Oliver Travel Trailers

How to Backup a Trailer Like a Pro

how to backup a trailer like a pro
April 25, 2018

Backing up a travel trailer like a pro can be challenging. Being directly attached to the vehicle makes handling the trailer while turning easier. This article will guide you through the steps and provide essential tips and tricks to help beginners confidently back up their trailers. By following these steps, you can become a pro at backing up your travel trailer.

Master the Art of Backing Up a Travel Trailer

Step 1: Hook Up

trailer hook up coupler rv hitch

Before backing up, it’s essential to properly hook up your trailer. This step is crucial not only when backing up but also whenever you’re preparing to travel with your trailer. Incorrectly hooking up the trailer can lead to accidents and dangerous situations on the road. After placing the trailer on the ball, securely attach the chains in an X or across shape. This ensures the chains will hold the trailer in place if it detaches.

Additionally, always ensure that the latch on the connecting part is securely down. This is a crucial safety measure to prevent any accidents. Finally, lock the mechanism with a pin. This simple action can prevent the trailer from running into your vehicle, providing an extra layer of safety.

Step 2: Adjust Hand Placement

backing up a trailer steering wheel hand placement

While driving without a trailer, you may be accustomed to placing your hands at the upper part of the steering wheel. However, when towing a trailer, this hand placement can work against you. Adjusting your hand placement is essential as the trailer moves in the opposite direction when turning. Hold the steering wheel’s bottom part to control the trailer’s movements better.

Step 3: Take It Slow

Backing up a trailer for the first few times can be stressful, but you can gain confidence with practice. It’s crucial to take the process and take it quickly. Regularly check your side mirrors and create reference points to ensure the trailer moves in the desired direction. Use the fender wheels as reference points if the trailer is more comprehensive than your tow vehicle. If the trailer is narrower, ensure it doesn’t appear in both side mirrors.

Although having a camera at the back is helpful, it’s essential to rely on your own assessment of the situation rather than solely relying on the camera.

Step 4: Master Backing Up at Angles

backing up the travel trailer angles

Backing up in a straight line may be more manageable. Still, practicing turning the trailer while backing up is essential, as you will only sometimes have spacious areas. Use your side windows to assist in adjusting the trailer’s position while moving backward. Place your arm on the windowpane, poke your head out, and keep your other hand on the bottom of the wheel. Back up slowly and steer accordingly. Don’t hesitate to leave the vehicle and assess your progress if needed. Remember, small mistakes in your angles are expected, so keep going forward, correct your position, and back up again.

Step 5: Backing Up on the Opposite Side

Backing up on the passenger side can be more challenging, as you can’t look out the window. Instead, look over your shoulder and use the back window of your vehicle to focus on the rear end of the trailer. Maneuver the trailer carefully into the desired position. Feel free to go forward and readjust if needed. Don’t worry about who’s watching; prioritize safety, stay relaxed, and reverse confidently.

Step 6: Enlist a Ground Guide

getting help backing up the trailer

Having someone stand at the trailer’s rear end can be extremely helpful, especially when backing up on the passenger side or dealing with difficult angles. This person can assess the situation and guide you accordingly. Communication can be established through shouting or using hand gestures. Hand gestures are often more accessible and more effective. For example, if the ground guide extends their hands towards themselves, you should reverse. If they bend their hands to the right, you must go backward while steering right; if they twist their hands to the left, you must go backward while steering left. If the ground guide stands straight and motions for you to reverse, you should back up straight. You must stop immediately if they form an X shape with their hands. This method eliminates the need for shouting and ensures clear communication.

Backing up with a trailer may seem challenging and make you self-conscious, but practice makes perfect. Practice the process multiple times to gain the necessary skills and confidence. Longer trailers offer more response time, making them slightly easier to back up. However, shorter trailers require faster reactions, so additional practice may be needed. By backing up a travel trailer proficiently, you can eliminate the need to worry about people-watching. You will already be a pro!

Discover more valuable towing safety tips and guidelines by visiting our website.

Find out more about towing road safety tips here.

If you are in the market for a travel trailer for sale, check out Oliver Campers. Oliver’s has some of the best towing mechanisms in the RV industry.

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Start Your Adventure Today

Are you ready to create the perfect travel companion for your next adventure?
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