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Unfortunately, hauling a boat to your favorite fishing spot can be stressful. Many towing issues can turn your voyage into a hassle. What could possibly go wrong? Unfortunately, the answer is a lot.

“Improper towing can lead to tipping, unattached cargo and cause serious damage to suspension and braking systems as well as strain to your engine and transmission,” reports Great Florida Insurance. Here are four common towing mistakes you may experience.

1. Disconnected brake lights

One of the biggest dangers of towing something large involves not having visible brake lights or turn signals. This is why the boat trailer comes with them, essentially eliminating this danger. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy for a bulb to burn out, sometimes while you’re towing.

Great Florida Insurance recommends testing your brake lights before you begin your journey. Make sure the wires are taut and not dragging on the ground. AAA reports that most states require all towed vehicles to have at least one red tail light, so make sure your lights are functioning properly.

This may seem like common sense, but if the wires pull loose while you’re driving, you won’t know it. Keep an extra bulb in your truck, so you can switch out a broken bulb and be on your way.

2. Wrong ball hitch

Boat U.S. states, “Few things are more disconcerting for those new to boat towing than when the loaded trailer sways after a semi blows past, when the hitch hits ground when you’re driving across raised railroad tracks, or when the back of the trailer scrapes as you pull into a gas station.”

Make sure the boat is level. If it’s not, then you need to adjust the height of your ball hitch. If you can’t, then you may need to look at getting another ball hitch. 

3. Forgetting what you’re towing

Distractions will happen. While you may want to pull your hair out, keep in mind that you’re pulling a large object behind you that affects every move you make. Go Boating Florida recommends that drivers be more conscious of cars around you, especially when backing up or making tight turns. Take your time.

4. Failing to secure gear

Make sure your gear, like tackle boxes and life jackets, are tied down. In your hurry to get on the water, you may have forgotten to do this. According to Go Boating Florida, you need to make sure that nothing can fly out of your boat while you’re driving down the highway. It should either be placed in your truck or tied down.