Five Fifth Wheel Towing Tips
Travel trailers are a great way to enjoy vacations and getaways. Fifth wheel towing is a tremendous responsibility, though. When not handled properly, these recreational vehicles can could skid, jackknife, or tip over. If you’re not trained to tow these vehicles, you can be a huge danger to yourself and other drivers. That said, there’s no need to panic. If you’re reading this, then you’re not behind the wheel of your towing vehicle. You’ll have time to read these general tips to help you safely tow your travel trailer.
Travel Trailer Benefits
While some enthusiasts prefer RVs, there are many advantages to owning one of these travel trailers. Some of these are:
- Fifth wheels can be more affordable than self-powered RVs.
- Travel trailers tend to offer more space because there’s no need for an engine or cab.
- Your tow vehicle becomes your secondary vehicle once you set up camp.
These are some things that make travel trailers great. Before you hitch yours to a truck, you must also be aware of the things that can go wrong if you don’t properly handle your fifth wheel. It doesn’t take much to cause one of these vehicles to skid, jackknife, or tip over. If any of these things happen, the results could be disastrous. That’s why we’ve shared these five towing safety tips for travel trailers:
1. The Right Towing Vehicle
Just having a tow hitch on the back of your vehicle doesn’t mean that your vehicle is truly rated for towing. Don’t just hook up and hope for the best. Read the owners manual that came with your truck or SUV and what it says about towing. Learn about your vehicle’s towing capacity and compare it to the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of your trailer. (Don’t forget to factor the approximate weight of everything you put in the trailer!) These tips are for your safety.
2. Pack Lightly for the Trip
When towing a travel trailer, it’s always best to pack lightly. One of the easiest things you can do to travel lightly is emptying your water tank before you hit the road. Water weighs more than eight pounds per gallon, so it’s better to fill your tank before you set up camp. Dragging around all that weight just slows you down and requires more fuel. Also remember to go easy with clothing, food, and other accessories when you pack. This cuts down on weight and also makes your fifth wheel less cluttered.
3. Trailer Weight Distribution
You don’t need to be a math genius to understand this. The majority of your travel trailer’s total load weight – 60 percent or more – must be concentrated in its front end. This helps it keep it running straight behind your tow vehicle. When more than 40 percent of the weight is in the back of the trailer, it becomes “tail heavy.” This can cause your trailer to swerve behind you and even pull your vehicle off the road! Most travel trailers are designed to have heavier appliances and tanks near the front. Be safe by not packing everything in the rear cabin!
4. Trailer Sway Control
You know what’s the best way to keep your travel trailer from swaying? Ease up on the gas pedal. Fifth wheels are dangerous at higher speeds. If you drive too fast, your trailer could skid, jackknife, or even tip over. If that happens, it will take you and your towing vehicle with it. If the road is congested, there’s no telling how many other vehicles you might sideswipe or even crush. That’s why many people with travel trailers say that controlling your speed is the best trailer stabilizer. Make the right lane, aka the “slow lane.” your home, and let other drivers pass you. You’re chances of having a safe journey skyrocket when you adhere to safety precautions.
5. Don’t Slam on Your Brakes!
No travel trailer is capable of stopping on a dime. You should already know this. If you’re going too fast and mash your breaks, your trailer is likely to skid, jackknife, or worse. This is why we told you not to speed in tip No. 4. Fortunately, many trailers are equipped with electronic breaks. If you have any questions about this, you should check with your RV dealer. You can also find information about trailer breaks online. It would be in your best interests to learn this and the distance you need to stop your vehicle and travel trailer.
Bonus Tip: DIRECTV for Your Travel Trailer
Here’s another tip for full- and part-time RVers: get DIRECTV for your travel trailer. The satellite TV providers offers a huge range of channels. This means you can watch your favorite news, sports, and entertainment programming wherever you travel. It really is the perfect match for anyone who enjoys the RV life! Signal Connect is an AT&T Preferred Dealer that specializes in bringing DIRECTV to RVs, campers, and motorhomes. When you work with us, we’ll help you with each step in the DIRECTV process:
- Choosing a programming package
- Getting the right satellite TV equipment
- Installation in your travel trailer
- Activation of your account
- Ongoing white glove service after the sale
Getting DIRECTV for your fifth wheel is a process, and we make that process easy. Are you interested in satellite TV, but still have some questions? We’re happy to help. Just give us a call at 866.726.4182. We’ll give you all the information you need about satellite TV in RVs, campers, and motorhomes.