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Old 11-22-2019, 09:37 AM   #1
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How Slow Do You Tow?

Driving down I-95 in the winter one gets to see a lot of RV's on the road headed towards Florida. The speed limit is mostly 70 MPH and the average actual speed is around 75 MPH for cars and semi's. The road is mostly straight and flat. The traffic is very heavy but it flows smoothly and safely. Then one sees a bottleneck up ahead. Everyone has to slow down. People fight each other to get around something in the right lane. Brake lights go on, cars and trucks swerve, road rage ensues. Most of the time the thing in the right lane is an RV going below the speed limit, and it's causing a dangerous highway condition. Either it's a giant box trailer pulled by a tiny tow vehicle, a 40' 5th wheel two stories tall, or an oversized motorhome teetering on 4 skinny wheels with a Harley stuck on the back and towing a daily driver. Probably they shouldn't be going over 50 MPH, but what about the safety of the rest of the people on the road who have to deal with the bottlenecks?

So I ask the question, how slow do you tow?
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Old 11-22-2019, 09:45 AM   #2
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Though the speed limits may be 55, 65, 70, 75 or even 80 in some places, there is also a minimum speed. For example (and this is not universal- but typically posted), a posted 65mph speed limit may have a 55mph minimum, ad 75=65 minimum. I very recently was on an Interstate that had a 65mph limit with a 45mph minimum. This mostly applies to Interstate highways from what I can tell. I don't know if state highways are similar because I haven't paid a lot of attention as most of those are 70 or lower and I still go about 60ish +/- on those as well.

Regardless, I typically tow **around** 60mph. I find that much more than 60, MPG tends to drop off more rapidly with my rig/setup.
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Old 11-22-2019, 09:47 AM   #3
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We are most comfortable towing Lucy in the 60-65 MPH range. When possible, we try to use the US Highways and stay off of the Interstates. When on the Interstates, I am always concerned that some Bozo driving 80 MPH while texting will run up into the back of me. I find that when I am on the Interstate, I have a tendency to run in the 70-75 MPH range out of self defense.

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Old 11-22-2019, 10:06 AM   #4
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I agree with Moosetags. I like to tow at 65. When on a larger highway or freeway I will try to "keep up" with traffic to a certain point. 75 is my upper limit. You do become a bit of a hazzard when going too slow. 60 is great, but when everyone is doing 80 things can get nasty.


Going through Pasadena on a very large freeway, not pulling my trailer thankfully, I made a point to keep up with the traffic. I was in the center lane of 5 or 6 lanes and looked down to see we were all going about 85. Quite shocking. With my trailer I would be in the far right lane going 70-75 and having people stack up behind me.
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Old 11-22-2019, 10:27 AM   #5
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No matter what the personal approach to idiot proof life around us, nature will produce a better idiot. It is just the way things were, the way things are, and the way things will always be.

I stopped worrying about idiots and the people that think they are better than idiots. Put another way, I have confidence that one person's reasonable and responsible driving behavior is an idiot driver to another person. Especially when surveys tend to show where 60 - 90% of drivers feel that they are better than average.

As a real-life data point, I know somebody whom was at the speed limit in the right lane while towing the SOB TT when a big-rig flew by so fast in the left lane that the vacuum jackknifed the SOB TT, destroyed the tow vehicle and TT, and one passenger received injuries from the TT's battery when it exploded as it was right next to the TV's window at the time. Fortunately, everybody recovered.

Point is, drive how you feel comfortable. If this is not at the speed limit, at least stay to the right to keep the left lane available for allowing others to get by.

Aside, speed limits are just that as I am not aware of where the law requires that drivers must travel exactly at the posted speed limit at all times and in all conditions. Some will hide behind an argument of not obstructing traffic as a reason to go as fast as possible in the left lane or use the right lane to pass. Granted, and as noted, there are highways with a minimum speed and I do agree that if somebody is not able to meet the minimum, then it is better to find an alternate route. Am sure some will feel the need to flame me, but it is what it is.
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Old 11-22-2019, 11:00 AM   #6
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Middle Lane Hog

Quote:
Originally Posted by out of sight View Post
... Then one sees a bottleneck up ahead. Everyone has to slow down. People fight each other to get around something in the right lane. ...
I disagree. Most bottle necks are created by someone driving in the middle lane (often somebody towing a trailer) of a three lane highway at the speed limit forcing trucks, that are prohibited from the left lane, to pass on the right. These middle lane hogs are usually afraid of merging traffic from on ramps and claim that they are entitled to travel the speed limit in whatever lane they choose.


