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A Surprisingly Simple Trick to Backing a Trailer

By Edited Apr 5, 2016 1 2

Being able to back a trailer is one of those life skills, like driving a stick shift or riding a bike, which is not totally necessary but is good to have. It becomes especially useful if you ever buy a camper and have to get it into a particular camping spot or if you decide to move using a U-Haul.

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I consider myself a smart person. I am able to understand that if you turn your steering wheel one direction, the trailer is going to go the other direction. It makes sense. But when I am actually doing it, I have to think very carefully about it and often by the time I have got things figured out in my head the trailer is already starting to appear out one of the side windows as it becomes completely jackknifed.

Then one day I got into a conversation about this with my father, who grew up on a ranch in Wyoming. Oddly enough I was well into adulthood before I ever had reason to discuss this topic with him. He revealed his method for backing a trailer and my life was changed forever!

The simple yet brilliant method for trailer backing is this: place your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel and turn the wheel in the direction that you want the trailer to go.

Placing your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel is such a simple solution to the problem of having to move your hand in the opposite direction that you want the trailer to move. It is so simple that I am a little ashamed that I did not think of it myself. From that moment on I was backing trailers like a professional. Of course it is still important to do the things that will make the backing simpler, such as going slowly and lining yourself up as straight as possible with the place where you are planning to park the trailer.

I hope that with this little trailer backing tip you will impress your friends as you skillfully maneuver your camper into a coveted camping space. Or that you will easily back your trailer full of tree branches up to the compost pile at your local dump. Now you can buy that horse you have always wanted and travel with your horse trailer to shows around the country. Fear of trailer backing can be a thing of the past!



Sep 12, 2014 6:41am
I have to admit, I would rather guide someone to help backing a trailer than do it myself. But your simple tip would certainly make it much easier and less confusing.
Sep 13, 2014 12:08pm
Thanks for your comment! Yep, the tip sure helped me. It actually makes me think trailer backing is fun!
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