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Old 07-08-2016, 12:54 PM   #15
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1969 23' Safari
Palmer Lake , Colorado
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You'll do fine. Just adopt an approach when driving no matter the road nor weather that you need to not get flustered by things that can easily be fixed or worked around up to and including not making it to the destination you set out for earlier in the day. Airplane pilots that end up in bad situations frequently get there because of "gotta get there-itis" and end up making bad decisions. If you miss an exit just go around. If you get caught in construction or slow traffic take a chill pill. If you can't drive safely pull over. Overall I try to pick a lane and stay in it through a big city. I am able to go the speed limit for the most part so I don't feel like I'm holding up any traffic in one of the center lanes and I have options as exits and off-ramps come up instead of being caught at the last minute in an exit lane at 65 MPH. I have a camera on the back of the trailer for lane changes and backing up. Otherwise it's just like driving on a normal day without your trailer!

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Old 07-08-2016, 01:08 PM   #16
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Vero Beach , Florida
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A few other pointers about towing on the I-roads

We are long distance folks, so interstates are unavoidable even if we prefer the slower pace of state highways and county roads.

Good advice above n speed, lane choice, etc. Here are a few pointers I didn't see as I skimmed the earlier responses:

-Make sure your mirrors are wide enough to see down both sides of the trailer. Get accessory mirrors if necessary. Set them for proper viewing before you start out and use them. There will be times you have to change lanes. Visibility behind is key.

-Test your lights, especially turn signals before you go and at every stop. My pigtail connection gets loose sometimes. When it does, my left turn signal and brake light don't work. The second step to this pointer is to signal every turn and lane change.

-Use your mirrors even with light or no traffic to make sure you know where your trailer is positioned in the lane. In our case, the AS is 2 1/2 feet wider than the TV. Lane positioning requires far more precision with the trailer than without. Mirrors are the key to see that your widest part is positioned in the lane with clearance to both side lane lines.

-Time your trip to avoid urban areas at rush hour. This morning we moved from the North Carolina/Virginia border up I-85 and I-95 to Maryland. That included downtown Richmond and (ugh!) the Washington Capital Beltway through Northern Virginia. We used to live in the Washington area, so I planned this trip to pass through those areas near noon. Even still we had three separate slowdowns. Atlanta on I75/85 is about as bad. In these areas lane width is sometimes under 10 feet on interstates which leaves inches of clearance. Best to tackle it with as little traffic as possible.

I hope that helps.

Say a prayer for the police in Dallas and law enforcement across the USA today!

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Old 07-08-2016, 01:24 PM   #17
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Don't mean to steal the thread but what gear on the freeway do most of you tow in? I tow with a six speed Lexus RX350 and tow in 4th to minimize the transmission shifting back and forth. I rarely use cruise control. Do many folks use cruise control on the freeway and let the transmission shift more or just keep your foot on the accelerator and try to minimize the transmission shifting?
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Old 07-08-2016, 01:45 PM   #18
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Freeway Towing Tips

1. Get a good sway elimination hitch. Hensley or similar, do your research, make your choice... no more panic or sway when an 18 wheeler passes you... can be expensive, but how much is your piece of mind worth?

2. If I were full time or towed a lot on freeways, I would invest in a good tire pressure monitoring system. In over twenty years of free way towing, I have had at least two trailer tire blow-outs, one of which did some damage to a wheelwell.

3. Get a dash cam video... how many times has driver tried to cut you off in a free way merge... or cut in too soon when passing you? If you had to go to court after an accident, having a video record could make the difference.

4. Get a good foam fire extinguisher or two or three... again, I have seen several engine fires going down the freeway over the years and was glad I had an effective extinguisher to help. See:

I keep two in my Airstream, one in my tow truck and one in my home kitchen.

5. As others have mentioned... run in the inside lane, but be very careful of those merging from on ramps... move over to the right lane if possible... or run in the second lane over on multiple lane freeways. Maintain a good distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you... more than you would in normal driving conditions with just your personal vehicle... this allows you more time to stop with that big trailer behind you or more options to evade debris or tire debris that might come off the vehicle or 18 wheeler in front of you when they have a blow out...