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I prefer to travel at about 100 km/h in the right lane and adjust as necessary to allow vehicles to merge from on ramps.
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Old 11-22-2019, 11:01 AM   #7
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65 is really as fast as I want to go on a constant basis. Not because I can't go faster, but because going faster means things happen much more quickly. Braking is the issue. The only time I will go faster is if I need to change lanes and/or merge. I hate driving on busy interstates however. But it's hard to drive on back roads since many back roads are not kept up very well and it dramatically increases the time to get somewhere. Unfortunately because of where I live I am almost forced to go through Milwaukee and Chicago to go east. It is the absolute worst drive, and we typically try to go through on Sunday mornings.

And when I drive through Chicago or Milwaukee I drive in the middle lane. Contrary to what is stated above. Sorry, but you are a hazard on the road driving in either the passing lane or the merge lane in Chicago or Milwaukee.
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Old 11-22-2019, 11:20 AM   #8
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Then there are the states like California that have a 55 MPH limit for ANY towed vehicles, trailers or trucks. Sitting in the right lane at 60 you get passed by an SUV at 90 flipping you off as he exits cutting so close you have to nail the brakes and use the shoulder to keep from tagging him. Maybe if he had slowed a bit he might have noticed the state trouper sitting at the exit. I smiled as the lights on the patrol car came on! There is some justice!

Bottom line, situational awareness is king, be courteous to the drivers around you and watch way out for the other guy.
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Old 11-22-2019, 11:20 AM   #9
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Well I disagree that it's usually RVs causing the bottlenecks but that's a minor point. Bottleneckers are annoying as heck and dangerous no matter what they may be. I find my life endangered 10 times as much by the folks heck bent to go as fast as possible and think nothing of swerving in front of you with only a foot or so of space while flying 20 mph over the speed limit. And then there are the 50% of the people who haven't a clue as concerns proper merging from an on ramp.
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Old 11-22-2019, 11:30 AM   #10
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I'm about the same as those above (driving a F-150 & towing a 19' International) in speed and freeway location: right at 60 on highways, 65 on freeways, a bit more if necessary (passing, merging, occasionally downhill I must confess...); I also tend to stay in the far right lane though others merging makes it tough at times, and going through metro areas (Seattle and Portland usually) is a crap-shoot, sometimes in the "passing lane" if that looks safer and I am not slowing things down, sometimes in the far right or maybe maybe in the center lane. Thank god I do not have to consider more lanes (6 lanes in So Cal is enough to make me change my routing!!)
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Old 11-22-2019, 11:57 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daquenzer View Post
...

And when I drive through Chicago or Milwaukee I drive in the middle lane. Contrary to what is stated above. Sorry, but you are a hazard on the road driving in either the passing lane or the merge lane in Chicago or Milwaukee.
I don't think that the thousands of vehicles (per hour) that travel in the right hand lane are a hazard. In fact, you will usually be much safer in the right hand lane.

Driving at the speed limit in the middle lane forces transport trucks to pass on the right is much more of a hazard IMHO. A good driver is able to look ahead and anticipate merging traffic and then to adjust your speed (down if required) to let that traffic in from the right.

I will concede that in some cities (like Detroit) where the right hand land often is forced to exit it requires more vigilance to the left side and rear to be able to anticipate the require lane change in advance and it is sometimes more prudent to stay in the middle lane. However, most interstate and freeways are designed with exit lanes and in those cases it is safer to stay in the right hand lane.
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Old 11-22-2019, 12:44 PM   #12
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Driving further down I-95 towards Miami all normal traffic behavior suddenly ends. Traffic engineers, toss out your text books. You have Latinos relaxing in the left lane (that's their preferred no-hassle lane), you have rednecks relaxing in the slow lane, you have old timers who can't see over the wheel and you have nasty northerners weaving around them all. Put them all together on a six lane highway and it's hard to decide how fast to go or which lane to do it in.
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Old 11-22-2019, 01:47 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Adventure.AS View Post
I don't think that the thousands of vehicles (per hour) that travel in the right hand lane are a hazard. In fact, you will usually be much safer in the right hand lane.

