Trailer safety is not a compromise, especially when you’re towing a trailer with an excavator. While it might seem like common sense to drive safely when towing, there’s a lot more to it when you’re carrying a heavy load. We have some tips and pointers for you to help you manage your trailer safely on the road.
Critical Safety Tips
The bottom line with trailer safety is making sure your trailer is secure and safe on the road. You need to cover all the angles:
Safety chains: Whatever load you’re carrying, you may need one or more safety chains depending on the loaded weight of the trailer. Chains must comply with Australian Standards as specified under relevant regulations and guidelines from the state traffic authority. Safety chains must be connected to the towbar.
Towbars: Towbars must be rated to at least the weight of the load. Underweight towbars are major risks on the road; they can’t manage the heavier load and may even detach while driving.
Braking systems: Braking systems may or may not be legally required for lighter weight loads, but they’re good value for safety on the road. Best practice is to have a braking system that is operable from the driver’s seat.
Towing vehicle requirements: The vehicle must not carry loads over the manufacturer’s rated towing capacity and the trailer’s towing capacity. If you try to haul a trailer over either the vehicle or the trailer’s capacity, there are very serious risks of instant failure.
Rear marker plates: If your trailer is over 7.5m long, you must have a Do Not Overtake Turning Vehicle plate attached to the trailer. This is also a useful reminder to following vehicles that you’re driving a long trailer with a turning curve slower than they are, so it’s well worth fitting these plates.
Safe Towing: Things to Look Out for on the Road
Anyone who’s ever towed a heavy load will tell you that you can actually feel load problems within seconds of starting. The above points are the simplest ways to ensure that your vehicle and trailer perform well.
Major issues with a towed load include:
The sluggish or erratic performance of a trailer on bends in the road: This indicates that the trailer is lagging behind and that it may drift outwards or inwards towards traffic or the road edge. The trailer can also act as a counterweight, pulling against or away from the direction of your vehicle’s movement. At the first sign of performance issues, check the trailer.
Steering issues caused by the load: If the towing vehicle isn’t responding properly to steering, the load may be unsafe. The risk is that you may not be able to respond quickly enough to traffic movements or sudden events. Don’t take any risks with an unpredictable steering situation; you need a bigger, better trailer to manage the load.