Some motorsports participants are lucky enough to live just down the street from their favorite track. Getting their track car to an event is almost as easy as a regular workday commute. But most of us aren’t that geographically lucky.
For many participants, getting the car to the track can take hours and cover hundreds of miles. It’s not the kind of trip you want to put your track car through just before an event, which is why many choose to get a trailer.
A trailer is great to have for towing track cars, moving non-running projects and storing tools and equipment, but it is not without its risks. Accidents can happen off the track as well as on track, and trailer accidents are not uncommon on the road.
Handling the risk of trailer accidents comes down to understanding what risks exist and how to tow your track car safely. If you have a trailer or are thinking about getting one, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared with these tips before you hit the road.
How Trailer Accidents Can Occur
Motorsports enthusiasts spend enough time behind the wheel that it’s natural to feel quite confident in your driving abilities. But it’s important to recognize there’s a big difference between driving a race car on the track and towing a large trailer on the highway.
According to the NHTSA there are more than 50,000 accidents each year related to towing. Minimizing your risk of an accident with a trailer comes down to understanding the number of ways they can occur.
Here are some factors that play into these kinds of accidents:
- Visibility problems: A trailer obstructs your rear visibility, making lane changes and backing up much more dangerous than in a regular car without a trailer.
- Vehicle performance: A loaded trailer dramatically changes the performance of your tow vehicle, taking longer to get up to speed, further to brake and harder to negotiate twists and turns.
- Driver error: Like all drivers, some people make mistakes while towing their track car, resulting in loss of control or a collision.
- Hitching mistakes: Some trailer accidents involve the trailer coming lose from the tow vehicle on the road resulting in accidents that can be deadly.
- Equipment failure: Sometimes an accident is the result of an equipment failure, such as a defective trailer coupler or rusted components in the hitch.
- Road conditions: The conditions on the day you drive, such as bad weather, road construction, potholes, unexpected turns or steep downhill slopes, can lead to an accident.
How to Get to Your Destination Safely
Nothing will ruin a great track day experience like having an accident with your trailer on the way to or from an event. An accident with a trailer is likely to result in more damage and risk of injury, simply due to the size and weight of the truck and trailer involved.
However, many trailer accidents can be prevented if you prepare ahead of time and learn how to handle your vehicle when it’s loaded down with your track car and trailer.
Following these tips can help minimize your risk:
- Choose a truck, van or SUV with a capable engine, such as a V8, and a longer wheelbase for better towing performance.
- Get comfortable pulling your trailer under a full load and know how to maneuver in emergency situations.
- Choose a tow vehicle with good mirrors or invest in mirror extenders and get used to maneuvering with limited visibility.
- Take time to learn how your vehicle behaves under a full load so that you aren’t caught off guard in an emergency on the road.
- Drive carefully, obeying speed limits, taking it easy on turns, increasing your following distance and knowing how to steer out of sways and skids.
- Make sure you know how to properly hitch your trailer to your vehicle and always use safety chains.
- Minimize the chance of equipment failure by using quality hitch components and checking for excessive wear and tear before every tow.
- Drive with care, stay alert and take your time, especially on an unfamiliar route.
How to Protect Your Motorsport Investment
There’s a lot riding on your trailer when you’ve loaded your track car for a trip to the track. Whether it’s across town or across the country, an accident may damage your tow vehicle, your trailer and your track car.
A lot of regular auto insurance policies have exclusions and may not cover your track car or trailer on the way to or from events. But with Lockton Motorsports Off-Track Insurance, your track car is covered from damage and theft while in transit, in storage and in the paddock.
Off-Track is an annual policy specifically for your non-licensed vehicles, and offers additional coverage options for your trailer, equipment and tools. You’re protected from:
- Physical damage while your car is stored or transported
- Trailer overturn accidents while on the road
- Damage during the loading or unloading process
- Theft of your vehicle, trailer or equipment
To be prepared on track day, it’s important to know if you regular policy will cover you. Learn how to check your policy for exclusions.
If your policy has exclusions for your car and trailer, don’t worry. Get Off-Track Insurance to help you protect your motorsports investment.