Top 10 Towing Risks to Keep in Mind


Unbalanced Loads

The results from this jackknifed trailer aren't pretty -- in fact, they're fishy.
The results from this jackknifed trailer aren't pretty -- in fact, they're fishy.
Phil Walter/Getty Images

Before you tow a trailer, you need to balance the tow load properly. Try to place heavier objects toward the front of the trailer (closest to the tow vehicle and ahead of the trailer's axle). This will help reduce the risk of trailer sway and fishtailing. If you overload the rear of the trailer, you could damage the trailer -- possibly even breaking its axle.

You should also make sure that you distribute the weight equally on either side of the trailer. Unbalanced trailer loads can create major problems on the road. Turning while towing an unbalanced load can result in an overturned trailer.

Keep an eye on your trailer while you drive. If you begin to notice it swaying or if you can feel it resisting turns, you may need to stop and rebalance the load. Fortunately, an unbalanced load is fairly easy to fix -- you just shift items around inside the trailer.

Unbalanced loads are dangerous even if you're not on the road. Simply unhitching the trailer from your tow vehicle can be risky. If there's too much weight in the back of the trailer, uncoupling the trailer from the tow vehicle can cause the tongue to rise up quickly. If you're in the way, the tongue might injure you. To prevent this from happening, you should position jack stands at the rear of the trailer before uncoupling it from the tow vehicle.

What do you need to know before you tow another vehicle behind your own? Find out in the next section.