5 Car Trailer Towing Mistakes You Don’t Know You Are Making

  • Tuesday, March 18th, 2014
  • By admin
  • In Blog
  • Comments Off on 5 Car Trailer Towing Mistakes You Don’t Know You Are Making


Whether you are planning to rent or buy an enclosed car trailer, there is no substitute for practice before you start driving on public roads. The only way to gain experience of towing before potentially endangering yourself or other road users is to practice off the road. Here are five trailer-towing mistakes you don’t know you are making. How many of these mistakes have you made?

Mistake #1. Not Making A Practice Course

Before you head out on the open road, you will need to get serious about practicing your towing techniques off the road. Most people find a vacant parking lot and start driving there. The worst mistake you can make is not creating your own course. You need fluorescent cones to do this. A course will greatly increase the rate at which you learn as you can see the cones very clearly. To begin with, your course should be two parallel lines of cones between which you can drive.

Mistake #2. Trying To Reverse In A Straight Line

According to the American Automobile Association, it is almost impossible to reverse in a straight line with a trailer so don’t even try. Many motorists waste their practice time trying to reverse in a straight line, somehow believing that this is the key to staying safe on the road. In fact, your initial practice should focus on simply reversing back between your parallel lines of cones. This will give you a feel for how your trailer moves as you reverse.

Mistake #3. Keeping Your Hands At The ‘Quarter To 3’ Position

Imagining that the steering wheel is a clock face, an ideal hand position for standard driving is known as ‘quarter to three’. This means that your left hand is where the minute hand would be on the number nine and your right hand is where the hour hand would be over the number three. Keeping this same position when reversing a trailer is a huge mistake. Try to keep your hands in the 6 o’clock position on the steering wheel when reversing. This will help you relate to how every slight turn of the wheel is magnified into a much greater movement by the rear of the trailer. Having cones in two parallel lines will help you to visualize this movement.

Mistake #4. Using Your Standard Mirrors

It is essential to use extended or over-size mirrors when you are driving with an enclosed car trailer. Driving with just your vehicle’s standard wing mirrors is a huge mistake, as they do not let you see the whole length of your trailer. You must adjust your mirrors and ensure that you can see the entire length of your trailer easily. It may help to have a friend outside your vehicle to help you make the correct adjustments as necessary.

Mistake #5. Not Allowing Yourself Extra Space

Once you have mastered driving and reversing within parallel lines of cones, you need to move the cones into a curve. This will help you get a feel for how much extra space you need to leave yourself when you turn. Complete several turns in the parking lot and see how wide you have to stay without hitting your markers. This will help you remember to leave yourself extra space when driving on the road.


Judging by the sheer number of enclosed car trailers for sale, many Americans will tow a car trailer at some point or other. This list of five mistakes to avoid making should help you stay safer on the road. What do you think of our tips? What did we miss? Let us know in the comments below!

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