Towing in snow and ice - braking question

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Pudge

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I don’t usually tow in the winter, but I have no choice this time round. 6000 lb trailer I’m transporting, with a Ram 2500. im going to be in and out of weather where I am anticipating running into some snow and maybe icy situations. Should tow in 4wd? And what about braking. If my trailer brakes too hard, will it impact the handing? or do I turn down the trailer brakes so they don’t brake too much? But i also don’t want the trailer weight to push my truck So I can’t turn them down too much. I’ve towed lots, and driven in lots of snow and icy, but rarely towed with a trailer in snow and ice. Any pointers would be appreciated. The obvious one would be to not do it, but this round, I’ve no choice.
 

SniperDroid

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Without more info about about the trailer and weight it's hard to say. Dry ground is different fron snow covered ...
 

star_deceiver

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4 wheel drive would be used the same whether you were towing or not.
Slow down in the corners and the trailer will follow your track over the snow.
The main concern would be spinning your rear tires on ice, but that would be greatly lessened with proper winter tires and being in 4by.
 

Dean2

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Towing on ice and snow is a little trickier. Your trailer has brakes, so that is very good. You are correct that you want the trailer brakes to engage so it isn't trying to push the truck when you are stopping. Having the trailer brake fairly hard without locking up the tires is perfect. Trailer brakes help keep the trailer behind you, and you may want to practice manually adding more trailer brake with your controller to combat a trailer swinging out when stopping, but that usually only happens in emergency stop scenarios.

Using a weight distribution hitch with the correct weight on your hitch also helps a whole bunch on bad roads, keeps the trailer from swinging back and forth and porpoising on bumps. Finally, make sure your load is properly distributed and that the trailer tows straight and true on dry ground.

If the roads are slippery 4x4 definitely helps. Slow down a bit, watch way ahead and anticipate corners, stops, slowing vehicles ahead etc.. Practice the driving elegant school of 4 wheeling and you will be just fine.
 

2003F350

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I echo the above, just slow down and take things easy.

You'll also likely notice you have substantially less rear tire spin with a loaded trailer because you've got more weight on your rear axle.

Get your weights right, try to have the trailer brake a little harder without locking up the tires, and take things easy - you aren't in this to win a race, you're in this to get where you need to go safely.
 

zrock

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you may want to carrie a set of tire chains for both truck and trailer. If the roads get to icy and you are having issues with braking on the trailer you can toss a chain on a tire and this will help keep it strait when breaking..
 

Dean2

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Do NOT put chains on trailer tires. If it gets that icy, pull over till they get the roads sanded. At any speed above real slow, chains on non-driven tires will cause the trailer to grab at any even slightly deep snow and yard it hard to the side catching the deeper snow. It will also make the trailer REALLY squirrelly changing lanes if you have to drive through or in soft snow crossing from one lane to the other. Same thing happens if you put chains on the front of a 4x4 and do not have power to the front wheels.

IF it is bad enough to need to chain a trailer to get it to have stopping traction, then you are speed limited to about 40 KLM/H. If the roads are bad enough to need chains on even just the truck, being it is a 4x4, it is time to pull over and check into a Motel till the road crews get the roads tuned up.
 
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Dean2

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Once you have pulled a trailer in snow a couple of times you will learn lots and realise it isn't really all that hard. Like everything else, it is about experience and paying attention. Let us know how you make out.
 

star_deceiver

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Another tip: Keep your loonies. You’re going to need them at the car wash. The liquid garbage on the road will get everywhere on the trailer.
 

Ramfanski

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If you’re going down a hill and it’s really slippery and the trailer starts coming around the side if you hit the brakes on just the trailer it’ll straighten you out. Always use four-wheel-drive when it’s really slippery. If you start losing it with the trailer and you’re going slow, goosing it in four-wheel-drive will straighten things out as well as hitting the brakes on the trailer at the same time.
 

Dean2

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Today is a great day to go out and practice with the trailer in a nice ooen parking lot.
 
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