Trailer, Towing Hazards: Tips for Safer Driving | DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog

The increased presence of camping, boat and motorcycle trailers on the nation’s highways throughout the summer creates unique driving hazards for motorists.

Interstate 95 was recently the scene of a truck accident that claimed the life of a 14-year-old North Carolina boy, whose family was towing a camping trailer behind their Ford pickup.  A wind disturbance from a passing tractor-trailer caused the camper-trailer to fish tail and the pickup driver to lose control.  The incident has been covered widely by local media outlets.

The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) advises that if you plan to tow a trailer of any kind on the highways this summer, you should practice towing on less-traveled, secondary roads beforehand and never allow anyone to ride in or on a trailer that is being towed.   They also offer these safety tips for general trailer handling:

  • “Use the driving gear that the manufacturer recommends for towing.
  • Drive at moderate speeds. This will place less strain on your tow vehicle and trailer. Trailer instability (sway) is more likely to occur as speed increases.
  • Avoid sudden stops and starts that can cause skidding, sliding, or jackknifing.
  • Avoid sudden steering maneuvers that might create sway or undue side force on the trailer.
  • Slow down when traveling over bumpy roads, railroad crossings, and ditches.
  • Make wider turns at curves and corners. Because your trailer’s wheels are closer to the inside of a turn than the wheels of your tow vehicle, they are more likely to hit or ride up over curbs.
  • To control swaying caused by air pressure changes and wind buffeting when larger vehicles pass from either direction, release the accelerator pedal to slow down and keep a firm grip on the steering wheel.”

If you or a family member believe that you have a case involving an automobile or trucking accident, please contact us on line at Regan Zambri & Long or call us at 202-753-4272 for a free consultation.  If you would like to receive our complimentary electronic newsletter, please click here.