How to Reverse a Trailer
ALL INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS DOCUMENT IS TO BE USED AS A GUIDE ONLY.
IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO ENSURE THEY HAVE THE REQUIRED SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE
TO SAFELY TOW AND OPERATE A TRAILER.
Step one: choose your helper. Ideally this will be someone who is a proficient tower themselves; however, any capable adult can do the job. You need to be able to see the helper throughout the entire process and the helper needs to be able to see the parking spot and be aware of obstacles, including children and animals.
Step two: assess the situation and decide how you will manoeuvre the trailer to where you want it to be. This includes taking into account any obstacles such as curbs, other vehicles and overhead trees.
Step three: drive past the parking space and stop your vehicle. You need your car and trailer to be in a straight line.
Step four: position your mirrors so you can see the end of your trailer. It’s a good idea to note two reference points at this time – something on your vehicle and something on your trailer that line up so that you know when you are straight throughout the towing process.
Step five: hold your steering wheel with both hands at the bottom in the 6 o’clock position.
Step six: begin reversing, moving your steering wheel to change the direction of the trailer. To reverse straight you will want to keep equal amounts of the trailer visible in both mirrors. Remember that for straight backing you use your mirrors, whilst for corners you turn your body to look out of your windows. The more you can rely on your helper, the easier this will be.
Step seven: don’t be afraid to stop, pull forward, and make minor adjustments to the angles you are reversing at. Jack knifing will only make the job harder and may damage your vehicle or trailer. You are better off making many small movements.
Step eight: once you’re in position, ensure you don’t make more than a quarter turn of your steering wheel.
Step nine: practice as often as you can!
I have a great aunty who once towed a trailer the whole way through Adelaide without realising she had the trailer attached at all. My uncle had put the trailer on the car, and my aunt had then unwittingly taken the car for the day, including doing the school drop off. She spent the whole day wondering why people were beeping at her and making rude hand gestures.
A funny story and one that gets told at every Christmas party…but thank goodness she didn’t try to reverse!
So today’s blog post is a shout out to my dear great aunty, and should leave you better prepared to reverse your trailer. We’ve rounded up some of the additional hacks that will help you out when you need to reverse your trailer.
- Get your passenger or mate to help. This can help you to navigate obstacles. Don’t forget to get them to look out for trees and overhead obstacles!
- Hold your steering wheel from the bottom so that when you turn to the right or left, the trailer matches your hand.
- Check your mirrors – if you can see more of your trailer in one mirror, turn the wheel towards that mirror. This will straighten the trailer. You are trying to have the same amount of trailer in both mirrors.
- Smaller trailers are harder to reverse than large ones. This is because they are more responsive and so less forgiving of little turns of the steering wheel. If you’re learning, learn with something big.
Here at Adelaide Trailer Hire we’ve had more than our fair share of practice at backing up trailers, so if you want any hints or tips, drop in to see us.
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