Driving motor vehicles has been an essential life skill for well over a century now. Having your own set of wheels allows you to be independent in terms of transportation since you do not have to wait on anyone and comply to any terms or schedules. When you have your own car and when you have a driver’s license, the roads are yours to take whenever you want and for however long you want. There is a reason why everyone takes the driving test and becomes a driver as soon as they can. Life simply becomes easier once you get to drive instead of taking public transport or having to walk.
Now, not all driving is the same, nor are all the driving tests equally easy and straightforward. Driving a town car is different enough from driving a large van despite the two falling under the same category. Things start getting different at the level of trucks and busses, while it is also quite different to ride a motorcycle and drive anything. The category system is a well-made one, something that is universal and standardized around the world. There are still a few things not every driver is aware of, and in this article we will talk about one such area.
Driving a regular car with a trailer is something most people think to be the same as just driving a car. In reality, it is anything but and there often needs to be a separate test taken and a few practice classes somewhere in there before your license allows you to tow trailers. Different countries have different laws, and while some may allow you to attach certain types of trailers on a regular B category license, not all trailers are equal. Therefore, you have to know how difficult it is to learn to drive a vehicle with a trailer and what it implies. In this article we talk about this. To learn more, especially about the situation in the Netherlands, make sure to check out this website.
There is Not a Lot to It
To answer the titular question as quickly as possible, we would say both yes and no. Learning how to drive a vehicle with a trailer in the back is both easy and difficult depending on what area of it we are discussing. For example, the very feeling of driving is largely the same as you are doing all of the same things on the road. The laws stay the same, you have to perform the same actions, and behave yourself equally well in respect to the rest of the traffic.
However, there are areas where you have to be more careful. Making turns requires more attention and you must be a tad bit more careful. Since the car is not the only thing turning, every turn you make needs to be somewhat wider so that there is a little bit more space for the trailer to turn safely. The same goes for overtaking vehicles. Some even advise against it, or at least not doing it as much as you would otherwise.
Of course, you have to ensure that the trailer is connected safely and optimally to your vehicle. The right signalization has to be present on the trailer, particularly the turn signals and stoplights. Many drivers fail to properly attach the cables and end up confusing and surprising the vehicles behind them. If you make sure to always connect everything properly, you will be a great trailer tower in no time. Your safety, and that of others, do depend on it on the road.
The Difficult Part
Arguably the most difficult part with driving any type of vehicle with a trailer attached is reversing. The easiest way of telling you why would be to say that turning while reversing is not the same. It is actually the opposite for the trailer than what it is for the car. You are used to the car going the same way you turn the wheel. If you turn your wheel to the left, the car goes to the left. With a trailer however, if you turn the steering wheel to the left, the trailer actually goes to the right while the car still turns to the left. In addition, the turns of the trailer are also sharper so even more caution is required.
Everything needs to be done slower and with more care. Finding the right trajectory for the trailer to follow is the easy part, but following it all the way through until you are in the right spot is anything but. You do get the hand of things overtime, as with other things, but it definitely takes practice and some trial and error. The right adjustments and straightening of the wheels at the right moment will come naturally to you and before you know it, you will be great at backing up cars with trailers. You will definitely need a spotter most of the time, just in case. Practice makes perfect, and that famous statement cannot get any truer than right here.
The Weight of the Load
Lastly, we need to talk about what you are towing in your trailer back there and how to place it. The additional weight may cause your car’s steering and balance to change, so the feeling you have will certainly change while driving. If you do not distribute the weight on the trailer correctly, you will barely be able to handle the car while turning and changing lanes. The general rule is for 60% of the weight to be loaded in the front of the trailer. Definitely put the heaviest of items to the front and gradually go towards the back. The other 40% of the cargo should be somewhere on the center, just above the wheels, with as little as possible left for the very end. If you can, do not put anything in the very rear end. Too much additional weight (40%) in the rear end of any trailer will cause the car to swivel uncontrollably on the road at higher speeds. For closed trailers with roofs, the lightest of items go on the top and the heaviest go to the bottom.