By in Manoeuvres

Reversing with a Trailer in 6 Easy Steps


Before reversing with a trailer, get out of the vehicle and check that the area to the rear is clear from obstructions before making the manoeuvre. Look out for children and pedestrians. If possible, we always advise that you get someone to watch while the reversing manoeuvre is made.

WARNING!! Never reverse a trailer without checking behind because of the huge blind spot. Ideally, have someone see you back, especially in crowded places.

#1 Start with the outfit as straight as possible and about a trailer’s length from the place into which you are reversing. You need plenty of room to swing the towcar round.

#2 Watching the trailer out of the driver’s window, reverse slowly and start turning the steering to the right. It is easier to add more steering than to correct too much.

#3 As soon as the trailer starts to turn, you begin straightening up whilst still reversing. If you leave it too late, the trailer will ‘jack-knife’. (This means that it gets to such an acute angle to the towcar that it can no longer be manoeuvred in reverse. This condition can damage towcars with long rear overhangs).

#4 Eventually you start steering the other way, while still reversing, to bring the towcar’s nose round so that the car “follows” the trailer – but keep an eye on where the trailer is going in case it needs correction

#5 Reverse in a straight line using the door mirrors. Reverse slowly and carefully. When more of the trailer starts to appear in one mirror, steer towards that mirror to start the trailer going the other way. Such corrections only require small steering movements.

#6 Do not get your mind stuck in reverse! If the trailer goes out of line, it may be easier to pull forward to correct it. On tight turns or if it jack-knifes, to pull forward is your only option.

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Hayley Reeve

Hayley is the editor of a popular motoring blog and a massive petrol head. She has been driving for 20 years and writes regular content for a range of commercial automotive websites.