How To Safely Tow 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.
BEFORE YOU TOW
Before hiring a trailer, it is important to know exactly what your vehicle is capable of towing. If a vehicle is overloaded, it can cause excessive damage to the vehicle and void any insurance as well as posing major safety concern on our roads. Strong laws govern the overloading of trailers and are there to ensure the safety of all road users.
HOW TO CHECK YOUR CAR’S TOW RATING
A car’s towing rating can depend on many combined factors including:
- The cars towbar rating.
- The tow ball rating.
- Whether the trailer has brakes.
- The cars transmission (manual / automatic).
Every new Australian car comes with a tow bar rating, either inside the driver’s / passenger’s door, in the owner’s manual or on the tow bar compliance plate.
Ensure your vehicle is rated for the job at hand before connecting a trailer.
CONNECTING A TRAILER
- Inspect your tow bar to ensure it is rated to withstand the weight of the trailer and its load.
- Use the jockey wheel to lower the trailer onto the tow ball (50mm tow ball).
- Latch down the coupling and double check that the trailer cannot disconnect.
- Attach the chains and cable ensuring they will not drag on the road.
- Check all lights are working correctly before use.
LOADING A TRAILER
- Always load the trailer front heavy (60% in the front half of the trailer).
- Never climb into a trailer that is not connected to a car or it may tip or roll away.
- Never remove a loaded trailer from the car as it may be unsafe.
- Always tie down your load using rated ratchet straps.
- Never overload a trailer or your vehicles tow bar.
Note: It is illegal to have an unsecure load. Always tie down your load.
TOWING A TRAILER
- Always allow extra space when overtaking or turning with a trailer.
- Allow greater stopping distance.
- Accelerate, break and steer smoothly to prevent swaying.
- Use a low gear when travelling down hills to increase vehicle control.
Note: Under no circumstances should any person ride in a moving trailer.
LONG DISTANCE TOWING
Long distance towing and country driving can be dangerous if the correct safety measures are not met. Below are some tips to ensure you and your family return home safely.
Before the trip:
- Tyres – Before you leave for a long trip, check all the tyres on both the trailer and your car for correct air pressure including spare tyres. Trailer tyre pressure should be at 40psi.
- Always ensure the spare wheel is attached to the trailer tightly. Check bolts are tight as vibrations can cause them to loosen over long trips.
- Wheel Nuts – For extended hires or long distance towing, double check all wheel nuts are tight using a wheel brace.
- Bearings – Check for excessive heat in the wheels over long distances. Excessive heat or wheel wobble may mean the wheel bearings require attention.
- Always pack a wheel brace and jack in case you are required to change a punctured tyre.
- Secure all loads to ensure nothing will fly or fall out of the trailer whilst driving.
- Always load 60% of the load weight in the front half of the trailer to prevent trailer sway (Heavy stuff up front closest to the car).
- Each time you reconnect the trailer, double check the trailer is secured to the car and your lights are working.
- Rest regularly. Fatigue is the number one killer on our roads.
Manual handling is the use your body to lift, lower, push, pull, carry, move, hold or restrain objects or people. Please refer to the manual handling code of practice for further information.
- Ensure you are familiar with the correct manual handling techniques.
- Always use the correct lifting methods.
- Never attempt to lift or move a trailer alone.
- Check the weight of objects before lifting them.
- Always seek help for heavy objects.
Note: For further information, Google – Australian manual handling code of practice.
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Towing safety guides
- General Safe Towing Guide
- Before You Tow
- Checking Your Cars Tow Rating
- Connect A Trailer
- Safely Loading A Trailer
- Safely Towing A Trailer
- Reversing a Trailer
- Long Distance Towing Tips
- Manual Handling Tips
- Trailer Load Legal Overhang Guide
Brake safety guides
Accessory safety guides
- Jockey Wheel Safety Guide
- Using A Ratchet Strap
- Trailer Ramp Safety Guide
- Trailer Cage Safety Guide
- Sack Truck Safety Guide
- Securing A Caravan Onto A Trailer
Speciality safety guides
- Car Trailer Safety Guide
- How To Use A Trailer Winch
- Motorbike Trailer Safety Guide
- Tipper Trailer Safety Guide
- Enclosed Trailer Safety Guide
Technical safety guides
- Rewire A Wire A Trailer Plug
- Jacking Up A Trailer
- Changing A Trailer Tyre
- Storing A Trailer Securely
- Coupling Lock User Guide
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