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How to Back Up a Trailer

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First-timers may have a hard time backing up a trailer. Because the trailer is attached to a vehicle, backing it up is very challenging, and your mind might start thinking of all the worst scenarios that might occur in the process. Usually, when you drive the vehicle, the trailer just follows you, but when it comes to backing it up, the nightmare begins. 

It is not something that you are going to master overnight but if you want to learn how to back up a trailer, you need to practice. In this post, you will find several tips that will help you learn how to back up your trailer, even if you are a beginner at the moment. 

  • Learn the Basics First

The first thing you need to do is learn the basics behind backing up a trailer. You should keep your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel, and as you move your hand in any direction, the very end of the trailer will then go as you back up. Usually, as you turn and back up, a V shape will be formed by the trailer and the tow vehicle, which points away from where you are turning to. The V will keep growing sharper if you take more dramatic turns and this is not the best scenario. 

So, in order to straighten out, you shouldn’t go backward, but rather forward. Once you are straight, start backing up. Make sure that your wheels are aimed at the axis where you want your trailer to be and keep pushing backward until you see that you are lined up. Don’t forget to start over if you get stuck. You can pull forward and then go backward again. 

  • Avoid Panicking

When you see that backing up the trailer is so difficult, you may end up panicking. You should always stay calm and make sure you go slow. Avoid any hasty moves. Also, do not force yourself to come up with solutions while you are moving, because it will only make things more stressful for you. Always stop, take deep breaths and try to calm down. Focus on your breathing for about 10 seconds to relieve some stress and then start planning. 

Don’t let anxiety take over you when there are other people waiting on you. Most of the time, RV owners will understand the struggle and will wait for you. And even if people are getting impatient, you should keep cool. After all, it is better to be in that situation than to ruin your rig. 

  • Practice Backing Up in Angles

Trying to back up in a straight line always seems like the better option. Unfortunately, there isn’t always enough space for this, so you should practice turning the trailer while backing it up. 

Move backward and then try to adjust the position of the trailer. Look out the windows to see if you are doing everything right. You should do this slowly and make sure to steer properly. And if there are people looking at you, don’t let that intimidate you in any way. You’re only human, so making mistakes is normal. You can get out of the car and assess the situation. At the same time, you can also have someone else helping you. 

  • Use Backup Cameras

Technology is amazing, as the developments are making life easier for many people. If you want to back up your trailer, having a backup camera can do wonders. It will be much easier to see what you are doing by using this camera, as it will show you how the back of your trailer is moving. You will have an easier time figuring out if you are doing the right thing or if you need to change the strategy. It is especially helpful if there is no guide or spotter helping you out. 

  • Try the Swoop

You can try the swoop method to back up your trailer, as it can be quite helpful at getting your trailer lined up properly into a space. To do this, you should drive towards your parking space from an angle as acute as possible. When the nose of your vehicle reaches the parking spot, swoop away from it until you see that the back end of the trailer just got past the parking spot. Now, turn the wheel clockwise so you can back up the trailer into the spot. 

Final Thoughts

If you just got yourself a nice electric trailer dolly and you are ready to back up your trailer when you go overlanding, you need to make sure you learn the right steps and methods. It is not easy, but with some practice, you will get there. Use this guide to help you learn how to properly back up your trailer.

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