Pulling Double/Triple Trailers

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Take special care when pulling two and three trailers. There are more things that can go wrong, and doubles/triples are less stable than other commercial vehicles. Some areas of concern are discussed below.

7.1.1 – Prevent Trailer from
Rolling Over

To prevent trailers from rolling over, you must steer gently and go slowly around corners, on ramps, off ramps, and curves. A safe speed on a curve for a straight truck or a single trailer combination vehicle may be too fast for a set of doubles or triples.

7.1.2 – Beware of the
Crack-the-whip Effect

Doubles and triples are more likely to turn over than other combination vehicles because of the “crack-the-whip” effect. You must steer gently when pulling trailers. The last trailer in a combination is most likely to turn over. If you don’t understand the crack-the-whip effect, study subsection 6.1.2 of this manual.

7.1.3 – Inspect Completely

There are more critical parts to check when you have two or three trailers. Check them all. Follow the procedures described later in this section.

7.1.4 – Look Far Ahead

Doubles and triples must be driven very smoothly to avoid rollover or jackknife. Therefore, look far ahead so you can slow down or change lanes gradually when necessary.

7.1.5 – Manage Space

Doubles and triples take up more space than other commercial vehicles. They are not only longer, but also need more space because they can’t be turned or stopped suddenly. Allow more following distance. Make sure you have large enough gaps before entering or crossing traffic. Be certain you are clear at the sides before changing lanes.

7.1.6 – Adverse Conditions

Be more careful in adverse conditions. In bad weather, slippery conditions, and mountain driving, you must be especially careful if you drive double and triple bottoms. You will have greater length and more dead axles to pull with your drive axles than other drivers. There is more chance for skids and loss of traction.

7.1.7 – Parking the Vehicle

Make sure you do not get in a spot you cannot pull straight through. You need to be aware of how parking lots are arranged in order to avoid a long and difficult escape.

7.1.8 – Antilock Braking Systems on Converter Dollies

Converter dollies built on or after March 1, 1998, are required to have antilock brakes. These dollies will have a yellow lamp on the left side of the dolly.