Speed limit when pulling trailer

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by ivaldespino, Dec 1, 2007.

  1. ivaldespino

    ivaldespino New Member

    What is a safe speed on the highway when pulling your trailer. I have a 26ft travel trailer and I just took a trip from Colorado to Texas. I was doing about 65 to 70 mph with no problem. It didn't seam that I was going that fast but was I being unsafe?

    Thanks for your inputs!
  2. Grandview Trailer Sa

    Grandview Trailer Sa Senior Member

    Re: Speed limit when pulling trailer

    My wife says I always drive too fast, but I do believe in going with the traffic the best you can. The type of road and road conditions also determine my speed.

    It also depends on what you are towing and towing with. If you have a safe tow vehicle hooked up correctly to your trailer, you can drive faster than if you are under powered or overloaded.

    If you are driving slower than others, sometimes you can be a hazard. On Thanksgiving morning I was driving to my Mother-in-Laws, on a 4 lane road, and there was someone in the left lane driving 20 miles slower than others. A state trooper got behind them and stopped them. Probably told them to speed up or at least get in the right lane. It was a real bottleneck for a few minutes. No one wanted to pass the trooper and slow car using the right lane. Finally we did and that is when the trooper turned his lights on.
  3. ivaldespino

    ivaldespino New Member

    Re: Speed limit when pulling trailer

    There is really no danger going 65-70 mph is there? What do manufactures recommend speed pulling should be? I guess what I'm getting at is ther any danger that I can loose control of my truck and trailer? I do have my weight distributions bars on and a sway control arm and I am pulling with a Ford F-250 diesel. What do you think? :)
  4. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: Speed limit when pulling trailer

    I travel at 65 mph in 6th gear on the Interstate with a 31 ft 5th wheel. On smaller highways I keep it at 55/60 mph in 5th gear. My 5er tows great, but stopping is what worries me. It certainly won't stop on a dime.
  5. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Re: Speed limit when pulling trailer

    I think you shouldn't go any faster than you can stop.

    That means there isn't a "recommended" speed, because it would change all the time.

    Don't travel faster than you can stop.

    That takes into account road conditions, type of vehicle, condition of vehicle, condition of driver, weight of vehicle, traffic conditions, and so on.

    If you can't stop it don't drive it.

    It isn't speed that kills; it's all of these things happening at some particular moment.

    You can't prepare for everything, but you can do everything to prepare.
  6. Grandview Trailer Sa

    Grandview Trailer Sa Senior Member

    Re: Speed limit when pulling trailer

    There is always a danger in losing control. You can do that without a trailer, but a 3/4 ton truck and a 26' trailer is a pretty safe match, especially since you have weight and sway bars.

    To my knowledge, the manufactures do not tell you how fast to tow. It is not up to them.

    ARCHER Senior Member

    Re: Speed limit when pulling trailer

    I just try and use common sense when towing. I try to stay out of eveyones way if at all possible. I can normally drive the speed limit or within 5MPH.
  8. SnowbirdInFlight

    SnowbirdInFlight Senior Member

    Re: Speed limit when pulling trailer

    Our top speed is 50 mph. We're retired and in no hurry. We have no appointments to get anywhere fast. It saves a ton of expensive fuel. If we are on a four lane people just pass us by, if we're on a two lane where the speed limit is 55, we pull over and let the cars pass if the traffic gets backed up behind us. It's so much more relaxing and much easier to stop in a hurry! We can stop and smell the roses when needed! ;)

  9. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Re: Speed limit when pulling trailer

    As fulltimers we normally travel at 58 mph because that seems to be the speed at which our motorhome gets it's best fuel mileage. The higher speeds do cost you extra by way of fuel consumption. Many years ago an RV service tech told me that I should figure that for each 5mph over the vehicle's optimal speed it will decrease the mpg by 10%. I have found that to be a pretty good guide.

    As to the safety, very clearly as our speed increases our ability to stop decreases so one must keep that in mind. When you choose your speed of travel, consider if you would be able to stop in time should a small child dart into the street or road ahead of you? Also, ask yourself is you can keep the rig streight in a total panic stop? Remember that there is no ABS on the trailer behind you. I choose my speed of travel also with in mind that I am now past 60 and so my reactions are not as good as they once were. I drove a great deal in my profession and I had a much better than average driving record. But I was younger at that time and I don't seem to be getting better in such areas any longer.

