How to Reverse a Trailer
Reversing a trailer can be a daunting task at the best of times but like most things in life practice makes perfect. There are many different techniques and methods that can be used to reverse a trailer. Below are a few tips & tricks that have helped me along my way. Utilising this guide along with hands on experience will have you reversing like a pro in no time.
It is good practice to apply your hazard lights and always have someone directing you when reversing with a trailer. (A large number of incidences occur whilst reversing a trailer due to hard manoeuvring and decrease in visibility. If there is no one to guide you, physically inspect the area you wish to reverse into looking for obstacles and hazards prior to attempting the manoeuvre.
Steering in reverse is actually quite straight forward! The main points to remember when attempting to reverse a trailer are that whichever way your car is turning, the trailer will turn the opposite direction. If you want the trailer to go left, steer to the right. If you want the trailer to go to the right, steer left. The best way of wrapping your head around the concept is to think of it as if you were pushing the trailer by hand, steering it from the coupling. The action you are carrying out by hand is the same as what you are required to attempt with your vehicle's towbar.
Pre plan your route and avoid unnecessary reversing! Plan ahead to use the shortest possible reversing distance. This will minimise the chance of miss turning and incident.
Use your mirrors! When reversing you can use your side mirrors, combined with turning backwards and inspecting the drive line to successfully reverse into tight spots. When facing forwards observe your side mirrors. If the trailer is creeping to the right side of the car, turn the wheel right until the trailer straightens up and vice versa for the left mirror. (I use this method every time and it really works for me.)
Practice! Practice! Practice!
Take every opportunity to practice with your navigator / guider, and under no circumstances feel pressured by onlookers. With on going towing, you will be the envy of those looking on before you know it.
Dangers to watch out for: Jack Knifing
If the trailer turns on a 90 degree angle to the car, damage can occur if the trailer draw bar (A-frame) contacts the bumper or tow bar mount.