Whether you’re going on a long road trip around the US or simply visiting a trailer park in another state, traveling with a trailer opens up so many opportunities. It is a cheap way of getting around with your whole family and everything you all need. However, many first-timers are intimidated by the prospect of driving with a trailer.

There’s no reason to be intimidated, but awareness of the need for caution is important. Driving with a trailer can be dangerous if you’re not prepared or go about it carelessly. You should learn more about trailer insurance so that you can claim if anything goes wrong. Ideally, however, you will not need to claim.

Driving safely with a trailer takes some preparation and awareness. Here is what you need to know.

Consult your car’s manual for weight limits

Before getting gung-ho about driving with a trailer, you need to first make sure that your car is up for it. You don’t need to drive a truck in order to travel with a trailer. Some regular sedans can haul up to two thousand pounds, although most are far more limited. But you should make sure before you consider trying. Consult your car’s manual for the recommended weight limits.

Ideally, you should not push the boundaries of the limit. The closer you are to the limit, the more difficult the drive will be. Definitely do not go beyond the limit.

Triple check the attachments

If your trailer becomes detached from your vehicle, it is not just you who is impacted. Your runaway trailer can cause damage to property and can hurt or kill people. Before you start driving, triple-check that the trailer is attached properly. Also make sure to regularly check that the lights on the trailer are working, especially if you are driving at night.

Keep a safe distance behind the car ahead

You should always keep some following distance between your car and the car ahead of you. If the car ahead suddenly stops, you will need the time to brake. When you’re hauling a trailer, this is all the more important. You cannot brake nearly as easily as you could without the trailer. The extra weight adds to the momentum and your car may need the extra space to brake.

Practice turning

You will need to take wider turns when hauling a trailer in order to avoid hitting curbs or other cars. However, you do not want to turn too widely so as not to encroach on the outer lanes. For this reason, you should get to know the proportions of your car and the trailer by practicing turns before setting out on a journey. Drive around the block a couple of times in order to become accustomed to making those turns without having to overthink it.

Practice reversing

Another skill you will need to learn is how to reverse when pulling a trailer. This is no easy feat, especially as you can easily jackknife the trailer with too sharp a turn. Regardless of whether you want to or not, at some point, you will need to reverse, and by then it will be too late for practice rounds. Get used to reversing before setting out on your trip.

Consider parking in advance

Finding a space to park your trailer is not going to be easy much of the time. When you’re in a trailer park or trailer camping, you’re all set, but if you want to stop somewhere in the middle of a town, you’ll struggle. Consider where you are going in advance and find out about your parking options. You may need to find a lot nearby and walk to your destination from there.

Driving safely with a trailer is not rocket science, but it is something you need to think about. Practice driving with your trailer before setting off on a long journey and always remember to be aware of the extra proportions you’re driving around.