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Author Topic: Towing Mistakes Etc.  (Read 2282 times)


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Towing Mistakes Etc.
« on: February 22, 2017, 01:46:11 PM »
So I made the grave error of spending the last forty minutes on youtube, watching videos of RV blown tires/crashes/flips/etc. I sort of fell into the rabbit hole of youtube by accident. 

I haven't started towing my TT yet, but I will soon and now that I have significantly traumatized myself, I would like to know how common are these types of things if you're doing the right thing (going appropriate speed etc.)?

One commenter brought up the fact that truckers are required to have CDLs, but people towing campers which are sometimes 40ft and can weigh 15k lbs plus arent required to have anything special licensing which I thought was interesting.

Thoughts? Anecdotes?
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Re: Towing Mistakes Etc.
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2017, 02:08:10 PM »
It is estimated that nine million RVs travel the USA. If all those people can do it in relative safety then so can you.

Just stay in your comfort zone when you start out, both with speed and driving distances. Don't drink or eat anything while driving for the first few hundred miles so that both hands are free. You will gain competency quickly and if you remain a bit more attentive then while driving your car, you'll do just fine.
Larry --  Olathe, Kansas
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Re: Towing Mistakes Etc.
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2017, 02:46:26 PM »
Some states do require a different class of license for larger vehicles such as those weighing over 26K (example only). Some states require endorsements (and exams) for vehicles equipped with air brakes. These may not be "CDL's" but can be similar but no logs need be kept and no medicals required.
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Re: Towing Mistakes Etc.
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2017, 02:56:52 PM »
Find a large, empty parking lot to practice in, and learn how things work, what your turning radius is.
Bring some cardboard boxes, and some bricks to weigh them down a bit, and set up some test lanes.
Practice pulling through the lane, Practice backing up a lot. learn where your wheels are and get comfortable with the rig. It is actually easier than you think. Once you get some confidence, you'll see that.

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Re: Towing Mistakes Etc.
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2017, 04:48:15 PM »
Making sure that your truck and trailer are properly set up with a good wdh and that you have checked your weights and balance at a scale will go a long way towards helping you keep everything in a straight line and dirty side down. Get in the right lane and maintain a comfortable speed below your trailer tire's max speed rating and stay there. Also make sure your brake controller is set up and working correctly. Then just take it easy, give yourself plenty of stopping distance and enjoy the ride.
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Re: Towing Mistakes Etc.
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2017, 05:05:53 PM »
Much good advise.  May I add to check the tire age. Trailer tires will "age out" before they wear out.  The date the tire was manufactured is imprinted on the side of each tire, in WWY format ( Week of year, year).  5 years are acceptable.  Anything over 7 - 8 years is getting on borrowed time.
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Re: Towing Mistakes Etc.
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2017, 05:50:44 PM »
The skills can be acquired. Problems arise when drivers have the attitude that handling large vehicles is the same driving a passenger car, and it's acceptable and inevitable that you're going to bang into things. Neither is true.

As you have discovered, there is a wealth of information available at your fingertips to help you avoid these traps. Keep an open mind, you'll be fine.
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Re: Towing Mistakes Etc.
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2017, 06:16:45 PM »
A big factor with safety is just common sense. Years ago we traveled in a convoy with friends to Disney (from Ct), none of us had any issues with our TT's. When we got to Florida it was naturally very hot and you could easily see the heat rising from the road. We had radios and we all agreed to back it down from 65 to 55. Sure enough shortly after we did this a fifth wheel blew by us like we were standing still. About 3 miles up the road, there he was, pulled off to the side with two blow outs and damage to the side of his rig.

For the most part campers are good drivers but just like driving a regular car there are those that just have to push the limits. Having a good tow vehicle, not over loading and knowing your limits should get you safely to your destination!
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Re: Towing Mistakes Etc.
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2017, 09:04:50 PM »
DOn't forget to watch this video on how to easily U-turn your trailer in a pinch.

Great step by step video

How to U-Turn your trailer in under 6 minutes  ;D


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Re: Towing Mistakes Etc.
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2017, 09:31:39 PM »
If you make sure your TV and TT are under their limits, have a good WD hitch, check the tires for age and air pressure (this one frequently), stay under 60 mph, and take your time and not rush yourself, all these will help you minimize accidents and problems.  I believe many of the accidents/problems are due to owner/driver error not so much about TT.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Towing Mistakes Etc.
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2017, 09:19:45 AM »
States don't have general CDL-like requirements for RV drivers because statistics haven't shown that RV drivers are often unsafe. In fact, insurance statistics tend to show the opposite. When operated in a reasonable fashion, you have very little to worry about.  That said, I would love to see a "large vehicle safe driving" course as a requirement, for the reasons I will outline below.

