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Old 07-09-2016, 08:30 PM   #15
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What everyone said above. I believe everyone was somewhat or deeply nervous when they first started driving with a trailer. Those who claim they were not probably have a short memory. Driving with a trailer is a learning experience.

Have you considered joining a local RV club? There will always be someone there who will be willing to give you a hand learning the ropes.

Common sense is a good thing to use. It does not hurt to stop and look when you are backing into a parking space. Go slow and look often.
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Old 07-09-2016, 09:03 PM   #16
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Having a great deal of miles under my belt, and having towed several types of trailers, I understand your nervousness, as we were all there at one point, and sometimes that nervousness will return.

One thing that I found helpful is to consider different situations differently. Many are understandably focusing on backing or that type of difficult thing, but for me it was more being aware of the tracking of the trailer.

One time I was even dumb enough to try to go thru a drive thru restaurant with a pop up trailer. It did not turn thru the tight turns with high curbs as my car did, so I did have a problem. (This example came to mind, because a pick up truck did the same thing yesterday that I observed, trying to navigate a McDonnalds drive thru lane, with a small airplane on a flatbed trailer. (wings were flat under the plane) and he got the trailer stuck on the inside curb, and I do not know if the vertical tail fit under the upper restrictions)

The inside of the turn is the problem, in that you can go a bit wide with the tow vehicle because the trailer will turn inside the curve arch of the tow vehicle.

For me, that took some practice. It is the same as renagade mentioned. Turn too tight, and trailer hits inside curb, turn too far out, and someone will try to climb between your trailer and the curb.

Backing is also difficult to learn, and I have been in situations where I successfully did back into a place may times, then later found it took several tries.

Also, going onto the highway, and taking exits, with acceleration and deceleration times very different, takes some time to learn.

Good luck, but also have fun.
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Old 07-10-2016, 12:01 AM   #17
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Others have posted many very good ideas and techniques. My additional comments are:

About driving: Keep your speed within the limits marked on the trailer's tires, excessive speed = blow outs. Likewise keep your tires inflated according the sidewalls. I check my tire pressures every morning before I hit the road. Low tire pressure = overheating = blow outs. While turning, I'll flash an eye on the right mirror and check were my trailer tires are going. Most will turn inside of the trucks tire, how much depends on many factors.

About backing: Practice in empty parking lot with traffic cones. Use the hand on bottom of wheel as others have said. Make small adjustments and backup very slow. If you have a passenger workout with them hand signals, more left, right, stop, keep going, etc. We have a set of full duplex headphones/mics so my wife and me talk and listen without taking our hands away from driving/directing. ALWAYS get out and look where you are going to back into, or perhaps what you are going to back into, don't forget to look up as well. Tell you assistant where you want the trailer to be when you stop. After a while they'll understand all of this as well.

Braking: It will take longer than it does without the trailer, how much depends, but I'll generally double the normal safety margin. Understand that most trailers still have old style electric drum brakes. They're not as fast stopping as your truck's disk brakes and will over heat if given the chance on a downhill.

Downhill: The standard old school is to use the same gear going down as you use going up. I will normally use one gear LOWER going down. The key is to never allow the rig to get going too fast in the first place. In my RAM 3500 diesel I use the exhaust brake and downshift as needed. My goal is to never need to use the service brake, perhaps a little correction once in a while on the downhill. Start slow at the top of the hill, you can always allow speed to build when needed.

Stay relaxed but always alert be safe and have fun in your travels.
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Old 07-11-2016, 07:03 PM   #18
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Looking at getting our first travel trailer. I've never towed before and know nothing other than what I've read here and other places. Looking to keep the trailer as small as we can comfortably probably about 25'. Family of 4 and 2 big dogs. Plan on going to parking lots at night to practice and all but was anyone else very nervous at first. Also afraid to get out there and be like how do I set this rig up again
Your apprehension is normal, to be expected, and frankly its good that you are not balls to the wall getting out there. I have towed several sizes of travel trailers with different brands of pickup trucks. Forget towing with any kind of sedan like people used to do with big Detroit iron family cars and station wagons. Today's sedans don't have the power, the tough transmissions, or cooling systems.
Do not fail to invest in a load equalizer hitch system and anti-sway kits. There's nothing that will make your grip on the steering wheel turn into a death grip more than pulling a trailer down the road at 65 mph and a tractor trailer passes you doing about 80. Trust me....get the equalizer and sway kit you will feel safer and tow like an expert. Good luck. You have a great attitude.
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Old 07-14-2016, 01:16 PM   #19
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FWIW, I've found a couple of churches with large lots that I can use for daytime practice during the week and businesses for the weekend.

