While many drivers take great care of their cars, the same level of attention is rarely paid to trailers or roof boxes. Because there are fewer things that can go wrong with these it can be tempting to get complacent, but the consequences if anything should go wrong range from the mildly annoying to the outright disastrous.
Keep it in good shape
Before taking your trailer out on the road you should check that the lighting, wheels, tyres, eyeshafts, number plates and tow jaws and hooks are in good repair and working as they should. You should also check that your vehicle’s engine, towing capacity and braking system are adequate to carry a trailer or roof box, which you can check in the owners manual or online.
Stick to within the speed limit
Having a trailer attached can make it harder to stop quickly and safely and this is why speed limits are lower for vehicles towing them. The limit for cars with trailers is 60mph on motorways and dual carriageways, 50mph on single carriageways and 30mph on roads with street lighting.
Load it up correctly
An unevenly-loaded trailer or roof box can adversely affect the handling of your vehicle and could cause an accident. Make sure that the load is evenly distributed, that it doesn’t extend beyond the confines of the container, which it’s properly secured and the lid is shut properly before you set off. You should also be careful when attaching or detaching the trailer, ensuring that you have the alignment right. In the case of a roof box, you need to ensure that it’s placed centrally on the supports so that the weight of the box is evenly divided and that it is parallel with the road surface and the sides of the car. Finally, you should make sure that you can still get into the boot with the roof box on.
Get it insured
Even if you take the greatest possible care to ensure that your trailer or roof box is ready for the road, things can still go wrong. For example, if you were to accidentally hit another car with your trailer, you would need to pay compensation for the damage, and if your roof box or its contents were stolen, you could be seriously out of pocket. This is why it is vital that you obtain insurance for your roof box or trailer, either as an addition to your existing insurance, or as a separate policy. Allianz Your Cover (
) offer roof box and trailer insurance as an add-on and this can be added to your current car insurance policy at any time. This insurance covers your roof box and trailer while it is at your home, whether it’s attached to your car or not and it is also protected when you take it out on the road throughout the UK and most countries in Europe.
Make sure you can see it
It’s important to be able to see a trailer when you are towing it but ordinary wing mirrors often won’t enable you to do this. If you have this problem, it’s well worth investing in a pair of additional towing mirrors that stick out further from your vehicle, allowing you to get a more accurate picture of what is going on behind you.