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Winter driving is often challenging, especially when towing a trailer in the snow and ice. Before setting out on a winter adventure with a trailer, it’s essential to keep certain precautions and practices in mind. Here’s a list of some of the most critical tips, including recommendations from The Engine Block, to help keep you safe on the road during the harshest winter months. 

1. Check tire pressure before you set out

A person towing during winter.
towing during winter | Josh Lawton via Getty Images

Cold winter temperatures can decrease your tire pressure by causing the air in your tires to condense. Low tire pressure can affect your vehicle’s handling, so it’s essential to ensure everything is in order before you set out with a trailer behind you. 

2. Proper snow tires are a must

Winter tires are designed to get you where you’re going, even when winter conditions are rough. Without them, you could easily get stranded or slide off the road. Such situations become even more difficult and dangerous when pulling something as large as a trailer, so prepare accordingly. 

3. Get the weight under control

It’s important to pay attention to your weight distribution when towing in winter weather. Disproportionate weight distribution can make it extremely difficult to control a trailer on slippery roads or in icy conditions. 

4. Be prepared mentally in case you get stuck

One of the most important things you can do before setting out on a winter journey, whether you’re towing something or not, is to prepare for the unexpected. Do you have the supplies you would need if you got stuck? Make sure to have a winter survival kit on hand that includes extra warm clothing, candles, water, and food. A first aid kit, tire chains, and flares are also important. 

5. Plan ahead to avoid major snow storms you don’t feel confident driving in and know your route

Weather reports are your friend. Before setting out, look at what meteorologists expect for the areas you’ll be passing through. Remember that weather forecasts can change, so keep an eye on them throughout your time on the road.

6. Do not use cruise control

Cruise control on hazardous roads is a bad idea. If your cruise control suddenly tells your truck to speed up or slow down, it could unintentionally send you into a spin on a slippery road. It’s better to control your speed yourself so that you can consider current conditions. 

7. Go low and slow

The idea here is simple: take your time. When towing something under challenging conditions, the goal is to get to your destination safely, not quickly. 

8. Practice safe distances and smart passing

When you’re towing a trailer, your goal isn’t to go as fast as possible. That’s why you shouldn’t travel in the left lane, especially in snowy or icy conditions. Stick to the right, and get to your destination safe and sound. 

9. Climbing

Before you head into the mountains, double check your vehicle’s towing capacity. Make sure you have the power to make it where you’re going. The last thing you want to do is get stuck on an incline. 

10. Be realistic

You may have all the bells and whistles on your utility vehicle, but don’t let them make you overconfident. It’s always better to be on the side of caution when it comes to winter driving.