6. STOP and REST every two hours at a minimum. I rarely run over 300-350 miles a day unless I absolutely have to. Start early, stop early.

7. Balance the use of your truck brakes and trailer brakes going down a steep grade. Downshift if you can to take advantage of engine braking...

7. Like others I rarely run over 62-63 MPH when towing...
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Old 07-08-2016, 02:18 PM   #19
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I believe most of the concepts have been suggested. I just want to add weight to some. "They are all out to get you! Watch out!"

You can not always move over to let another vehicle enter. Only travel in the right hand lane if there are only two lanes. If you are in the right lane and the merging car is on a collision path. Establish eye contact or honk early. You may have to slow or accelerate. Get the flashers on if you have to slow. I think making the merger slow may be safest, but .. as in many situations it depends. Remember that they are out to get you. Some have poor skills and are inexperienced. Some are distracted. Some have not seen you and will react correctly when they do. Others will screw it up. You can't.

Stay away from major cities during rush hour. That includes lunch. The commuters need all the road they can get and your being in the way is not a help to their day. If you are still working, you get it. The rest of us need to work on the concept. A late start is not a bad thing. Alternatively, travel later in the day and work to the other side of the metro area before you stop for the night. Then you have clear road to start out the next day's travel.

Muddling through stop light to stop light traffic can be an alternative to the speed of an interstate. Folks expect to stop and go at each light. Stopping on an interstate is always unexpected. Use your flashers.

Be aware of the high cost assigned to trailers on the Texas toll roads. Some folks set the GPS for no toll roads.

Some GPS systems are very good at suggesting alternative routing. Take care. It can be easier to maintain your depends. May be a good time to fuel up.

Good luck. Travel safe. Take it slow. Don't cut corners too close. Don't back up without looking first. Watch for low overhangs and branches on side streets and parks. Watch for drop offs, bumps and transitions. Remember "there is 40 ft of train" back there. Don't give up. Trucks get through. You can too. It's just a new learning experience. Pat
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Old 07-08-2016, 02:19 PM   #20
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1991 25' Excella
Stanfield , Oregon
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Avoid interstates in Idaho if possible mainly from burley to nampa. The semis towing triples are doing 80+ mph. But I run down the freeway around 72 mph with no issues. Just make sure and give your truck and trailer a good checkup before a road trip.
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Old 07-08-2016, 02:32 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by tlavergne View Post
Don't mean to steal the thread but what gear on the freeway do most of you tow in? I tow with a six speed Lexus RX350 and tow in 4th to minimize the transmission shifting back and forth. I rarely use cruise control. Do many folks use cruise control on the freeway and let the transmission shift more or just keep your foot on the accelerator and try to minimize the transmission shifting?
Unless the transmission is not correctly programmed, shifting is not a bad thing. My understanding is that there is towing instruction in the Lexus owners manual. Check and then discuss with a trusted Lexus mechanic that understands the effect of towing on the Lexus transmission.

Cruise can be a help. Should not be an auto pilot. The newer ones will reasonably help to maintain a constant speed. Folks who report that they back off on the peddle to optimize their efficiency forget that a punch on the cruise does the same. Interstates are not all flat and level. Cruise is not a set it and forget it solution. Active driving is a good thing, even if electronics are helping you filter the fuel feed. But it is important for you to decide what works best and keeps you and your rig traveling safe. Pat
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Old 07-08-2016, 02:35 PM   #22
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Monmouth , Oregon
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Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
There is no such thing as a "fast lane." The speed limit is the same in every lane. The right lane is the "slow lane" as in the posted signs saying "slower traffic keep right," but that doesn't make any other lane the fast lane.

But there sure are a lot of people who think the left lane is the "name your own speed limit" lane!