The rub, of course, is the "reasonable fashion".  You are piloting a much heavier vehicle that takes longer to stop, so you need to drive slower and anticipate the need for braking earlier. It's also a taller & somewhat top-heavy vehicle that is more vulnerable to tipping on curves, and a broad-sided vehicle that is subject to cross-winds.  All these mean you want to be more cautious, i.e. non-aggressive.
Gary Brinck
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Re: Towing Mistakes Etc.
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2017, 09:48:06 AM »
A CDL doesn't mean the person possessing it has an ounce of common sense.

That applies across the board.
Purchase the right truck to tow your trailer.  Don't push the max weight/tow limits.
Just because the speed limit may be 75mph doesn't mean its a requirement.
Keep your equipment in good running order, especially tires.
I think you will find a good number of blowouts were from people driving too fast, and/or with marginal tires.
Start out small.  Keep local until you get comfortable.  Your first trip probably shouldn't be cross country ;D

This is all just common sense stuff.  Keep the macho stuff in check and I suspect you will be just fine.

Jeff in Ferndale Wa

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Re: Towing Mistakes Etc.
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2017, 10:27:23 AM »
Lots of good advice above.
One of the things that I had a tough time remembering was to take corners wide enough for the trailer to clear.
I was lucky that I didn't have any issues, but still have visions of looking at a stop sign in my mirror that looked so close to the trailer when I made a right hand turn, I'm still not sure how I missed it.

One other thing I always do, after pulling out of a campground one day and seeing a trailer sitting
 alone in the road on a hill,and the TV up the road a hundred yards or so, is to inspect my hookups AND have the wife take a quick look at the hookups and make sure everything is hooked properly and securely before pulling out of the campsite.
I don't want to be that guy going up the road, leaving his trailer behind.
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Re: Towing Mistakes Etc.
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2017, 07:28:27 PM »
The most important tool for towing is your brain. Don't try to pull the world with an overloaded undersized tow vehicle and you will be fine. Just because you can move it doesn't mean you should tow it.

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Re: Towing Mistakes Etc.
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2017, 07:38:53 PM »
Backing up to hitch, having my wife say the hitch is on the ball all the way and locked and taking off without checking myself.  Was made aware of my error within a quarter mile.
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Re: Towing Mistakes Etc.
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2017, 07:32:47 AM »
The real issue is the CHEAP Chinese tires most RVs come with off the lot. My advice is drop the factory tires soon after taking possession.  had a blowout in SC and took out the black water drain valve. Which thank God we were empty! but lovely the rest of the trip not having access to the bathroom om the coach.  The whole tire unraveled.  The cheap factory tires are good for about a year and even then you are living on borrowed time. Get the Goodyear Marathon tires. They are decently priced and are wonderful.  You can order at SAMs or tire rack.
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John From Detroit

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Re: Towing Mistakes Etc.
« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2017, 12:24:10 PM »
Licensing requirements vary from state and from weight to weight, For example one state I know the fuel tax is different if you weigh 26001 pounds than if you weigh 25999.

In another state the license requirements are likewise different and 26,000 is again the line of demarcation.

And in still other states,, No such requirement.

Semi's are generally over 26,000 pounds (Heck the truck, empty can be over 20,000) and have air brakes, which operate a bit differently on a tractor/trailer than on a Motor home.  This takes special training..

They also spend far more time on the road and often far TOO MUCH time on the road.  As an RVer if you get tired, You, in theory, find parking, but many Semi drivers well they will push on because they get paid by the load-mile and the farther they drive in a day the better the pay.

Also not all semi drivers OWN THE SEMI. My brother for many years drove for other people, Finally he got his own rig.. Then had to give it back to the bank when he had his heart attack.

Finally,   Flat tires.. now the trailers I pulled had steel wheel wells and no wiring or plumbing in those wells, So when the tire blew, No damage beyond the trailer.. Many larger trailers do have wires or pipes in the wheel well, and it's plastic to boot, Stupid design but that's the way they build 'em.

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Re: Towing Mistakes Etc.
« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2017, 10:25:33 PM »
Yikes with the info on the blowouts  :-\

Those goodyear tires actually look great. They're 67 at tire rack but even still Walmart has them for 109 by me. That's a deal. I'd rather change them out for some peace of mind. One needs a patch anyway.
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Re: Towing Mistakes Etc.
« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2017, 09:47:38 AM »
Don't drive yourself nuts over tires.  Remember the net tends to over report anything bad and under report the good.  Proper inflation, speed, and tire load are going to be the major variables in blowouts. I'm sure some are better than others.  I'm also sure I can find lots of discouraging reports regarding GY marathon tires as well.
The people I have known that had blowouts either used improper tires, or had to try and get every bit out of them.
The rest is a crap shoot.  Can't worry about every little thing.


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Re: Towing Mistakes Etc.
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2017, 03:37:53 PM »
Just starting to look at this stuff   (no RV yet)  but  it would seem like it would be a good idea to purchase a TPMS  system for $200 - $300  to monitor your tire pressures  as from  what i have seen it looks like low tire pressure  causes a lot of these issues / accidents
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