How to Backup a Trailer Like a Pro

how to backup a trailer like a pro

How to backup a trailer like a pro can be a tricky business. Since it isn’t exactly attached to the vehicle it can be really hard to manage while turning. In this article, you will find the steps and basic tips and tricks to backing up your trailer if you are a beginner. Here are a few steps to follow that will make you a backup like a pro.

Hook Up

trailer hook up coupler rv hitch

This isn’t just a step for backing up; it is one for whenever you are readying to take your trailer anywhere. If you fail to hook up the trailer right you risk it coming off and causing a huge accident. After getting the trailer on the ball, hook up the chain. Make sure that the chain makes an X or across.

The chains make sure that if the trailer comes off its place the chains will hold it together until you can stop and fix the problem. Otherwise, chances are that the trailer might take off on its own. Then always make sure that the latch on the connecting part is always down. This keeps it secure and makes sure that the lock doesn’t come off. In the end, put the pin in place that locks the whole mechanism in place. Without it, you risk the trailer running into your car.

Hand Placement

backing up a trailer steering wheel hand placement

Normally you are used to placing your hands on the upper part of the steering wheel. When you have a trailer attached this placement works against you. as when you turn left the trailer goes right and when you want to go right it goes left. To remedy this situation simply hold the wheel from the bottom part of the steering wheel.

Take It Slow

Towing your trailer for the first few times can be a little bit stressful. Make sure you practice it plenty of times so that you feel confident when you have to do it. It is okay to take it slow, do not rush into it. keep looking at your side mirrors and make reference points in your head that will tell you if the trailer is moving in the wrong direction.

If the trailer is wider than your tow vehicle you can use the fender wheel of the truck and the fender wheel of trailer for reference. In case your trailer is narrower than the tow vehicle, make sure that it doesn’t come into view on both side mirrors when you back up. Having a camera on the back end in great but do not rely on it too much and look for yourself to assess the situation.

Backing Up in Angles

backing up the travel trailer angles

Going back in a straight line is easier, but let’s face it you won’t always have spacious places. Therefore, you must practice turning the trailer while backing up. While moving in a backward direction and turning to adjust the position of the trailer, you can look out of the windows. Place your arm on the windowpane and poke your head out and look back, keep your other hand on the bottom of the wheel. Slowly back up and steer accordingly. Do not shy away from getting out of the car and looking at your progress. It can be a little intimidating to do in a large crowd, where you feel like a lot of people are watching you. but try not to let that get to you. Don’t worry if you make small mistakes with your angle keep going forward, correct your position and back up again.

Backing Up On The Opposite Side

It can be even more challenging when you have to back up in the direction of the passenger seat as you cannot look out of the window. Also, it is in the opposite direction of the vehicle you are sitting in. look over your shoulder and look through the back window of your vehicle. Focus on the rear end of the trailer and maneuver it into the right place. Once again do not be afraid to go forward and move back in to correct your angle. Do not worry about who is watching, keep safety your priority, relax and reverse.

Find Somebody Who Can Help

getting help backing up the trailer

It can be a great idea to have someone stand on the rear end. Someone who can assess the situation and make sure that you know you are going in the right direction. A ground guide can be really helpful if you are backing up on the passenger side or if you need to make a really hard angle. You can communicate with each other in two ways. That is either you can either shout at each other or follow simple hand gestures.

The ground guide can motion with his hands towards himself and guide you as you reverse. If they are bent towards the right side, you need to go rearwards while steering right but if they are bent in the opposite direction you need to go rearwards while steering left. If the ground guide is standing straight and motion to reverse, you need to back up straight. And if they have positioned their hands in across, you need to stop immediately. This is much easier than shouting at each other.

Backing up with a trailer can be hard and may even make you self-conscious. You need to make sure that you have practiced the process enough times that you would not be completely unguided while doing it in a real situation. Longer trailers are slightly easier to back up as they have a longer response time.

However shorter ones a little bit harder as their response time is faster. So, you should practice a little more if you have a short trailer. Having practiced the task a few times will not just make sure that you can do it well in a real situation but also raise your confidence. And you may not even have to worry about people watching, because you already are a pro.

Find out more about towing road safety tips here.

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