#SARoadTrip: Safe towing during the holidays

2015-12-16 06:00
Make sure all the components of the vehicle being towed and the coupler, hitch and other parts are in working condition before you set off on your journey. Photo: Istock

Make sure all the components of the vehicle being towed and the coupler, hitch and other parts are in working condition before you set off on your journey. Photo: Istock

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

THOUSANDS of families will be travelling across South Africa during the 2015/16 holiday period.

Many of road users will be transporting a caravan, trailer or boat on SA's roads.

The Automobile Association (AA) said: “Towing another vehicle requires extra attention from the driver. Apart from ensuring the towing vehicle is safe and in a good condition, the vehicle that is being towed also needs to be roadworthy and capable of making the journey. It’s also important that drivers follow the rules of the road and tow responsibly.”

Vehicles checks

Before setting off all the components of the towed vehicle need to be checked to ensure they are in working condition. This includes the hitch, the coupler, and safety chain and light systems. If any of these components are not working, they should be repaired or replaced before setting off.

They are there for a reason and driving with defective parts may lead to serious consequences. If you are in any doubt as to the condition of the vehicle you will be towing, speak to an expert.

The AA warned: “Many people also inadvertently overload their trailers in an effort to take as much with them on their holiday. Resist this temptation and take only what you need. Overloading a trailer beyond its size and weight capacity may cause problems with braking or even damage the engine and suspension of the towing vehicle.”

Weight distribution

The AA said drivers must ensure that trailers are balanced properly with even weight distribution in the trailer. The centre of gravity of the trailer is towards the front of the trailer but don’t overload this either, as this will put too much pressure on the tongue of the trailer and may cause problems.

Rather distribute the contents of the trailer evenly on both sides with a little more weight packed into the front section. If you are in any doubt as to trailer capacity or the car’s towing limits, consult the manufacturer’s handbook or contact your dealer.

The trailer, or any other vehicle being towed, and the road behind, should also always be visible to the driver. Extra side mirrors may be needed that extend to give a good view. Also give extra attention to overtaking (especially on hills and gradients), remembering that you have an extra load that must also pass the vehicle in front. And, don’t forget, the extra weight will require more distance and time to stop.

The AA said: “Most important is to ensure you are driving safely on any road. Obey the speed limits, use your indicators when you need to, and be sure when you are overtaking that it is legal to do so and the road ahead is clear. Remember that your family’s safety is more important than reaching your destination an hour early,” Apart from this, the AA said it is important that drivers take a break every two hours or 200km and that they are sufficiently alert to operate both vehicles they have control over.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.