Backing up a boat trailer can be very stressful, especially if it is your first time! This guide will help you understand the basics of backing up a trailer, and help you become a pro. You won’t be a pro instantly, so do not feel discouraged.
Step 1: Adjust your mirrors
Your side mirrors are your savior when backing up your trailer. You should be able to see the bottom wheels of your trailer when you use both of your side mirrors. This will allow you to see exactly which direction the trailer is travelling, and also allow you to adjust if it is travelling slanted.
Step 2: Make a strategy
Every road is different, especially when we are talking about dirt roads, or ones with an incline. It is essential to study your destination ahead of time, and devise a plan to tackling it safely. If it is a straight road, the best plan is to align yourself perfectly before backing up. By being straight, it will be easier to make minor adjustments on your way to the destination, instead of constantly adjusting, or doing wide turns.
Step 3: Get help
Having a friend or family member help guide you from outside the vehicle is invaluable, especially when learning for the first time. Having them guide you, and telling you suggestions should help calm your nerves, and learn the most effective way to get to your destination.
Step 4: Take it slow
Backing up a trailer is not a race. Going slow and steady will allow you to make minor adjustments if your trailer is going in the wrong direction, and also ensure you do not damage your trailer or your boat. Do not be afraid to drive forward to realign your vehicle with the road to make backing up easier. It is also not uncommon to exit your vehicle to get a better vantage point to your destination.
Step 5 : Learn a steering technique that is best for you
The reason backing up a trailer is tricky for many is that the trailer likes to move in a different direction than the vehicle. If you turn your wheel left, your trailer will go right. One trick to help when backing up is to steer form the bottom of the steering wheel. This way, the trailer will mimic the movements that you perform with the steering wheel. This technique might not be for everyone, but it’s proven to help many with adjustments to their trailer while backing up.
Step 6: Practice
It is important to practice backing up your trailer prior to attempting to do it at the lake. By practising in different venues such as empty parking lots, vacant dirt roads, and driveways, and setting up different obstacles such as pylons, you will be prepared for the unexpected.
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