Safe Trailer Towing in California: A Quick and Easy Guide
Towing any type of trailer can be dangerous if you overlook the most essential safety precautions.
In California, trailer towing laws require all trailers to be equipped with fenders, covers, or splash guards to minimize mud or water splashing onto the vehicle’s rear. There are numerous other stipulations you need to follow, including:
- Trailers weighing more than 1500 lbs should have brakes on at least two wheels
- Trailer brakes should be kept in good condition and full working order, so all brakes work equally across all wheels
- Trailers should have tail lights, stop lamps, license plate light, and turn signal lamps
These are just a few — you can find the rest here.
But even if you know the rules chapter and verse, it’s vital that you conduct a thorough safety inspection ahead of any trip you plan to take (no matter how brief).
Running a safety inspection of your trailer
During your trailer safety inspection, check:
- the pin keeping the ball mount secured to the receiver is intact
- the hitch coupler is fully secured
- the spring bar hinges feel tight and the safety clips are in place
- the safety chains have been attached properly
- the electrical plug has been installed correctly
Take care when performing these checks. You may be tempted to breeze through them, but it’s vital that you’re sure — for your own safety and that of others.
Keeping passengers safe while towing a trailer
Passengers may feel comfortable traveling in the trailer you’re towing, but they may not legally be able to.
DMV rules for trailer towing in California stipulate that:
- passengers cannot ride in a trailer coach being towed
- passengers can ride in a fifth-wheel coach while it’s being towed
- passengers being transported in a camper must have access to an unblocked exit door, capable of opening from the inside and outside
Understanding sway control
Once your trailer is ready to be towed, it should handle well if weight and hitch adjustments have been set up properly.
However, if you notice sway in the trailer, check for issues with suspension and that tires are inflated correctly. And don’t forget to examine the hitch.
Reducing air pressure in one or more tires could help, but you should take advantage of a sway control device to give your vehicle and trailer the feel of a single cohesive unit. Two basic sway control system types are available: friction bar and dual cam sway control. The latter is best suited to bigger trailers with heavy tongue weights.
How can you make trailer towing in California safer than ever?
It’s simple: leave it to the professionals!
Spark Towing’s 24/7 trailer towing service is available for local and long distance transportation!
Call us at (619) 497-0224 to schedule your trailer towing today!