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Old 05-02-2015, 11:07 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by r carl View Post
But they did it twice as fast last sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.
Those guys have proven over time that they know what they're doing. The yahoos on the freeway will not only all buy shares in the wreck for following too close, they will also include us in their debris field when the pinball game starts.
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Old 05-02-2015, 11:28 AM   #58
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To all newbies,

To be nervous the first time you tow a trailer is pretty normal. When I left the dealer with our new trailer, I was afraid of hitting the fence on the way out, going over curb, turning onto the street and the first left turn from a double turn lane. I stayed in the middle of double turn so I'd have plenty of room to make the turn onto the next street, then worried about missing the CG down the road. Then I had to park the trailer in a site that seemed really narrow and parking it in the right spot. Nothing went wrong.

We all get so comfortable driving that we don't think much and aren't as observant as we should be. But towing requires you pay attention to everything going on around you. Like anything new it takes time to be comfortable, but stay alert. The first few times we took the trailer out I was constantly looking in my mirrors to see where the trailer was—stay within the lines, watch for curbs, keep an eye on all the cars and trucks around me. I had to force myself to look through the windshield. Eventually I knew just where the trailer was and didn't spend all my time looking in the mirrors. I also got used to that whale tailgating me a few feet behind—that was the trailer. It is big and can intimidate, but it followed me everywhere I went and never complained.

You'll find out just how fast you can accelerate with a trailer and how fast you can stop. From time to time, check the trailer brakes when you have some quiet road. You'll find the trailer brakes aren't very good, but you want to make sure they work.

It takes some time to be used to new things, but we all had to learn and most of didn't run into anything. Watch for low hanging trees (on narrow overgrown roads, stay as far to the left as possible), road signs right on the curb and bridges that are too low (most Airstreams are 9 1/2' high).

It has made me a better driver because I got used to paying attention more than I used to. Imagine if you had one of those giant 5th wheels—maneuvering those must be daunting.

Gene
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Old 05-02-2015, 11:53 AM   #59
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Like many have stated: it's kind of a relative speed thing. You hope the highway planners thought through it a little. The 80 MPH parts of I-10 through west Texas correspond with some pretty sparse stretches. But the flow is generally so thin, we can keep a wide interval and, and the mirrors give us plenty of warning.

Alternately, the TX 130 Austin high speed bypass, with a short segment posted at 85 MPH, might just as well be a motorsports circuit! Zooooooom.
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Old 05-02-2015, 12:11 PM   #60
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Can't argue with the clear following distance recommendations based on counting seconds between us and the vehicle ahead of us. We do the same, and it definitely helps, even when idiots pull into our buffer space, begging us to crush them in the next emergency stop. We just slow down and get some more buffer. It's annoying, but better than the alternative.

After our last trip (roughly 8K miles over 8 weeks) we drove on all kinds of roads, including states where the speed limit is 75 or 80 MPH. We finally decided we just don't care about the speed of other cars. We go no faster than 62-65, ever. Everybody else goes around or waits behind, depending on the type of road and traffic conditions. We keep right except when passing the occasional truly slow vehicle (e.g. anyone slower than us ) and get back into the right lane ASAP. We use turn signals to clearly indicate our intent. Like everyone else, we also hope for the best.

Having a rear view camera helps with confidence a bit, because we have a better view of what's behind us. That extra view reduces the number of times we're completely surprised by someone whooshing past at 85 while we're doing 62. So, based on our experience we heartily recommend any rear view camera that provides this capability. We happen to use Voyager, but there are others. Voyager's clarity and night visibility are good and the frame rate is acceptable, though I'd prefer something with smoother video. We'll shop around a bit next time we need one to see what else might be suitable.

Oh, and we like a prior suggestion of putting red reflective tape on the rear bumper to help ensure visibility. We may experiment with this, though we'll skip the "slowpoke triangle" so as to avoid creating confusion as to whether we're an Airstream or a farm tractor on a joyride.
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Old 05-02-2015, 12:20 PM   #61
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Now for spacing between vehicles: I like to see them on the horizon. That's about close enough for me. The best thing I find, well almost, about sitting up high driving a truck is that in traffic I can usually see several cars ahead to read the brake lights before the one in front of me hits them. I pay close attention to what's up ahead as far as I can see. From time to time we do find ourselves out west in states that have the 80mph speed limit. It don't mean much to me since I don't plan to ever get to 80 while towing.
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Old 05-02-2015, 12:22 PM   #62
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Another thing—do you checks all your lights before you leave in the morning? We do after we hitch up to make sure all the contacts in the plug are working, the wiring is good and the bulbs work. You can do it all yourself except the brake lights, but it is easier with 2 people. I suppose you can wedge the brake pedal down, but better to have someone else look. Make sure the key is on in the tow vehicle to make sure the brake lights and turn signals work.

