June 12, 2002

Safety association publishes free guide to safe towing

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has published a free consumer guide containing safety information for motorists who tow trailers. The guide is available online at www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/Equipment/towing/index.htm.

“It is important to make good decisions about safety when buying and driving tow vehicles and trailers,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta. “This brochure will be particularly helpful in making driving safer for motorists as the summer vacation season approaches.”

Mineta pointed out that each year there are nearly 59,000 crashes in the United States involving passenger vehicles towing trailers, resulting in injury to more than 28,000 people, according to NHTSA estimates. The brochure provides equipment and driving tips that can increase safety and help reduce the number of injuries and instances of property damage that result from towing-related crashes.

“Taking time to make sure a tow vehicle and trailer are compatible and properly equipped for safety can help prevent injuries and minimize the inconvenience and consequences of a crash or break down,” said NHTSA Administrator Jeffrey W. Runge, M.D.

The new brochure covers these topics:

  • Safety tips for driving with a trailer.
  • The pre-departure checklist.
  • Tire safety when towing.
  • Proper loading and weight distribution of cargo and equipment.
  • State and local requirements for towing a trailer.
  • Safety tips for maintaining a tow vehicle and trailer.
  • How the size and weight of a trailer affect the selection of a tow vehicle.
  • The importance of trailer manufacturers’ tow ratings.
  • How to measure the weight of a trailer.
  • The hitching, braking, and wiring systems that connect tow vehicles with trailers.

Towing and trailer industry representatives reviewed the new publication and will work with NHTSA to distribute it.

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