Driving With A Trailer
The most important things to have when you tow are basic common sense and the ability to adjust your driving to the situation at hand. Depending on the size of your boat, hitching the trailer to your car can dramatically increase the overall weight, as well as your car’s performance.
You bought a boat and a trailer to make exploring Long Island’s north and south shores, as well as the east end, a lot more accessible. But first you need to master the skills necessary to control your vehicle properly when towing an average-sized trailer.
Driving when towing needs to be done at a slower speed than without a trailer, especially when accelerating, turning and braking. You’ll need practice to see how much more time it takes to accelerate, or how to feel comfortable with other routine driving techniques. Head to an empty parking lot and start turning and backing up. See how much wider the turns become and at what point you’ll need to start a turn to avoid jumping a curb. Practice backing up the car. See what direction the trailer turns as you turn the car left and then right (backing up requires turning the steering wheel in the opposite direction you want the trailer to turn).
When you venture out on the open road, be aware of trailer restrictions. As examples, trailers are prohibited on Northern and Southern State Parkways, while Wantagh and Meadowbrook have limited access south of Merrick Road.
One last tip: once you enter a ramp to launch the boat, be careful not to back the car into the water!