Module 7: Cooperating with Others on Highway 09

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(Chains and Trailers, Loads)Chains and trailers, LoadsCargo – To prevent cargo from falling or being thrown on the road, state law requires drivers to meet certain requirements. Vehicles must be equipped to prevent loss of material from spills or flying off the vehicle. The boxes of vehicles carrying loads must not have holes, cracks or other openings through which loose material can escape. The bed must be closed with side panels and in front by a panel or by the vehicle cabin. The rear must be closed with a panel or hatch. The load must be covered and the cover must be securely secured front and rear, unless the load is completely contained by the load compartment, or it will not spill over the load compartment. The vehicle gate must be closed to prevent spillage during transportation. Safety chains are a requirement for certain types of vehicles that are towing trailers. The purpose of this law is to prevent the trailer from coming loose and causing a serious collision. Towing – Adding a trailer to your vehicle will affect your driving in a number of ways. Some things to consider when towing something are:

  • • Fuel efficiency will be reduced by up to 50%
  • • Your maneuvering distance will often double
  • • Accelerating is much slower
  • • Your stopping distance is increased
  • • Rear visibility is significantly obstructed
  • • The trailer has to be added to your vehicle’s insurance policy.

Due to the decrease in acceleration and the increase in maneuvering distance, you should start slowly and be sure to check your mirrors frequently. When you are on a hill, you must drive at a slow speed.Preparation – What type of trailer are you towing? What kind of cargo does it carry? It is important to distribute your load safely and to load it safely onto the trailer. Generally, when towing cargo, place the heaviest and largest items in the bottom. If the trailer is open, you will want to cover your cargo with a waterproof tarp. When towing a camper, have all passengers ride in the car with you, not the camper, especially if it is a folding camper. Not just any vehicle can tow. Is your rear bumper mounted for towing? Do you have a bar or chains to tow? Does your trailer have the necessary lights? What about the cables to connect the lights on the trailer to the lights on your vehicle? Engine Starting – Due to decreased acceleration and increased maneuvering distance, start the engine slowly and check your mirrors frequently. When driving up a steep hill, be sure to use a low gear.

When you turn left:

  • • Signal ahead
  • • Drive deeper into the intersection before turning to allow the trailer to enter
  • • Make a wide turn so the trailer goes completely around the corner
  • • Adjust your lane position as you enter traffic

When you turn right:

  • •Haga señales con anticipación
  • • Position your vehicle along the left edge of the lane
  • • Drive until the front tires have cleared the curb.
  • • Turn the steering wheel to the right
  • • Adjust to an appropriate lane position while straightening the steering wheel.

When stopping, if possible, use a trailer with brakes that connect to your vehicle’s brakes. Regardless of the braking power of your trailer, you will need more time and space to stop. Give yourself more leeway up front to prevent a collision.

Driving in reverse – This maneuver takes practice. To avoid damaging the trailer, be sure to back slowly, don’t turn the wheel too hard, and apply the following guidelines:

  • • To back up to the left, turn the steering wheel to the right and then straighten it.
  • • To back up to the right, turn the steering wheel to the left and then straighten it.

In traffic – Remember that extra space and time are key to driving safely while towing something. If you plan to pass a vehicle, you will need much more time and space to pass the vehicle and safely return to your lane. If you are being passed by a large vehicle, turbulence in the air can push your trailer to one side. Be aware of this and adjust your steering wheel as necessary to stay in your lane. Please review the Texas Driver’s Manual for more specific details on regulations involving the transportation of cargo, chains, and trailers.