According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 20,000 people require medical attention every year as a result of crashes involving trailers towed by passenger vehicles. These recreational outings don’t need to go sideways — nor does whatever you may be towing. Here’s a safety checklist to ensure you are towing the right way.
(BPT) - The onset of warmer weather means taking to the outdoors, be it boating, camping or simply tackling big jobs in the backyard. The result is a heavy increase in traffic on the roads — and often tagging along with the extra vehicles are the trailers, boats and campers that can put motorists at risk.
In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 20,000 people require medical attention every year as a result of crashes involving trailers towed by passenger vehicles.
These recreational outings don’t need to go sideways — nor does whatever you may be towing. Here’s a safety checklist to ensure you are towing the right way:
Get hitched: A starting point to towing is knowing the pulling capacity of your vehicle, as too much weight can cause a load of problems, no matter how much power your engine has.
When it comes to connecting a trailer to the towing vehicle, a critical component, of course, is the coupler — the part of the hitch system that is attached to the trailer. The coupler needs to be secured, tight and locked.
On the towing vehicle, avoid using a ball mount and hitch that is rusted, cracked, corroded or poorly designed — anything that can compromise its integrity. A safe answer is applying a new hitch, like the Ultra-Tow Complete Tow Kit, which is a durable and easy solution to pull whatever you’re towing.
Bottom line: Always reference the “coupling to tow vehicle” section of your vehicle manual to make sure it is done right.
Feel the (tire) pressure: An often forgotten element on the trailer towing checklist is making sure the trailer’s tire pressure is at the right level. In addition, inspect tires for wear or trauma — and be sure to have a spare.
Be a chain agent: Once you place and pop in the coupler over the ball mount, the next step is applying the safety chains, which need to be rigged to the tow vehicle. Avoid the common mistake of rigging the safety chains to the hitch or ball mount itself. Safety chains are federal law and will keep the trailer from drifting in the event the trailer coupling separates from the ball mount.
Light it up: No matter what you’re driving, communicating with other vehicles is paramount to safety — and that means having properly working brake, tail and turn signal lights. Before departing, sync up the trailer lights with the tow vehicle and test it out so that other motorists will know your actions.
Locked down and loaded: Once everything is hitched, it’s time to load up the cargo. It’s best to be balanced with weight distribution, but put heavier cargo in the front of the trailer. And of course, do not overload.
This pre-departure checklist is only a start. Once on the road, remember the basic safe driving practices when towing a trailer: Drive at moderate speeds, avoid sudden stops, don’t use cruise control and allow more distance for stopping.
No matter how much of a rush you are in to hit the road this summer, don’t take any shortcuts when it comes to towing safely.
(BPT) - What do you love most about winter? Is it the skiing and the sledding, the trips to the winter carnivals or seasonal get-togethers? There’s plenty to love about winter — and often that means driving out to enjoy those things.
With sleet, snow and ice, winter weather can make your driving experience worrisome this time of year. But you don’t have to sacrifice your favorite winter activities just because of winter road conditions. Follow the five winter driving tips below and you’ll be able to focus on the moments that make this season great.
* Slow down. Sometimes the simplest tips are also the most effective. When you’re out on the road, reducing your speed by 50 percent during snowy weather is advised, just be sure you don’t slow down too much. Your car must maintain its momentum to avoid getting stuck in the snow.
* Have the right vehicle for the job. Nothing is worse than feeing unsafe in your car when bad weather hits. That’s why it is important to choose the right vehicle: one that is ready to take on wet and slick driving when winter weather strikes. The stylish and roomy Subaru Legacy comes standard with all-wheel drive, a feature that helps provide peace of mind when faced with difficult road conditions. The Legacy also comes available with Subaru EyeSight technology, an accident avoidance system that includes pre-collision braking, lane departure and sway warnings and rear cross traffic alert; all designed to provide an extra set of eyes and help keep you safe no matter where your winter travels take you.
* Keep in touch. When traveling on winter roads, particularly over long distances, it’s good to alert others to your trip plans. Call loved ones and let them know where you are going, when you will leave and when you plan to arrive. This keeps those waiting for you in the know in case of an emergency so they can help if needed. And don’t forget to provide periodic updates during your trip so loved ones can rest easy.
* Know how to handle a skid. Despite taking proper precautions, you still may find yourself sliding on an icy road. When you start to feel your vehicle enter a skid, don’t panic and just remember a few key techniques. First, take your foot off the gas – this will help to slow down and makes it easier to control the vehicle. In addition to laying off the gas, fight the urge to slam on the brakes but tap the brake pedal lightly and frequently. This helps to regain some traction and also slow the car down. Last, but certainly not least, lightly turn the wheel in the direction of the swerve to help guide the car toward that direction, this will prevent the car from entering a spin. As a final tip, look in the direction you want to go, rather than fixating on what you are trying to avoid; it really does help.
* Pack a winter weather kit. Sometimes, despite all your preparation, winter weather can still leave you stranded. If this should happen to you, it’s good to be prepared. Pack a winter weather kit and keep it in the back of your car for such emergencies. Your kit should include a backup phone battery and charger, blankets, water, protein bars, a de-icer, a flashlight, a tow rope, radio and cat litter — in case your tires need a little extra traction. Hopefully you’ll never have to use any of these items, but should you get stuck, you’ll be happy you planned ahead.
Braving through tough winter weather doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying your favorite seasonal activities with friends and family. Utilizing proper safety habits, packing the right supplies and choosing the right vehicle will help ensure you reach your destination safely to create winter memories that last a lifetime. To learn more about how the Subaru Legacy can keep you safe on the road this winter, visit Subaru.com.
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