Off My Dock: Reverse Logic

Your Marine Hose Experts Share Tips On How to Improve Your Driving Skills With a Trailer

Raritan Engineering your marine hose professionals would like to share with you these topics we thought would be of interest to you this month regarding how to improve your driving skills with a trailer.

Between a rock and hard place and on the side of the road is where my good friend Chuck Larson found himself recently. Actually, the rock was between Chuck’s boat trailer and the pavement. Let me explain.

Chuck got off the freeway at the correct exit but turned right when he should have turned left, so instead of heading for the Kwik Trip, he was motoring into the bucolic countryside of southern Wisconsin. Now ­stranded but in motion on two-lane county road MM, Chuck drove farther and farther from the diesel pump and the doughnuts at Kwik Trip.

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After 8 miles on MM, Chuck’s frustration was mounting and his low-fuel light was glowing when he spied the convenience store with two driveways. He wheeled into the first entrance and, without stopping, turned sharply to his right to pull back onto MM in the other direction, and that’s when he felt something was amiss.

The boulder, a piece of smooth, egg-shaped granite about the size of a nice coffee table, was set in the earth at the verge of the driveway to keep cars from cutting across the grass.

Chuck limped back down county road MM, ego shattered and trailer tweaked, and when he finally got to the Kwik Trip, it was out of doughnuts anyway. But he didn’t have to back up.


Bearings

Fix Your mirrors show small bits of the landscape — in reverse. It’s a lot easier to understand what you’re seeing in the mirrors if you first have a good mental image of the staging area and launch ramp.

Hands Down

One simple trick many drivers use to back up with just their mirrors is to place a hand on the bottom of the steering wheel. Watching your boat in the rear view mirror, move your hand in the direction you want the boat and trailer to go.

Straight and Easy

If possible, align your rig for a straight shot backward onto the ramp. Then, before putting the gear in reverse, take a moment to look in one or both mirrors and identify fixed reference points. This will help keep you on the straight and narrow once you begin backing.

Turning Point

On ramps with shorter lead-ins, you may have to back around a turn to reach the water. The key to a smooth turn is in the setup. Ideally, you’ll want to make a smooth, medium radius turn that leaves the tow vehicle and trailer aligned and facing the ramp a bit before the trailer hits the water.

A Second Set of Eyes

Backing is a lot easier when you don’t have to go solo. But make sure your observer is helping, not just adding confusion. First, determine that you can see each other; if the observer can see your face in the mirror, the observer knows you can see hand signals.

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via Off My Dock: Reverse Logic

via Backing Up While Looking Ahead