How to Turn While Towing a Horse Trailer

There IS a Technique for Making Turns with a Trailer in Tow

If you've ever towed a trailer of any kind, you are aware that you cannot make turns the same way you normally would in a vehicle. That trailer just doesn't make the turns as easily as a car or pickup truck.

Regardless of whether you're traveling with a gooseneck trailer or a tag-along, you should always swing a bit wide when making a turn. Nevertheless, there are certain techniques to follow, depending on the type of trailer being towed.

Turning with a Gooseneck Trailer

A gooseneck trailer is one that is hitched over the tow vehicle's rear axle. As a result, the tow vehicle will begin its turn well before the rear of the trailer has begun turning. Because of the path a gooseneck trailer takes during a turn, it's very important to swing wide and then go straight until the trailer's wheels have rounded the corner. The use of side-view mirrors with spot magnifiers can provide a full view of the wheels throughout the turn.

Turning with a Tag-along Trailer

A tag-along trailer, which is one that is hitched to the bumper of the tow vehicle, follows the path of the tow vehicle more closely during a turn. However, it's still a good idea to swing a little bit wide when negotiating the turn, because even a tag-along trailer will cut a corner more sharply than the vehicle that it is following. Again, the use of side-view mirrors will help you to keep an eye on the path of the trailer's wheels throughout the turn.

Turning Practice

If you've never towed a trailer, or if it has been awhile since you've towed a trailer, you should practice making turns in an empty parking lot or a vacant lot prior to taking your rig out on the streets. You may set up highway cones or flags to form a 10-foot-wide lane for your practice sessions. Practice driving your rig down this lane.

When you reach the end of the lane, make a turn with the rig. Do this several times, alternating each time between a left-hand turn and a right-hand turn. Be sure to take notice, using the side mirrors, of how close the trailer's wheels come to the last cones as you are turning.

Rearrange the cones to create a variety of turns to help you get a good feel of the trailer's width and how sharply the trailer can make turns. Once you feel confident enough, you may take the trailer out on the road.

This horse trailer safety article is provided by EquiSpirit Horse Trailers.
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