There are a lot of factors that go into owning and using a trailer — and doing it in a safe manner. This includes things like your hitch and adapter, vehicle, and trailer. When you don’t follow the proper steps bad things can happen. For example, when you load your cargo improperly, your trailer will be off-balance and hard for you to control. You don’t want that to happen, so follow these tips to load your trailer in the safest way.
The first step that you should take is to make sure that you park your trailer on a level surface before you begin to load. An uneven surface may cause your trailer to shit or start to tip once you begin to load it. You will also want to make sure that there is plenty of room around the trailer.
Stabilize The Trailer
In order to add another layer of safety, you should chock your wheels. Chocks are wedges of wood or another sturdy material that is placed up against the wheels of your vehicle/trailer to prevent any unwanted movement. This eliminates any chance that it might roll or shift once you begin the loading process. Hitching your trailer to your vehicle and engaging the parking brake will help too.
Proper Weight Distribution
Before you begin, you should make a plan about what you’re going to put where during the trailer loading process. Part of this should be any necessary measuring the width of your trailer and the items that you are going to load. It is always a good idea to gather information before loading your trailer. The rule of thumb that you should follow for weight is 60/40. Place 60 percent of the weight of your load in front of the axle and leave the remaining 40 percent behind the axle. Doing this properly will limit trailer sway and help maintain the proper tongue weight.
Heavy Items First
If you want to make sure that your weight distribution is done correctly, start with the heaviest items. Put your items with the most weight in the center of your trailer just past the axle. Then you can fill in the space around it with the rest of your items. Spread them out as evenly as possible.
There’s a reason your trailer comes with tie-down anchors. You’ll want to make use of these with rope, straps, bungee cords, or something else to secure your load. This step is more important than you might realize. It’s vital to ensure that each of your items are completely tied down so they don’t come loose when you are on the road. Don’t forget about the excess of your rope or strap after you are done so it doesn’t get caught in your wheels or drag along the road.
Light Stuff On Top
When you load your heavy items first, then the lighter stuff can go around it and on top of it — assuming that it is safe to do so and you can strap them in properly. If possible, it can be helpful to combine some of your smaller and lighter items into one box or container. Many people will try to cover the load with a tarp for protection from the elements.
Follow the proper steps to safely hook your vehicle to the trailer. This includes having the right kind of hitch or adapter (check out these gooseneck adapter hitches) and that everything is rated to accomplish the task of pulling the weight of your load. The hitch just might be the most important part of the process when it comes to ensuring that everything is done in a safe manner.
The ability to tow a trailer safely is a great skill to have. But it doesn’t do you much good if you don’t also know how to load the trailer safely as well. Hopefully, these tips will help you to be prepared for the next time the opportunity arises. Remember, it is always a good idea to do this with at least another person to ensure safety and that you don’t miss anything.