Towing in snow - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-20-2009, 01:37 AM   #1
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I'm planning on traveling in areas that may experience snowfall. I would like to know of any special considerations while towing in snow. Does the trailer require any chains / equipment
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:54 AM   #2
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The trailer will add weight to the rear of the tow vehicle and that will improve traction to rear wheel drive vehicles and your use of the manual trailer braking system will assist you in keeping the trailer inline with the tow vehicle.

It is absolutely imperative that you have the correct and serviceable tires on both vehicles and that you drive in accordance with conditions.

Should the authorities require chains on the tow vehicle then that is the time to reconsider towing anything anywhere.

If you do not have experience driving on snow then reconsider heading south so you do not encounter snow in the first place.

If U R from Iowa then you know what I’m talking about and if UR from Virginia you don’t understand at all.

Being an Iowa transplant in Virginia I see the locals driving 4 wheel drive vehicles way beyond the stopping capabilities on the snow and then upside down in the ditch later on.
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Old 01-20-2009, 11:16 AM   #3
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You don't need chains for the trailer. They are for the drive wheels of the tow vehicle. You might consider some protection for the front of your camper if you will be in an area where they use a lot of sand/salt on the road. Also, if you don't have a cover for your propane tanks you could cover them, especially the valve assembly and regulator, with a plastic bag or other protection.

You should also have winter survival supplies with you in case mother nature decides not to follow the weatherman's suggestions (i.e. forecast). All the things they recommend for winter travel such as blankets, candles, food and water should be available. This brings up another point. Take along a weather radio so you can listen to the NWS weather guessers.

Best suggestion - slow down. Slow way down. Use the manual control on your trailer break controller (lightly) to maintain control if things get a little hairy. If you notice any changes in how the rig is handling slow down some more. Leave lots of room around you. And if others on the road start crowding you just back off and let them ride point. Let them find the slippery areas for you. Patience and caution will keep you alive.

Depending on where you are traveling you might have to "wait it out" if the weather gets really bad. In some areas they prohibit trailer combinations on the highways or close the roads when the weather gets bad so you might end up sitting at a truck stop or roadside rest area with a bunch of BIG trucks. I'm talking about really bad weather here, like snowfall measured in feet and/or blizzard conditions. BTW those big trucks make good windbreaks. As long as you have your camper you have a place to stay. If you don't have a furnace keep a small single mantle lantern for heat, and remember to open the camper vent if you use it.

I just completed a 2,400 mile trip during the holidays Denver CO to Danville IL and back. Some on interstates and some on state and county roads. Even a few miles on gravel roads. Had snow, ice, wind and torrential rains. Low temperature was 3F with wind chill of -16. When the ice storm hit we just pulled in to a rest area and dropped anchor until it quit. Overall it was an enjoyable trip.

Best of luck on your trip. Be ye cautious!





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Old 01-20-2009, 03:03 PM   #4
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I'm planning on traveling in areas that may experience snowfall. I would like to know of any special considerations while towing in snow. Does the trailer require any chains / equipment

Please read the State Towing Laws and Chain Laws for the states where you plan on traveling that might have snow. Each state has their own laws. Here in Oregon if you're towing and "Chains are required" signs are out, you must have chains on the tow vehicle and chains on the trailer if you have trailer brakes.

Different states different laws.
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:16 PM   #5
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Each state has their own laws.
Here in California, when chains are required, you must chain up the Drive wheels on the Tow Vehicle, and the Braking wheels on the Trailer. For me, that would be the [b]Front wheels on the Honda Odyssey, AND the [b]Front axle wheels on the Fiber Stream.
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:28 PM   #6
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I have pulled all kinds of trailers on snow covered roads, from tractor/trailer units to small trailers. All the advice given so far is good. You do need to exercise caution.

I would emphasize that you need to be very considerate of braking distances, they are increased greatly under slippery conditions, much more than the tow vehicle alone. Keep your speed moderate and slow down well ahead of where you intend to stop.

The other thing to be cautious of is wind, and towing a big balloon behind you. Light trailers get pushed around enough on dry roads, let alone under snowy/icy conditions.

All this said, I personally would not have an issue towing under these conditions, but would just exercise lots of caution.
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:12 AM   #7
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Personally I won't drive with chains on a front wheel drive car on highways. If I have a front wheel drive towing a 17' trailer I'll stay home and wait for spring, with either front wheel or rear wheel deactivate your anti sway bar. This is not my opinion but mine says to on the sticker glued to it.
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Old 01-21-2009, 02:33 PM   #8
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Here in California, when chains are required, you must chain up the Drive wheels on the Tow Vehicle, and the Braking wheels on the Trailer. For me, that would be the [b]Front wheels on the Honda Odyssey, AND the [b]Front axle wheels on the Fiber Stream.
Thanks for the info: I'm hoping to avoid snow when I pick up my new fgrv, but I will pack an extra set of chains. I'd rather avoid any hassle of either being stranded or having to make an "emergency " purchase.
Sandra
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Old 01-21-2009, 05:01 PM   #9
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Don't consider it stranded when you are towing a camper, consider it camping then wait until it is safe to resume your trip.

I think that If you need chains then you shouldn't be on the road in the first place. Chains is for those people that MUST be on the road.
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:27 PM   #10
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It would have to be a life threating situation for me to install chains and pull a trailer. I'm retired and that means I can wait for better conditions.
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Old 01-21-2009, 10:28 PM   #11
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[Thanks for the great advice. I just want to be prepared for the unexpected on the road while traveling in the winter.
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Old 01-21-2009, 11:43 PM   #12
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Old 01-21-2009, 11:58 PM   #13
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Many places we travel require that we carry chains for both the trailer and jeep but we have never used them. In Oregon there is a fine if you do not carry chains, so we always have some pairs with us. Do carry kitty litter for quick traction in case you need a little help getting going.

We have pulled a trailer from Bend Oregon over the mountains and had the snow start. After several miles we had a long line of cars behind us. We pulled over so they could pass but all the cars pulled over too. Several times we pulled over and each time the whole line pulled over too. They wanted to have us break trails through the new snow. We have had a fair amount of experience driving in the snow but the one thing I have learned is that it can always be tricky. I would always allow extra time so that there is never a need to push on beyond when it is safe. With our trailers we can wait out the storm until it is safe.
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:49 AM   #14
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hmmmmm, Though I was born and raised in Calif, I have lived in Colorado for over 25 years with a few year stint in Montana braving a good old Montana winters, I have driven thru many a blizzard, snow storm, dusting (Personally I would rather drive on a frozen highway than any slushy road). And I can honestly say I wouldn't pull a trailer thru any of these conditions unless it was absolutely necessary. Winter weather conditions are tough enough just in a vehicle adding the fact that the driver or drivers around you may have an issue that you can't maneuver your rig and tow away from let alone the issues you will be driving thru. I know drivers do it, I am just saying, I don't think its worth it. My opinion! I wish you luck! Robin
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