Before you haul your animals down the highway, it’s important that you are intimately familiar with your vehicle and trailer. Not only does a trailer dictate the way that you must drive, but you have the added responsibility of keeping your animals safe and secure. If you’ve never driven down the road with your animals in tow, here are tips to keep you and your four-legged passengers safe:
1. Practice Makes Perfect
You can’t become familiar with a vehicle/trailer combination if you don’t drive one. Before you load up your animals, practice hooking up your trailer and driving it down the road. Make sure that you follow a road with twists and turns, stop signs and corners. You will want to gain an understanding of how your trailer moves with and against your vehicle before you place animals inside of it.
2. Positioning Your Animals
When you’re driving down the road hauling a loaded trailer behind you, it’s important that the trailer is properly balanced. If you are hauling only one large animal, position it so that it is on the driver’s side of the trailer. If you are hauling two animals, position the heavier animal on the driver’s side. Trucking and hauling experts explain that this keeps the trailer balanced, reducing your chance of fishtailing and tipping over.
3. Safety Checks
Before you start your engine, perform a safety inspection of your vehicle and your trailer. Check tire pressure, ensure that your hitch is mounted properly, and make sure that all of your lights are in working order. Drive for approximately 500 feet and get out of your vehicle. Check your hitch assembly one more time to ensure nothing has been jarred loose by movement.
4. Recruit a Partner for Long Hauls
Because you are hauling living things, it’s important that you recruit a friend or family member to make the trip with you. Should you become sick or injured, your driving partner can take over at the wheel. You don’t have the luxury of pulling over and spending the night in a hotel because you aren’t feeling well. If you do find a partner to tag along, make sure that he is familiar with both your vehicle and your trailer. It makes no sense to take someone along who has never hauled a trailer.
5. Pay Attention to the Animals
No matter how carefully you think that you’re driving, drive more carefully. Remember that you have animals in your trailer. Give yourself extra time to stop and accelerate slowly. Doing these things will enable your animals to keep their balance. If you hit a stretch of road that is bumpy or pitted, drive slowly. Imagine yourself trying to stand up while someone was driving; it can be difficult at best. Take care to give thought to your passengers in the trailer; there comfort should be paramount during your journey.
Hauling anything behind your vehicle makes it necessary that you adopt safer driving habits; this is particularly true when the things behind you are alive. Outfit your vehicle properly, make sure that your trailer is safe and secure, and alter your driving habits. Doing these things will enable you and your passengers to get where you’re going safely.
Writer Dan Nielson is an avid truck blogger and suggests installing the draw-tite trailer hitch to keep your livestock safe.