Projects don’t stop just because it’s winter. You may find yourself in a position where you have to drive with a trailer in snowy conditions. The basic principles of driving with a trailer remain the same, but you will need to make a few adjustments in winter. Here are some pro tips describing how to drive with a trailer in the snow.
Check Road Conditions and Adjust Your Route
The route you had planned may not be the safest one. Before you hit the road, check the road conditions for your path. Mi Drive is a great resource here in Michigan. It shows total and partial lane closures, where maintenance vehicles are, traffic incidents, special events, and more. Even if you’re not driving in the snow, you can check this data to plan the ideal route with a trailer.
Maintain a Slow but Steady Pace
You’ll likely drive a little slower than normal because of the unpredictability of the ice. Make sure you maintain a consistent pace at that low speed. Moving at a slow speed will minimize damage in an accident, but you still need a bit of momentum. This will put less strain on the vehicle pulling the trailer and make it easier for you to control.
Avoid Using Cruise Control
Most cruise control settings cannot account for snowy road conditions. Your vehicle may accelerate at the wrong time, and the added weight of the trailer could be disastrous. You are more likely to feel slick patches with your foot on the pedals and make the appropriate adjustments to your driving.
Distribute Weight on All Tires
The general rule for loading a trailer is to put 60% of the weight in the front half near the hitch. Apply this rule in snowy weather, but also ensure that there is sufficient weight on each of the tires. This will keep the trailer planted on the road and reduce the risk of slipping while you drive.
Install Winter Trailer Tires
This winter trailer driving tip mostly applies to people who own their own trailers. If you’re renting a trailer for your project, the trailer rental company is responsible for upgrading to winter or all-season tires.
If you’re using your own trailer, verify that the tires are safe for snow or ice.
Get a Trailer with Brakes
Our rental trailers here at Easy Car Haulers are equipped with brakes and high-power safety lights. The brakes give you even more control over the trailer in the winter, so you’re less at risk of fishtailing or spinning out of control.
Plan Your Project around the Weather
If you have flexibility in your scheduling, plan to use the trailer in the best road conditions. Instead of moving the weekend of a big snowstorm, move a few days early or wait a few days later. If you cannot change the day of the project, plan to hit the road in the late morning hours. This gives the city workers plenty of time to clear the snow, salt the roads, and get the conditions as safe as possible.
Only Do What Makes You Feel Comfortable
Do not put yourself, your vehicle, or your trailer at risk if you are uncomfortable with the road conditions. Your safety matters above all else. There is nothing wrong with changing your plans because you cannot safely execute them.