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Open Roads Forum  >  Towing

 > Teaching to tow?

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gkainz

Arvada, CO, USA

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Posted: 06/16/20 07:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Anyone have any tips on teaching a brand new RVer how to tow? I've towed pretty much all my driving life. Grew up in a construction company towing equipment trailers (backhoes, dozers), pole trailers (65'), horse trailers, goose neck, 5th wheel, bumper pull, had bumper pull and 5th wheel RVs most of my adult life ...

But my kids just bought a bumper pull toy hauler and I'm almost at a loss on where to start trying to teach them "how to tow".

Kind of like "I've been doing it so long I don't know how to verbalize it?"


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Posted: 06/16/20 08:14am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Backing is different. Use an empty parking lot with some markers. The number one rule: If you can't see the person behind you your foot is on the brake.
Number two rule: The spotter's job it the back of the trailer. The drivers job is the front and truck.


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gkainz

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Posted: 06/16/20 08:21am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks. We've been covering backing a bit verbally. As soon as son-in-law gets home from business travel, I'm taking him and daughter to a school parking lot with orange cones for some backing instruction.

I've been talking about clearance awareness, braking distance increase, looking further ahead than they're used to, trailer tracking (cutting corners - not sure yet how this toy hauler tracks but I'm assuming should be just like any other bumper pull) ... the hardest part is my daughter stripped the interior the day they got it home - sealing primer, zero VOC paint, wall paper, floors, faucet fixtures, etc - sometimes I think she's lost her mind [emoticon] and my son-in-law is still scrambling to put it all back together so we can go do some actual driving lessons.

schlep1967

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Posted: 06/16/20 08:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

As you know the important thing when going forwards is wider turns. Take them to a lot and take something it won't hurt to run over to show them this. Cones or even rags put down on the ground for "curbs". This way they can learn that turning with a trailer is not the same as without without damaging anything.

Next, teach them how to stop. Disconnect the trailer and have them get up to whatever speed you have room for and brake hard from a designated point. Now mark where they stop.
Hook up the trailer and with the brake controller turned all the way down, do it again. This will show them how a trailer adds to stopping distance.
Next time adjust the brake controller and do the run again. This will give them confidence that the brakes on the trailer can do their job as long as you adjust them properly and give space to use them.


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BarneyS

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Posted: 06/16/20 08:51am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

gkainz wrote:

Snip...

I've been talking about clearance awareness, braking distance increase, looking further ahead than they're used to, trailer tracking (cutting corners - not sure yet how this toy hauler tracks but I'm assuming should be just like any other bumper pull) Snip...

You have covered most of the bases but I would also mention the importance of a walk around just before starting out, the testing of brakes when you start rolling, the importance of using chocks on both sides of the tires and on both sides of the trailer before unhooking from the tow vehicle, the checking of lights (brake and turn) before leaving each day, how to set up and adjust the WD hitch properly, and probably some others that you can think up.

I think I would stress the fact that RVing is supposed to be fun and not stressful so try to make you presentations more of a fun thing rather than a chore that must be accomplished or you die. You want them to look forward to towing and not dreading it. From your own extensive experience you should already know if they have an adequate tow vehicle for the job. I would ride along with them during the first test tow to give them confidence and also to ease your mind that they can do it safely. [emoticon]
Good luck and good teaching! [emoticon]
Barney


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Mbiviano

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Posted: 06/16/20 08:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We took a day long class here in Denver with a private instructor. Started in a parking lot doing backing and other maneuvers and then ventured into the mountains covering different road situations along the way. Was well worth the inexpensive cost for both my wife and I. Lazy Days provided us the contact info for local instructor if interested.


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RobWNY

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Posted: 06/16/20 08:55am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not really a "How to Tow" comment but they should also know precisely how tall their camper is and use either a truckers atlas or trucker GPS that allows you to input their height or an online program to plan trips like RV Trip Wizard.


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I asked him to do one thing and he didn't do any of them.


jdc1

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Posted: 06/16/20 09:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I assume it's an older truck and trailer? Did they get extendable mirrors?

dodge guy

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Posted: 06/16/20 10:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You just gotta get out there and practice. Some people are good right out of the gate, some people it takes time and other never get.


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DarkSkySeeker

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Posted: 06/16/20 10:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Tell the kids to drive slower than they are used to, and then slow down even more.


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