Driving with a trailer in winter

Driving with a trailer in winter – main image

It cannot be denied that driving a caravan requires better skills and greater concentration than driving only a car. It is easiest to find out when driving on slippery surfaces.

In extreme situations, it is easy to lose control of the trailer. However, to minimize this risk, it is worth spending some time and energy on its proper preparation. The trailer will be stable if you prepare it properly.

Before you leave

Correct tire pressure is absolutely essential - if it is in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations, the whole set will be more stable on the road.

The more controversial issue is the brakes. Typical trailer-mounted overrun brakes usually do not work well with the car's ABS. As a result, effective ABS may lead to the trailer wheels locking during braking. The solution may be to adjust the brakes on the trailer so that they react much weaker than normal. However, you should only make such adjustments when you are sure that your route will run on snowy or icy roads.

The behavior of the trailer will also be influenced by its loading. First, you should never exceed the maximum allowable load capacity. Secondly, the weight should be evenly distributed and the heaviest items should be placed as low and as close to the center of the trailer as possible.

All equipment and luggage should be secured so that they do not move when cornering or during sudden braking.

Driving on slippery surfaces

When driving with a trailer, you should never "go crazy" on the road. All you need to do is overtake a lorry or, while driving next to a forest, the strip of trees will suddenly end, and you will immediately feel a gust of wind carrying your caravan to the side. Only by driving at a safe speed will you avoid unpleasant surprises. This principle turns out to be even more important in winter conditions.

You should maintain the maximum speed at which the trailer is stable, i.e. it does not vibrate. It is even better if you drive a little slower than possible, even if, for example in the mountains, it will mean driving at 30 km / h. Remember that a stable trailer is a priority if you want to reach your destination safely.

If the trailer starts to sway, you can react in two ways. The first is gentle braking. There may be times, however, that this will only worsen the situation. The second way is to wait until the unstable trailer is aligned with the car's axle. At this point, lightly add gas, which should stabilize the entire set. This is why it is worth keeping a certain power reserve. When the trailer is calm, return to the earlier, lower speed again.

When driving the car with the ABS on, in emergency situations you should brake by pressing the brake pedal to the floor. However, because the wheels of the trailer may then be blocked, sometimes it is better to turn the ABS off and decide on pulse braking. Calm and not completely pressing and releasing the brake pedal will make the whole set slow down evenly. Of course, this should not be attempted while the ABS remains on.

In winter, it is best to avoid mountain roads. However, if you cannot choose a different route, take snow chains with you and a bag of gravel to cover the road on the steepest climbs. Going uphill can often require driving in first gear.


Sometimes it is better to get lost than to ask for directions too much. Aldous Huxley

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