    No one can tell you what your speed should be, other than the state laws that limit it, but you should always consider the worst case.
  10. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Re: Speed limit when pulling trailer

    With my 24.5' fifth wheel and 3/4 HD pickup, I used to travel at whatever the speed limit was, often 75MPH. I didn't have any problems with that, but after I slowed to 55MPH for gas mileage (25% improvement), I found that it was much more relaxing and I almost never needed to slow down for the ever more common 'reduced speed zone'. "Eliminated all stress for me" I say "But I can't speak for the people behind me" :)

    Note that in the motorhome, I'm limited to 65MPH because that is all the tires are rated for.
  11. ivaldespino

    ivaldespino New Member

    Re: Speed limit when pulling trailer

    Great inputs!! ;) I just wanted to make sure that I was not putting my Family and I in any danger. I am a cautious driver especially when pulling my trailer. The one thing I did notice on some of the inputs was the consumption on gas! I did see a difference on gas when pulling at 70 mph. It sure did suck it up!! :( but at 60 or lower, it did better. Thanks to all of you and your inputs. Happy safe towing and Happy Holidays!!!!!!
  12. *scooter*

    *scooter* Senior Member

    Re: Speed limit when pulling trailer

    Well a little comment about here in Cal. Towing a trailer, the max speed law is 55 mph. Not to say that is what happens. Its obvious with increase speed comes reduced reaction time and increased stopping distance. Now, the law also says that going too slow is unlawful. If you have 5 vehicles behind you and your speed is 'too slow' for conditions, you might also get to sign on the "dotted line". Kinda like they got you coming and going :eek:
  13. JamieB

    JamieB New Member

    RE: Speed limit when pulling trailer

    For legal reasons, Ford, Chevy, Dodge, etc. will never tell you how fast you can go when towing. If they said 55 mph, and someone wrecked at 45 mph you know that they would have a lawsuit on their hands. That being said, tires are speed rated and temperature rated and weight rated. Obviously, you would want to keep those things in mind. But as the other posts said, braking is probably the single biggest determination of what is okay and what is too fast. And you must keep in account other drivers. We have probably all seen someone pull right out in front of a 70,000 pound 18-wheeler. A lot of people just don't use common sense.

    As someone who regularly pulls between 12,000 and 15,000 lbs. here is what I think helps determine safety.

    1. Make sure your vehicle is properly equiped with tow equipment, brake controllers, etc.
    2. Make sure your tires are in good condition and properly inflated. Poorly inflated tires get hot really quick with a load.
    3. Don't drive too slow (dangerous) or too fast (posted speed limit).
    4. Make sure you allow for the people more concerned with their phone call than the deadly weapon they are driving.
    5. Don't drive faster than the wife thinks is safe. She's always right. Always.

    And by the way. As a fellow driver, thanks for being concerned about your family and mine while driving.

    Happy RV'ing.

    Jamie Billingsley
    Satellite Internet Solutions
  14. BarneyS

    BarneyS Senior Member

    Re: Speed limit when pulling trailer

    If you have ST tires on your trailer (which you probably do), they are speed limited to 65MPH at the maximum pressure/weight as listed on the sidewall.
  15. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Re: Speed limit when pulling trailer

    Sure hope some that have been passing me don't have the ST Barney. Recond that's the reason so many have blow outs :eek:
  16. BarneyS

    BarneyS Senior Member

    Re: Speed limit when pulling trailer

    Hi Chelse,
    I don't know about that being the reason for blowouts. Probably overloading is the main reason. Most trailers come stock with ST tires except some of the bigger 5th wheels will have LT tires on them. Many folks do not realize that ST trailer tires are supposed to be limited to 65MPH under normal conditions. Here is what Goodyear has to say about it. http://www.goodyear.com/rv/pdf/rvbrochure.pdf
    The following is a quote from the Goodyear website that pertains to ST trailer tire speed limits. If you would like to see the complete document, click on the link I posted above. The following quote came from page 9 of the 23 page PDF.

    Industry standards dictate that tires with the ST (Special Trailer) designation are speed restricted to 65 mph under
    normal inflation and load conditions, unless a different speed restriction is indicated on the sidewall of the tire.
    Based on industry standards, if tires with the ST designation are used at speeds between 66 and 75 mph, it is
    necessary to increase the cold inflation pressures by 10 psi above the recommended pressure for the load.
    • Do not exceed the maximum pressure for the wheel.
    • If the maximum pressure for the wheel prohibits the increase of air pressure, then the maximum speed must be
    restricted to 65 mph.
    • The cold inflation pressure must not exceed 10 psi beyond the inflation specified for the maximum load of the tire."

  17. Poppa

    Poppa Member

    Re: Speed limit when pulling trailer

    I travel pulling a 31 foot 5 th wheel behind a 96 6.5 diesel runnung about 65 mph on cruise control which is at my optimum power and the most economical.

    Camper weighs in at 12,800 loaded so I make sure I have plenty room between me and the guy in front.

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