Driving at the speed limit in the middle lane forces transport trucks to pass on the right is much more of a hazard IMHO. A good driver is able to look ahead and anticipate merging traffic and then to adjust your speed (down if required) to let that traffic in from the right.

I will concede that in some cities (like Detroit) where the right hand land often is forced to exit it requires more vigilance to the left side and rear to be able to anticipate the require lane change in advance and it is sometimes more prudent to stay in the middle lane. However, most interstate and freeways are designed with exit lanes and in those cases it is safer to stay in the right hand lane.
I have had far more close encounters driving in the right merging lane than in the middle lane. Not going to drive in the merging lane. I don't drive in that lane without a trailer; let alone with one that I have to either brake, speed up, etc.

As one defensive driver quotes: "Maintaining a large following distance from surrounding cars was a priority. It also helped to stay out of the merge lane, because many drivers tend to merge onto the freeway by looking dead straight ahead, accelerating below the speed limit, and rolling down said merge lane until it ends (this is dangerous)."

And here's a quote for AAA: "Always enter the freeway at or near the speed of traffic. Do not stop unless it is absolutely necessary. ... The middle lanes are for through traffic, and the left lane is for passing. If you are not passing someone, you should not be driving in the left lane."

Note it says the middle lane is for through traffic and the left lane is for passing, while the merge lane is for exiting and merging. Good advice.
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Old 11-23-2019, 10:17 AM   #14
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Hi

How fast depends very much on conditions.Flat / wide open / no traffic / no wind / big wide road is very different from windy rain in the mountains. In some cases the low 70's works fine. In other cases, anything over 20 miles an hour is way to fast.

If the slow traffic is in the right hand lane on a six lane road, you are doing well. When the guy going 35 in a 75 zone is in the left hand lane you do indeed have something to comment on. When he seems to be matched by somebody else in the middle lane, it's time to pull off and take a nap.

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Old 11-23-2019, 10:19 AM   #15
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65’ish.
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Old 11-23-2019, 10:23 AM   #16
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The manual for my TV (Toyota Sequoia) recommends not exceeding 65 MPH when towing, so that's how fast I go. On highways with two lanes in one direction, I stay in the right lane except when passing an even slower vehicle, which is the law in some states. When there are three lanes or more, especially in urban areas (which usually have speed limits at or below 65 MPH), I tend to drive in the second lane from the right, which is considerably safer than the rightmost lane, especially when dealing with merging traffic.

The highest posted minimum highway speed I've ever seen is 60 MPH, so it's never really been an issue for me.
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Old 11-23-2019, 10:27 AM   #17
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How Fast do I tow. 69-71

I can tow at any legal speed comfortably and safely. That said. On a recent trip from Clearwater to Nashville up I-75 speed limit mostly 70 mph. Most traffic moved at about 71-75 mph. The real bind ups were semi's passing each other or slow-pokes at 67-71 mph. My personal preferred speed of 69-71 mph holds steady up and down hills. I try to remain to the right. I am occasionally the one moving left to pass. When I move left I tap up the cruise a minimum of 3 mph. Sometimes a great deal more (80) to merge into the left lane into FAST traffic. The joy of a truck with excess capacity. I averaged 11.5-12.5 mpg calculated on the trip. Lower with a DEF regen.
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Old 11-23-2019, 10:28 AM   #18
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Most trailer tires are rated for 60 MPH. Accordingly, I go between 55 and 65. My TV manual warns me against using cruise control while towing, so I don't. I'm always in the slow lane. I find lowering my speed (I drive faster when not towing) also lowers my blood pressure and "towing stress."
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Old 11-23-2019, 10:37 AM   #19
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I drive in the right hand lane at 95-100 KM (which in the US is 60-65 MPH). While the new GYE tires allow up to 120 KM (80ish MPH) I like the better gas mileage, better control (stopping 15,000#) at the slower speed. Also I take the scenic route and I'm not in a hurry, it's the trip to the destination that's fun - just saying...
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Old 11-23-2019, 10:45 AM   #20
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We have a 30' and tow with a diesel. My sweet spot is 62, probably ticks off the folks behind but I don't care. I've been doing this stuff for many years, I like safety.
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