’t see single vehicles or worse motor cycles. Towing rigs and trucks can be slow to stop, slow to start and difficult to negotiate tight turns. Tedious to reverse into tight areas, the list goes on.

For those travelling near the towers, it can be frustrating wanting to go faster, we could tend to get impatient and not realise that they just don’t stop as well. Sometimes they can not even see us. So I guess we all get affected somehow by the heavy slower rigs on the roads… so below are some tips for driving if you are either of these drivers so we all stay safe and unstressed.

1) One of the most maddening things on the highway is when a passing lanes appears, just about everyone seems to try to speed up, don’t!!!. unless you are overtaking in the right lane. Pull over and let people through. Its not a race and I have a favourite saying for this. “slow down and watch all the idiots disappear”

2) If there is a long queue of traffic behind, you’ll score big points by using pullover areas, roadside stops or scenery viewing stops provided, to pull off the road and allow traffic to overtake. Its easy, check your mirrors, even slow down a little to let them through on short overtaking opportunities and wave them past, providing the road is good and safe. If you slow down a little they will feel safe that you want them to overtake and they will be more likely to start over taking. Then everyone can relax.

3) Avoid holding up heavy vehicles and make it easy for them to get around you taking into consideration there size and maneuverability. Let them know you see them and wave them past. Truck drivers have to deal with slow travelers and caravans all day and this can be upsetting for them as it is for you when you want to travel faster than the vehicle in front. So indicate for them to pass or if you have a 40-channel UHF radio put it on channel 40 and keep in contact with the drivers, put your preferred channel clearly on the back of you towed vehicle.

4) When you are travelling on single lane open road or highway, either try to maintain highway speeds or drive at 15-20km/h under the speed limit, this allows other drivers to maintain a decent travel speed or if you are travelling slowly plenty of speed gap to overtake safely.

5) Use your external mirrors regularly if towing caravans so you are aware of upcoming traffic. Have you ever had a motor bike roar past and give you a fright because you had no idea it was coming? Use a rear vision camera if you have one. Be aware of what’s around you at all times. Allow plenty of time to react by spacing yourself a large safe distance from any vehicles in front.

6) If you need to stop for a puncture repair, get a drink, water a tree or whatever do your best to use allocated roadside stops. If there aren’t any available and you have to stop get as far of the blacktop or off the trail as you can so as to prevent others having to dangerously pass to close or endanger oncoming traffic.

7) Keep a good distance from vehicles in front and allow tailgaters to pass ASAP its not worth it let them get past. Remember your outfit will take a lot longer to stop and you are going to need the extra space.

8) Take regular stops, something to eat and a little walk and stretch. As small as it sounds this will change your alertness enormously. This sounds like a safety tip (which it is) and more than that its also being respectful to other drivers making sure you stay alert with a sharp mind and can react and drive calmly when you aren’t tired.

9) Keeping everything in good condition is essential and make sure all your lighting especially brake lights are working (and remember the indicators) before and during every trip. Check your vehicle and camper trailer and have someone stand at the back and let you know while you go through the lighting that it all works. This can make the difference between a serious crash or being able to stop safely. Also if you have a braked trailer use the slide on your in car brake unit without using the car brakes to make sure you feel the trailer brakes working before you head of.

10) Wave, smile, be curtious and friendly it makes it all much more fun!