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Old 05-02-2015, 12:53 PM   #63
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Another thing—do you checks all your lights before you leave in the morning? We do after we hitch up to make sure all the contacts in the plug are working, the wiring is good and the bulbs work. You can do it all yourself except the brake lights, but it is easier with 2 people. I suppose you can wedge the brake pedal down, but better to have someone else look. Make sure the key is on in the tow vehicle to make sure the brake lights and turn signals work.

Gene

I use the 4-ways to check the brake lights. Not a perfect check - there could be a wiring problem in the truck - but very close to perfect.
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Old 05-02-2015, 04:05 PM   #64
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When I stated 1 car length for every 10 mph was what I was told at 2 dif. mandatory driving classes, evidently instructor was not versed on this. PS the instructor at both classes is retired POLICE OFFICER, also he was wrong about a few other things that he taught, when Il. rules state dif.

How do they tell you to gauge 1 car length? Much less 6 or 7. Six seconds is a much better way. It can be gauged/counted.


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Old 05-02-2015, 04:09 PM   #65
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I use the 4-ways to check the brake lights. Not a perfect check - there could be a wiring problem in the truck - but very close to perfect.

If you check your lights before day/after dark you can see them, especially if the trailer is backed up to a building or fence. A rear view camera helps, too. Sometimes I'll lie a piece of wood or a brick on the brake pedal and walk around and look.
It is easy to check stop/tail/turn/4-ways of the tow vehicle by the reflection on the front of the trailer.
A helper/spouse is handy, too.


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Old 05-02-2015, 07:14 PM   #66
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Quote:
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When I stated 1 car length for every 10 mph was what I was told at 2 dif. mandatory driving classes, evidently instructor was not versed on this. PS the instructor at both classes is retired POLICE OFFICER, also he was wrong about a few other things that he taught, when Il. rules state dif.
So would that be 1 TV-trailer length for every 10mph?
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Old 05-02-2015, 07:57 PM   #67
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It's called a recreational vehicle for a reason, no need to be up tight or have your spouse up tight because of speed. I tow at the speed limit to a maximum of 55 and use the turnouts to let any traffic build up pass. It may take a bit longer to get there but build that into your plan, relax and enjoy.
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Old 05-02-2015, 09:37 PM   #68
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I tow at max 60mph, whatever the speed limit.

Last Friday, when picking up our Airstream from CanAm (where we had work done over the winter) in London, Ontario, to deliver her to her summer parking spot in Hamilton, I spent twenty miles on the main 401 highway getting cut off by idiots before going "screw this" and taking the next exit, then following the old rural Highway 2 that runs a mile to the north.

All stress instantly disappeared, traffic dropped to almost nothing, I stopped for lunch in a pleasant little town, had some nice conversations and a good cup of coffee, then arrived at my destination maybe an hour later, but infinitely more relaxed and happier than had I stayed on the 401.
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Old 05-02-2015, 09:40 PM   #69
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We drive around the 65-70 mph range most of the time when towing. When not towing I usually get all pent up when I get tailgated. When we are towing I can't see any awesome drivers tailgating behind me so I don't care and usually are more relaxed. I can't think of the movie right now but there was a scene in one where the driver gets behind the wheel and breaks off the rear view mirror and says "what's behind me is not important". We pull over when its safe to let those running late or just love to drive fast and always wave politely when they zoom past. Sometimes they give us the single digit salute but I just smile and wave. We also try and avoid the big IH roads when ever possible. I also flash my headlights for passing truckers to indicate they have cleared our rig when passing us. Those folks are some hard working Americans and deserve some courtesy. Drive friendly and arrive safe.
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Old 05-02-2015, 09:53 PM   #70
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Quote:
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I tow at max 60mph, whatever the speed limit.

Last Friday, when picking up our Airstream from CanAm (where we had work done over the winter) in London, Ontario, to deliver her to her summer parking spot in Hamilton, I spent twenty miles on the main 401 highway getting cut off by idiots before going "screw this" and taking the next exit, then following the old rural Highway 2 that runs a mile to the north.

All stress instantly disappeared, traffic dropped to almost nothing, I stopped for lunch in a pleasant little town, had some nice conversations and a good cup of coffee, then arrived at my destination maybe an hour later, but infinitely more relaxed and happier than had I stayed on the 401.
We're planning a trip to Kingston this July; faced with the same prospect of travelling on the 401 with our 310 turbo diesel that is comfortable at 55 mph, is crazy. I will be taking the back roads as well.

I couldn't imagine taking a 80+ mph highway with my rig.

Cheers
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