Driving a trailer is a skill with many dimensions. One of these is hauling your trailer over steep grades. It may seem simple at first, but knowing a few tips and tricks can help keep you safe when you’re faced with those extra steep up and downhill stretches of road.
We’re going to split this guide up between advice for uphill and downhill grades.
Towing Your Trailer on a Downhill Grade
- Make sure you shift into a lower grade before hauling downhill
- Back off the gas pedal to moderate your speed
- Do not ride the brake the entire time. This causes overheating and burnout. Your brakes have a great deal of extra weight to stop.
- To slow yourself, slow down to below your intended speed. Then release the brake to get up to your originally intended speed
- Repeat the above steps as necessary
Hauling Your Trailer on an Uphill Grade
When you’re hauling uphill, you risk jerks and stalls due to your engine lugging. You can help keep this under control by shifting into a lower gear. This is better for your gas mileage and engine temperature, too.
If there’s a lane for slower traffic, you should merge into it.
Use your vehicle’s flashers if you must drive below 45mph. Check the local laws regarding flashers while towing and follow those.
Monitor your gauges for engine temperature. Turn off the AC to let the temperature stabilize if you’re running hot. You may need to pull over to let the engine cool down if it overheats.
Always use your common sense! Towing on grades can be challenging, but sometimes it can’t be avoided. Smart haulers always use the best, safest route for their trailer even if it isn’t necessarily the fastest one. Maintain situational awareness at all times.