I also saw a post that suggested contacting a commercial truck driving school, apparently some give travel trailer lessons...
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Old 07-15-2016, 12:52 AM   #20
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Don't be Allen Iverson, you will need 'practice'! Best of luck! You may or may not know who Iverson is!
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Old 07-15-2016, 11:23 PM   #21
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Got it home 2 hours of practice is in the books... 1 week to first camping trip
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Old 07-16-2016, 08:16 AM   #22
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Got it home 2 hours of practice is in the books... 1 week to first camping trip
Feel free to drive up here to visit me in my Boston Suburban town. I have found that one week of driving in Massachusetts will expose you to the same number of idiots and crazy drivers as years of driving other, more reasonable places.


Good luck. Have fun. Don't sweat overmuch the details. Concentrate on the joy on the face of kids and family for this effort you are taking.
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Old 07-16-2016, 11:41 AM   #23
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Got it home 2 hours of practice is in the books... 1 week to first camping trip
Wonderful. Have a great time and enjoy yourselves.

A word - take your time when you are maneuvering. Do not be pressured into trying to go quickly. Get out and take a look and then take another look.

If you have anyone spotting for you always make sure you can see them in a mirror. If you cannot see them stop, get out and take a look. Make sure the children are well away.

We will recognize you by the big smiles on everyone's faces.
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Old 08-08-2016, 07:35 PM   #24
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Looking at getting our first travel trailer. I've never towed before and know nothing other than what I've read here and other places. Looking to keep the trailer as small as we can comfortably probably about 25'. Family of 4 and 2 big dogs. Plan on going to parking lots at night to practice and all but was anyone else very nervous at first. Also afraid to get out there and be like how do I set this rig up again
I hear you. Have to get my air brake license and two days of truck driving courses/tests and 200.00 for extra instruction to drive a 2015 Thor Tuscany with a 25' enclosed trailer hauling a 2015 Fiat 500C and 2011 Can-Am Spyder RSS. I figure as long as I am going straight I will be fine. The extra instruction costs comes with a supply of Depends! This all starts Aug 16. I'm super nervous too but the comments on the site from the pros are comforting. Enjoy and don't rush it. Jimmy B
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Old 08-08-2016, 08:43 PM   #25
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The first trip we took was a three hour trip. I was nervous at first but after a couple of hours I got used to it. I had to learn how to take wide turns and drive slower and keep more space between me and the car in front of me. The hardest thing for me is to back in camping spots with trees. You can't see anything in back of the trailer. I always try to get a pull-through.
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Old 08-08-2016, 10:54 PM   #26
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I know what you are talking about, I just bought my TT last month this was the 1st time I ever towed. I had a friend give me some on the training. I also went to a local county campground and practiced backing into camp sites. Slow going at 1st but got better. It cost me 5 dollars for day use and I had people ask me what I was doing and so I would explain and they thought it was a great idea. Time and money well spent. I still need more practice but feeling better. At 65 I never wanted to learn to tow but glad I did.
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Old 08-09-2016, 01:14 PM   #27
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I know what you are talking about, I just bought my TT last month this was the 1st time I ever towed. I had a friend give me some on the training. I also went to a local county campground and practiced backing into camp sites. Slow going at 1st but got better. It cost me 5 dollars for day use and I had people ask me what I was doing and so I would explain and they thought it was a great idea. Time and money well spent. I still need more practice but feeling better. At 65 I never wanted to learn to tow but glad I did.
That is one of the best ideas I have heard! Practicing in a parking lot is good, but doesn't really present all the variables of a campsite such as trees, boulders, utility hookups, vehicles, fire rings, picnic tables, street signs, etc. Having worked in a number of campgrounds, I have experienced people hitting all of the above with their MH or truck/trailer.
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Old 08-16-2016, 03:42 PM   #28
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my advice.. look for the small movements of the trailer... backing up. do not Eye the side of the trailer. look at the rear most vertical edge.


this past June.. I had to backup over 1,000 feet... and did it in one shot. slow / easy / and look for the small movements of the trailer.. and remember where your front fenders are at all times when backing.
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