Car Safety Image Gallery
Car Safety Image Gallery

Steering a tow vehicle and a trailer through a busy intersection like this one can be difficult -- even for an experienced driver. See more car safety pictures.

Pete Seaward Photography/Getty Images

For most drivers, simply keeping a car or truck moving straight down the highway doesn't require much effort. Add a trailer to the equation, and the same task becomes a bit more difficult. Acceleration slows down, braking distances stretch out, and even the vehicle's steering feels a little different. But perhaps one of the most dramatic differences that a driver will experience is when turning while towing.

Depending on a number of variables, such as whether you typically drive in a rural or urban setting or the average distance that you drive, you may be required to make dozens of turns every time you get behind the wheel. After a while, you probably don't give turning much thought at all. It's just something every driver deals with -- it becomes second nature.

Turning while towing a trailer is another story altogether. What was once a rather simple undertaking -- an ordinary right- or left-hand turn -- now becomes a task that requires a bit of advanced planning on the part of the driver. It may sound a little dramatic, but until you've actually been in the position of having to negotiate your way around a crowded street corner while towing a trailer, it's difficult to accurately describe the feeling. A veteran trailer driver, although still cautious, might be a bit more at ease in that situation, but it wouldn't be a stretch to say that a rookie driver would likely feel some anxiety and maybe even a little fear as he or she approaches that same turn.

Why the trepidation over a simple turn? What's the difference if you have a trailer attached to your vehicle? On the next page, we'll find out why turning while towing can cause even an experienced driver to grip the wheel just a little bit harder.