As part of its support of the safety week, Kenda Americana Tire — the Kenda Rubber Industrial Co. Ltd. trailer tire and wheel distribution arm — is lobbying state governors to issue proclamations recognizing the importance and increasing public awareness of Trailer Safety Week, now in its fourth year.
"No matter how safely a trailer is built, it can still be used in incredibly unsafe ways, especially since many people new to using a trailer never receive even basic training of proper use," Kim Besst, marketing manager at Kenda Americana Tire and Wheel, said.
"In an effort to make the roads safer for everyone, we are dedicated to creating messaging that both educates and informs the public on how tires play an important part in trailer performance."
Safe trailering practices save lives, Kenda Americana said, and with millions of trailers — used by businesses, local governments, and individuals — traversing the nation's roadways every day, it is crucial to ensure that trailers are being towed safely for the sake of everyone on the roads.
Things like load capacity, air pressure and proper tire maintenance matter immensely to both performance and safety, the company said.
Kenda Americana Tire and Wheel has compiled a list of safety tips for those intending to tow a trailer or use their RV in the coming weeks:
• Inspect prior to departure.
1) Check and correct tire pressure on the tow vehicle and trailer, including the spare tire.
2) Make sure wheel lug nuts/bolts on the tow vehicle are tightened to the correct torque.
3) Check that all items are securely fastened on and in the trailer.
4) Make sure all running lights, brake lights, turn signals, and hazard lights are working.
• Maintain tires after use.
1) Visually inspect tires after use. Look for signs of irregularities, cracking or stress. Such signs can mean tires have reached the end of their useful life and need to be replaced:
2) Store trailers properly. Parking a trailer in the hot sun could cause sun damage, which could make tires crack. Storing a trailer in the shade or covering the tires will help combat environmental damage to the tires.
3) Know the load capacity of the tires on the vehicle.
4) Make sure the tires meet or exceed the trailer's or RV's load capacity. Check owner's manuals or placards for maximum limits.
5) Load trailers properly. Weight distribution matters; a tail-heavy trailer could cause instability. At least 60% of the load should be toward the front.
• Know the proper stopping distance.
1) On trailer models with brakes installed, the combination will require a greater stopping distance with a trailer in tow than the tow vehicle requires while operating by itself.
2) Even smaller trailers that do not require brakes will require longer stopping distances for the combination than the tow vehicle requires while operating by itself. Even with adequate trailer brakes, if applicable, the tow vehicle will still have a greater stopping distance with a trailer attached.
3) It takes experience for drivers to become comfortable with the difference between the way their vehicle handles by itself, versus the way the vehicle handles while towing a trailer loaded with cargo.
4) For following distances, a general rule of thumb is at least a 325-foot gap (about 5 seconds at 60 mph) between the vehicle being driven and the vehicle or obstacle ahead on the road. Prolonged use of brakes can cause overheating and loss of brake effectiveness. Leaving ample space to respond should help prevent frequent and/or hard braking.
• Respond to sway the right way.
1) Gas off, brake off, steer straight and wait.
2) DO NOT attempt to control sway by turning the steering wheel as it will only make the issue worse. If the vehicle has brake controller, gently apply only the trailer brakes.
As warm weather brings more trailers out, Kenda Americana Tire said, following these tips are as essential for drivers as always maintaining focus while operating a motor vehicle to eliminate distractions. By taking the right measures, you can reduce any problems that could arise on the road.
The NATM represents manufacturers that produce light- and medium-duty trailers and suppliers of products and services to the industry. It mission is to promote awareness of safety and provide a voice for trailer manufacturers and their suppliers when issues of trailer safety and regulation are considered by Congress and relevant government agencies.