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Old 01-18-2015, 01:12 PM   #1
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Making a 90 degree turn after dark while towing.

It always bothers me when towing after dark and I need to make a turn into an unlighted street/ side road or even an RV park. I'm a big advocate of constantly glancing at my side mirrors whether going straight or especially in turns. When towing at night and I make these turns and look into the large side mirrors on my F250, I see NOTHING when I'm looking for the side of the trailer to clear. Typically there is a sign post, utility pole, ditch, or even another auto in that corner that has to be cleared by the AS. To date, I have never scraped nor clipped anything while doing this but it's still one of those dreaded moments for me we seem to have in our travels.
Does anyone know of any equipment , tricks, hints, or have any advice on how they navigate these situations and if there is a way to watch the sides of the trailer at night without installing cameras.
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Old 01-18-2015, 01:29 PM   #2
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I have to admit - I haven't trailered at night yet. Do your running lights help at all? The moves would be no different than during the day - you just have to be sure you see what's in the blind before taking the turn.
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Old 01-18-2015, 02:04 PM   #3
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The best I can come up with is: do some driving while towing your trailer.... in the daylight. Pay particular attention to how the trailer tracks while making left and right turns. Once you get a good idea of that, make sure that when you're towing at night that you swing wide enough to clear the trailer.
Night driving is always more challenging, add to that some rain and you'll really have fun.
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Old 01-18-2015, 02:16 PM   #4
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Although it's a little nerve-wracking to do so I have had to bring eighteen wheelers to a full stop at night to get out and e amine the turn. The thinking is that it is better to block one lane or shoulder versus get stuck and block the entire roadway.

A handheld plug in spotlight shortens this dramatically.

Liability is having all placed warning devices on stopping.
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Old 01-19-2015, 12:25 PM   #5
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I see the running lights in my rear view mirror. I make the turn as wide as possible- over-compensate-
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Old 01-19-2015, 12:53 PM   #6
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This might be something that will just come to you with practice. You don't say how big your trailer is, but with our short trailer, we feel pretty confident about how it will track behind us in a turn, and know it will behave the same if we can see it or not.
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Old 01-19-2015, 01:56 PM   #7
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A handheld spotlight isn't a bad idea at all. Thanks. I think it was "Artstream's" trailer that had blue lights run around the bottom of the belly pan. Normally they were only used when in a campground to provide light so you didn't whack the awning poles, etc.... but I think they could be turned on while running too. That would be handy in fog, if you had to pull over on the berm or while making those turns.
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Old 01-19-2015, 02:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
A handheld spotlight isn't a bad idea at all. Thanks. I think it was "Artstream's" trailer that had blue lights run around the bottom of the belly pan. Normally they were only used when in a campground to provide light so you didn't whack the awning poles, etc.... but I think they could be turned on while running too. That would be handy in fog, if you had to pull over on the berm or while making those turns.
Yup, it was Michael’s trailer that had those blue lights... at night, made his trailer look like it was floating on plasma energy... ‘course, that might have been in conjunction with what we were drinking...
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Old 01-19-2015, 02:42 PM   #9
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Having also a CDL, I have found that many of the skills I learned transferred well to towing.

1) Use your side mirrors on every turn day or night to get an idea of where your wheels are going.
2) Only turn left from the rightmost left turn lane if there is a choice.
2) Keep your windows and side mirrors clean.
3) Keep your dashboard lighting down to minimum - this will help you to see down the sides of the rig under low light
4) If backing up, you can use your brake lights to illuminate what's behind. Better yet, get a spotter if its tight.
5) Take your time.
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Old 01-19-2015, 02:55 PM   #10
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Making a 90 degree turn after dark while towing.

A large screen GPS is also helpful. Switch to satellite view. Doesn't work for me with here today gone tomorrow oil rigs, but it ought to with those RV parks located down three dirt lanes.

A safety vest, spotlight, warning devices more than just the three triangles and vehicle 4-ways should be used. Plenty of mag mount plug in flashers at Northern Tool for example. Or road flares. Traffic needs alerts from both directions no matter the direction of my turn from a dead stop.

If there is any dirt look for tracks by other combined vehicles. If they came down your road from the other direction then it's a good idea to try the same. A half hour or an hour is nothing compared to an accident. I've had to detour twenty-seven miles each way on an occasion. Many, many times part of this distance.

Biggest mistake by four wheelers is following the front wheels around in solo driving, much worse when towing. The first pendulum point is the vehicle rear axle. The second is the hitch ball.

It's not so much swing wide as swing later than one is used to. The TV can do what the TT cannot and that is to deal with road crown and embankment issues. The steer axle will go farther "over" than solo experience suggests. This is the point to get out again and back out of if it won't work or gut tells you not to. Thus the warning devices.

Always best to have a helper.

In the above it works well for fully rural farm and ranch country. I wouldn't if it was off a road in an area being swallowed by metro expansion. Those are the fatality roads.
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Old 01-19-2015, 03:31 PM   #11
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As far as equipment, Rear View Safety sells kits of proximity sensors similar to those on the rear bumper of many vehicles. Their camera kits also can include side view cameras. It would be a wiring project, but could provide considerable peace of mind. How nice if the Airstream had the same collision avoidance technology as my Jeep Grand Cherokee! Lacking that, my spouse gets out with a flashlight if backing into a site in the dark. Even back up lights would be a nice improvement.


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Old 01-19-2015, 03:42 PM   #12
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They'd better be able to pinpoint the trailer tire tread. Unless mounted underneath that sounds like false security with a bar ditch and bob wahr fence on a 110- degree turn. In the dark.

The shorter the TT the easier it is. I can't see a 25' being a problem behind a half-ton or smaller. But a 30' or larger behind a crew cab 1T due to the distance from the secondary pendulum point, I can. Tail swing is a bear if one has to correct from the turn in the opposite direction.
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Old 01-19-2015, 03:42 PM   #13
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What I would do is mount a Back Rack, see link below.

BackRack Louvered Cab Guards

Mount a spotlamp (preferably LED) on both top corners of the Back Rack facing aft with a dedicated switch to the cab. These would also help with disconnecting or connecting in low light situations and working around the truck in general.

I picked this spot as it's an amber light which may not aggravate drivers to your rear as much as a white spot may if you should decide to turn it on as you're driving around any corner in traffic. The amber light will also help with fog and inclement weather as it doesn't reflect as much back into your eyes.

https://www.superbrightleds.com/more...uct/1974/4503/

You can pick any lamp you like.
Cheers
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Old 01-19-2015, 03:59 PM   #14
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If it's bar ditches and barbed wire fences you're worried about, you should get out and look. Nothing beats an eyeball. Technology helps with larger hazards.


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