How to Park with a Trailer
Towing a trailer is not only difficult when actually moving but parking can also be tricky and harder than you’d expect. Parking with a trailer can simply be confusing, especially reversing, it is not as simple as finding a spot and putting the car in park. There are a few extra steps to note that will make sure you can avoid any common mistakes and that you don’t lose the trailer, your bumper, or damage them both.
Pulling into a spot:
If pulling into a spot there are a few things to remember. You should find a spot that fits both your vehicle and your trailer. Although you may need to take up multiple parking spaces across the parking lot, it is better to be out of the way to make sure you are able to effectively navigate the spot, the lot, and get out easily. Preferably, you would locate a level spot that is not on a grade. Here are some quick tips for parking with your travel trailer while pulling forward. Once you are in the spot, hold the brakes firmly while having a passenger place blocks behind the rear wheels of the trailer. The trailer will be more likely to roll if on a grade, which is why it is recommended to avoid this and park on level ground. Once the blocks are placed, that's when you will put your car in park as well as engage your parking brake.
Backing into a spot:
At campsites or sometimes even in a parking lot, pulling into a spot might not be the available option. Backing a trailer into a spot is a different story and requires a bit more finesse. Let’s take a pause to ask a very simple but important question, what direction does your trailer go when backing in?
When backing in, it is important to remember that your trailer will move opposite of the way that you are steering. You will want to take this much slower than pulling forward. Be sure to adjust your mirrors to avoid blind spots, don’t forget a spotter. Ideally, you will not be making much directional movement and will just be going straight back. WATCH OUT FOR JACKKNIFING! This is something super important to remember as if this occurs you need to stop backing up immediately in order to not cause damage to your vehicle. Jackknifing occurs when you have backed up your trailer too sharply in either direction. This has now caused the tongue to become almost parallel to the bumper of your vehicle. The quickest way to correct this is to slowly pull forward and straighten out. Pull as far back into the spot as possible and finish the parking the same way you would if going straight. Have your spotter place the blocks, put your car in park, and engage your parking brake.
Parking is an important part of safely towing because you will obviously not be moving 100% of the time but like everything, practice. Practice makes perfect! Take it slow and remember to breathe. The best thing you can do is take it slow to ensure you are good to go!