Trackside Teachers: U-Haul to Offer Safe Trailering Tips at PIR

What constitutes safe trailering?

The U-Haul-coined term encompasses more than one may think, according to Sperry Hutchinson, U-Haul spokesperson and product expert.

“It’s our way of talking about our expertise in towing trailers,” Hutchinson said. “Going back to 1945 when U-Haul was founded, it was built around those first handmade trailers. The best way to learn how to do something is by doing it yourself.

“As a company, we’ve documented and gained a tremendous amount of knowledge over 70 years of building trailers that have been able to accommodate every use that the mover has needed. So safe trailering is our way of being able to share that knowledge.”

To grasp the full breadth of safe trailering, or merely get some tips to complement your next towing experience, stop by U-Haul Company’s large display on the Fan Midway at Phoenix International Raceway during the November race week when NASCAR visits for the semifinal race of The Chase for the Sprint Cup.

U-Haul signed on as the Official Trailer and Propane of PIR for the fall event and will be spreading the word on safe trailering and propane use at the display as well as throughout the campground. Propane will be distributed on site at a special discounted rate from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. every day from Nov. 9-16.

The on-site setup will consist of interactive fan displays, a product line of enclosed and open U-Haul trailers, a U-Haul auto transport that is currently configured to haul up to a three-quarter-ton truck, U-Haul pickups and vans towing motorcycles behind them, a new U-Haul 26-foot truck (jumbo hauler) and much more.

“We’re showing some of these capabilities that perhaps people don’t think of when they think of U-Haul equipment,” Hutchinson said.

“One of the more fun things we’ll have out there is a scale model of what we call our rolling road, so it’s essentially a treadmill base with a one-tenth scaled vehicle. It will show a physical representation of a trailer … with a movable weight that simulates a center of gravity. So as that weight is moved forward on the trailer, you see what a stable combination you have going down the road. As that weight is moved back and the treadmill speed is increased or decreased, you see the subsequent change in the dynamics where the trailer becomes more susceptible to sway.”

Some U-Haul Team Members, who will be wearing easily identifiable orange shirts, will cruise the campgrounds on a U-Haul golf cart to hand out safe trailering information and be able to see people’s equipment if they have questions. The goal of the PIR partnership is to help fans look at their own equipment intelligently and be able to hook up their truck and trailer to reach their destination safely.

Among the bullet points U-Haul will be touching on are:

* How to read the door sticker on vehicles to know what towing capacities are appropriate.

* How to know the capacity of hitches and ball mounts.

* How to inspect the coupler of the trailer to know if it’s in good working order and is the appropriate size for the load that is being towed.

* How to inspect the tires, brakes, lights and other checklist items before getting on the highway.

Hutchinson said that U-Haul hopes to offer a friendly educational experience to not only the experienced towers in the campground, but fans who are just attending the race and have never towed anything.

“We have a really simple handout, a laminated card, that can be kept in the glove box or center console,” Hutchinson said. “If you have a son or daughter going off to college and they’re going to tow a U-Haul trailer for the first time, then here are seven things to inspect.

“If you get an experienced driver with a truck and a trailer, there are really good specific questions that will come out of those people. Weight-distributing hitches seem to be a common topic. Tongue weight is always a point of contention … our experience is very specific – we like tongue weight to be 10 to 15 percent of the total trailer weight. Fifth wheels are totally different dynamically, and we’ll have experts that can speak to some of those topics. I can kind of geek out about some of those things, so that will be fun.”

Click here to read about U-Haul Company’s partnership with Phoenix International Raceway for the NASCAR semifinal Chase race in the Valley. We look forward to seeing you at the track!

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