If the highway widens out to three or more lanes (I-635 in Dallas, for instance), I'll move into the second lane because I've lost track of the number of times I slowed to let a merging vehicle get in front of me, only to have that merging vehicle slow down as well so that we still nearly hit each other!
Thank you for offering me the ability to express my first difference of opinion on these forums. I too often use the middle lane simply because I am traveling faster than those in the right. I agree there is no fast lane and that the speed limit is the same in all lanes; however, the reality is that traffic (at least in WA, ID, & OR) usually flows about 10 mph faster than the posted speed). Although it is possibly to drive in the far left at the posted MPH, that vehicle is impending traffic and also not advising the "slower traffic keep right," thus giving cause for other drivers to make the poor choice and pass them on the right. Therefore, it is not defensive to drive in the left lane slower than other traffic.

To each their own, I just like to be defensive. I will add one more point to all the other good advise. Look further ahead. Many accidents are caused by not looking further ahead. Watch at least a football field ahead.
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Old 07-08-2016, 03:04 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Thiss View Post
Therefore, it is not defensive to drive in the left lane slower than other traffic.

To each their own, I just like to be defensive.
I agree. The only time I drive in the left lane slower than prevailing traffic is when a left exit is coming up, in which case I do my lane change with plenty of room to spare rather than waiting for the last moment— or when passing someone even slower than me, and even then I don't pass if I can see traffic coming up in the lane to my left that I would cut off by my lane change. As pilots say, "check six," except when towing it's more like "check 5 and 7."

I just have a pet peeve about people talking about the "fast lane" as if just being in the left-hand lane excuses going like a bat out of hell. Not that it applies to you or anyone on this forum, of course— Airstreamers aren't speeders for the most part.
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Old 07-08-2016, 03:05 PM   #24
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Virginia Beach , Virginia
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Great tips! The only other thing we have done is timing our travel to go through large metropolitan areas (such as Houston or St. Louis, etc.) to avoid heavier traffic times (ie; after rush hour, before lunch, after lunch or our new favorite after 8pm). Just don't try to push it too far in one day to attempt this feat.
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Old 07-08-2016, 03:30 PM   #25
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My wife and I wonderef about the use of the carpool lane when pulling the AS. Never done it just wondering if it's legal (we do have more than one person in the tow vehicle). After towing more than 10 years all over the country, I prefer the two lane back roads and I agree fewer and fewer people seem to know how to merge on to the freeway. After three years with the Michellin tires if you have to go over 65 mph to get around someone texting or talking on the phone going less than fifty in the right lane of the expressway while the left lane is rolling along at 80 plus, you at least don't fear a trailer tire blowout (come to think of it all five of my trailer tire blowouts occurred at less than 60 mph).
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Old 07-08-2016, 03:43 PM   #26
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Florida statute 316.081 states that motorists should drive in the right-most lane or the right half of the roadway with a few exceptions, including when passing other vehicles or when an obstruction makes it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the highway.
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Old 07-08-2016, 03:45 PM   #27
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Sometimes it is illegal to drive a slower vehicle in the left lane. Depends on the jurisdiction.

Here in BC, it is a $167 fine and three demerit points. It only applies on roads with a speed limit of 80 km/hr (50 mph) or greater.

The legislation prohibits driving in the left lane unless a motorist is:

* overtaking and passing another vehicle
* moving left to allow traffic to merge
* preparing for a left hand turn
* passing a stopped official vehicle displaying red, blue or yellow flashing lights, such as: police cars, ambulances, tow trucks, maintenance or construction vehicles.

A quick check shows that many US states have similar laws.
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Old 07-08-2016, 04:02 PM   #28
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On the interstate highways, I hang in the right lane, running about 60, unless I am going through a big city (Atlanta, St. Louis, K.C., etc.). In those instances I take the advice of an old neighbor, who was a circus performer and spent years towing trailers all over the country. He said to move over toward the center, though not all the way to the left, and stay there, even though you may be driving slightly slower than other folks. You just never know which way you need to move at a junction. As to changing lanes, he said look to see if it is clear, hit your turn signal, count to ten and go! That had been good advice for about 25 years.

I also try to schedule my trips to hit the big metro areas on Saturday or Sunday, or at least not at rush hour.

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