Driving with a trailer

As well as brushing up on the basics of towing, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the road rules and any license limitations. But, one of the most important things while towing is to be confident in your own ability.

Road rules

The maximum open road speed is 90km/h, as long as you have a rigid connection between the vehicle and the trailer. But, for those using or considering a rope or non-rigid connection, the maximum speed is 50km/h. While these are maximum speeds, sometimes the road conditions may require you to drive slower to remain safe.

Steering and braking

While you’re towing, be conscious of your steering and braking. Allow extra space for stopping, apply the brakes lightly before turning, and always use a lower gear when travelling downhill. Also, be aware of any swaying from the trailer being towed. Many new vehicles now have an anti-sway technology built in, but swaying can be reduced by avoiding sharp steering. If you encounter ‘sway’ do not apply the brakes as this might cause the trailer to jack knife, and instead back off the accelerator allowing the vehicle to gradually slow down.

Driver licensing

Towing doesn’t require a special license, so the best way to improve your towing is through practice and guidance from others who are more experienced. As a responsible driver, you need to be aware of your licence limitations. Learner and restricted license holders are allowed to tow a combined weight of a vehicle and trailer of up to 4,500kg and for full license holders the combined weight cannot exceed 6,000kg.

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