A trailer hitch on the rear of your off-road truck is a great accessory to compliment the 2018 Ford Super Duty winch mount bumper on the front.
Now that you have your hitch set up, it’s important to learn about safe driving when you’re towing.
Driving with a trailer in tow is different than driving without one; learn the right techniques ahead of time, then take your trailer out for some practice so you know what to expect.
Start With A Level, Properly Loaded Trailer
Safe towing begins with a level trailer hitch after the trailer is loaded.
Using the instructions in Part 1, make sure you have a receiver with the right drop or rise for your trailer.
Load the trailer so that 60% of the load is positioned in front of the trailer axles so there is enough tongue weight on the hitch coupler and the trailer stays level during towing.
Then be sure to secure the load tightly to the trailer so it can’t shift or slide around.
Understand How A Trailer Affects Its Tow Vehicle
Trucks and Jeeps behave differently when pulling weight behind them.
They take longer to get up to speed, the whole rig requires a considerably longer distance to stop, and the vehicle does not have the same ability it has when not towing a trailer.
Trailers can also sway and bounce depending on the road surface and how fast you are traveling; they have a larger turning radius than the vehicle alone.
Noting these changes, it’s advantageous to head out with your truck and practice driving with a trailer in a safe place so you can get accustomed to starting, stopping, turning, and what movement of the trailer feels like.
Learn How to Back Up With A Trailer In Tow
While you’re out practicing with your 2018 Ford Super Duty with winch bumper, practice backing the trailer correctly as backing can be a significant challenge when towing a trailer.
Learn how to back straight and then how to back while slowly turning the trailer.
To turn the trailer to the left, you must rotate the steering wheel clockwise; to turn it to the right, you must turn the wheel counter-clockwise.
This is the reverse of making turns going forward and may not feel natural, so it’s a good idea to learn this maneuver before you have to because you will eventually need to back your trailer up.
Until you get the hang of it, have someone help guide you as you learn to navigate in reverse while looking through your rear-view and side mirrors.
Also avoid making sharp reverse turns with your trailer as you could end up jackknifing it.
Practice Safe, Defensive Driving
After you’ve gotten the hang of driving with a trailer both forward and backward, it’s time to head to the highway.
On the road, stay in the right lane whenever possible and use extreme caution if you need to pass another vehicle.
Adjust your mirrors so you can see what is behind your trailer and stay alert to traffic around you.
Give yourself plenty of distance to get up to the speed of traffic as well as stop behind the cars in front of you; avoid driving so fast that your trailer sways or bounces.
Make slow, wide turns and try to anticipate the movement around you so you won’t have to make any sudden motions with your trailer setup.
Take Care Towing A Trailer to Prevent Accidents
A trailer hitch on the back of your off-road truck or Jeep gives you a lot of flexibility to tow boats, cars, ATVs, and even help your best friend move.
The key to safe trailer towing is knowing the right way to drive with your trailer and never assume it’s easy or you may end up in trouble.
Instead, head out with your truck or your 2020 Jeep Gladiator with a Fab Fours Lifestyle winch bumper and practice ahead of time so you know what you’re doing and your next planned day out will proceed as expected!
Missed the discussion about choosing the right trailer hitch? Check out Towing With Your Offroader? Part 1 - Choose The Right Hitch! and pick out the one that will handle your needs!