For those who own horses and find themselves travelling with those horses for shows, competitions, or auctions, it’s important for them to make sure they are pulling theirs horse safely no matter the distance to their next location. To improve safety while towing a horse trailer behind an appropriately sized vehicle, the following may help ensure safety for drivers as well as the horses trusting you with their wellbeing.
Increasing visibility – Being visible is important during all hours of the day. Use plenty of reflectors on the trailer and always keep the headlights on to ensure visibility and to make it easier for other drivers to notice you on the road. This encourages other drivers to provide enough room on the road, prevent abrupt stops, and allow quicker response time.
Speed – Avoid speeding and maintain a comfortable distance while on the road. It’s important for vehicles pulling trailers to keep twice as much distance as regular passenger vehicles. This prevents drivers from stopping abruptly behind you and allows them enough time to respond to hazards, and this also prevents injury to the horses.
Avoiding Cell Phones – Mobile devices, even hands-free ones, are often a distraction and take focus away from drivers. It’s important to keep an emergency contact listed in case of emergency and to inform first responders who to call if you are unable to do so. If you need to use your cell phone, be sure to pull over. Driving while on the phone is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.
Pulling Over – If you have to pull over, be sure to do so as far away from the white line as possible. Pulling into the grass keeps a safer distance from the road and may provide more comfort for the horses.
Professional Maintenance – Check the trailer’s tire pressure often, especially with dually tires where the inside may seem inflated against the outer tire. If a tire needs to be changed, it’s best to get it done by a professional. Even if you’re fairly knowledgeable in changing tires, it’s worth it to spend a few dollars than to risk any future accidents.
Weight Distribution – Too much weight on one side can increase the risk of the trailer overturning. Be sure to balance the load within the trailer in case of sharp turns.
Proper Hitch – For trailers, it’s important to invest in the right one. Always make sure the hitch is secure and able to carry the weight of the trailer. It should be equal to or greater than the weight it’s pulling. If not, drivers run the risk of adding damage to the bumper or risking the safety of the horses in tow. When loading the trailer, make sure to load heaviest equipment or horse on the left side first.
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