Passing You When You’re Towing a Trailer or Driving a Large Motor Coach

Last Edited: July 19, 2019 // by TruckerScape, Inc.

Passing You

Some personal vehicle drivers are simply not used to towing trailers and are unaware of lane encroachment and others are seemingly just careless.  Their inexperience or carelessness is evident particularly with trailers whose wheel track is wider than that of my trailer.  Some trailers loaded with furniture, appliances, equipment and/or other belongings are rented for OTO (one time only) use in household moves.  Others carrying landscaping or other equipment and machinery are regularly towed by service people who should be more competent.

At their faster speeds, most personal vehicle drivers towing trailers are “passers” and I am the “passee.”  But occasionally I have opportunities to pass them on their left.  When in the right lane of an interstate or major four-lane highway, drivers towing wide track trailers may or may not crowd the right shoulder with their right trailer wheels.  If they don’t, their left trailer wheels track near the center line or encroach into the left lane.  I can still get by the trailers without side swiping them and leave some safety margin on my truck’s right side by crowding the left shoulder.  If I pass them on the right on interstates, major highways or multi-lane city freeways, I crowd the right shoulder if I’m in the right lane or cheat a little right when in one of the other lanes.

Large motor coaches (Class A bus-like recreational vehicles) are another type of wide track vehicle.  Their width is comparable to my truck’s 102 inches.  Most of them travel faster than my truck, but passing occasional slower ones on the left or right is less of a problem.  This is because most of their drivers have accumulated significant experience touring the country, are attentive to their vehicle’s size and generally stay in their lane.  If they stray out of their lane, I hesitate behind them until they see my truck and correct their position.

Passing Me

When passing my truck on my left on an interstate or major four-lane highway, drivers towing wide track trailers may neglect to crowd the left edge of their passing lane to prevent encroaching in my lane.  Consequently the right wheels of their trailers can run over the center line into my lane as they pass my truck.  Fortunately they have not side swiped me yet, because when I drive in the right lane, I crowd the right shoulder.  This gives passing vehicles a safety margin on my left.  It helps not only personal vehicle drivers but also trucks with wider than normal loads such as heavy haulers.

Personal vehicle drivers towing a trailer have an easier time passing me on the right because they have a better direct and mirrored view of how to stay clear of my truck from their left-side seats.

Encroachment from either left or right lanes by large motor coaches is infrequent, but I watch them closely as they pass my truck.

Steering Your Trailer and Other Advice

When towing a trailer, you can help other drivers by monitoring your trailer wheels in your personal vehicle’s side mirrors frequently.  As a general rule, keep your trailer centered in your lane as much as possible, with its wheels away from the center lines and lane lines.  If you’re towing a wide track trailer, you can provide extra help to other drivers by crowding the right shoulder when in the right lane and the left shoulder when in the left lane.

A trailer with a wide wheel track is more stable and can track straighter (with less side-to-side zigzagging) than small, lighter rental trailers.  Regardless of the trailer you tow, make sure it is not too large and/or loaded too heavily for the personal vehicle you tow it with.  Otherwise the trailer may throw your vehicle out of control, especially going downhill such as on a mountain pass descent, on slick road surfaces, or in an emergency requiring a hard brake.  Maintain a safe and comfortable speed and allow faster drivers to pass you.  These reminders also apply if you tow another vehicle.  And definitely think twice before towing in bad weather and/or bad road conditions.

Fortunately many drivers of large motor coaches are casual travelers and not tied to a schedule.  They are neither inclined to push through bad weather and/or bad road conditions nor to otherwise exceed their vehicle handling limitations.

Takeaways

When towing a trailer or driving a large motor coach, keep all wheels inside your lane.

When towing a wide track trailer or driving a large motor coach on interstates or major four-lane highways you can help other drivers, particularly truck drivers, by crowding the right shoulder when in the right lane and the left shoulder when in the left lane.

When towing a trailer or another vehicle, maintain a comfortable speed and allow faster personal vehicles and trucks to pass you.

Do not tow a trailer that is oversized and/or overloaded for your personal vehicle.

Think twice before towing a trailer or driving a large motor coach through bad weather and/or bad road conditions.

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