How do you back a 90-degree trailer?

In today’s article, we will answer the following question: How do you back a 90-degree trailer? We will explain how to safely park and reverse a trailer. We will also give you a few tips that will make trailer reversing easier every time. 

How do you back a 90-degree trailer?

You should not back a trailer at a 90-degree angle until you can do so comfortably forward. Backing up is always more difficult as you will have to see behind the trailer while using the pedals and the steering wheel in front of you. 

When you’re comfortable with front and back perpendicular parking, which one you’ll use most often will be a matter of personal choice. Both have their advantages, although many experts recommend backing into a 90-degree space as you won’t have to back into moving traffic.

To practice backing up a trailer at 90 degrees, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a parking space on the right.
  2. Communicate your intention to turn into the parking space using your turn signals or hand signals.
  3. Drive forward and slightly past your parking space, until the side mirror lines up with the first line of the next space.
  4. Check for oncoming traffic and use your mirrors to make sure there are no vehicles approaching from behind.
  5. Turn the steering wheel firmly to the left and continue driving until your trailer is at a 45-degree angle to the parking space. The left corner of the vehicle on the right and the right corner of the vehicle on the left must be visible in the side mirrors.
  6. Stop and put your vehicle in “reverse.” Check around the vehicle for pedestrians and obstacles before backing into the parking space.
  7. Keep your wheels straight and back slowly.
  8. When the rear of your vehicle is almost in the centre of the space, turn the steering wheel firmly to the right to straighten the trailer.
  9. Keep backing up until the trailer is completely inside the parking space. Be careful not to get too close to obstacles in the back, such as walls or other vehicles.

How to back up a trailer the easy way

When we go camping, the most comfortable way to travel is with a trailer towed with a car, right? But it must be said that backing up with a trailer can sometimes be a bit tricky and stressful. However, going with the car and the trailer back is simple, and more if you have a little practice. The process is easy as long as you have understood the concept of what you are going to do at all times.

To make it clear to you how to reverse with a trailer in this section we tell you the best tricks to back up with the trailer.

Preparing to reverse with the trailer

  • Build a strategy: first, you must develop a strategy to understand all the steps you are going to take with your trailer car. You must bear in mind that reversing the trailer requires prior movements of the vehicle being towed to move the latter in the desired direction. 

So keep in mind the direction of your trailer, the direction of the towing vehicle, all objects that are nearby, and the relative movement between all objects that will be involved when backing up.

  • Practice: practice reversing a few times in an empty space such as a parking lot without parked cars. Try to learn with a trailer that is long and then do it with one that is smaller. You want to make sure you do it calmly while you are learning so you don’t lose your temper. Short trailers are more manoeuvrable and respond more quickly to long ones. Meanwhile, the lengths better cope with mistakes.
  • Have two more eyes with you: having a person behind the trailer who sees what you can’t see can be a very good option. It is also possible to invest in a set of two short-range radios and two channels to facilitate communication and avoid yelling. Then the observer must remember that he has an obligation to look up. 

It is very easy to be on the lookout for obstacles on the ground and forget about the top (there may be tree branches or cables to watch out for).

  • Adjust the mirrors: a key aspect so that you can see behind you, because you are going to reverse with a large trailer attached to the vehicle and your eyes are going to be your mirrors. So make sure they are adjusted correctly so you can clearly see the rear of the trailer.
  • Position yourself so that you are backing up to the driver’s side of the vehicle – this way you can see much better the trailer and the spot in the driver’s side mirrors and also look back over your shoulder to see the rear of the trailer. 

Do not get on your nerves and consider everything you need, even if you think you should take a walk around the esplanade to get closer to the point on your left side, we recommend that you do so.

  • Place your hand on the steering wheel and turn your body and head to look behind: place your right hand on the underside of the steering wheel. This way, when you’re ready to move, all you have to do is turn your hand in the direction you want and move the rear of the trailer. By incorporating your hand into this position, you avoid turning the wheels in the wrong direction while reversing.

Driving in reverse with a trailer

Once we have prepared the manoeuvre that we are going to do with the trailer, we are going to take action:

  • Turn the steering wheel to the right to make the trailer go to the left – it works in the opposite way, so you should look behind you to help you get the feeling of backing up by steering the trailer. If you need to turn the trailer around the corner, you should steer the trailer toward it. Then you will need to steer slightly in the opposite direction to maintain the turning angle.
  • Back towards the driver’s side: you should be clear about backing towards the driver’s side and not towards the passenger side because it is more difficult to see it.
  • Advance as you approach the space and turn right towards the centre of the street if you go with the steering wheel on the left: turn the vehicle exaggeratedly to the left, so that you are positioned at an angle. You will then need to stay less than 180 degrees to the left side in case you are backing around a bend to the left.
  • Put your hands on the underside of the steering wheel: You must move the steering wheel as you go in reverse so that the trailer continues to move in the correct direction. Have no problem getting out of your vehicle and checking that everything works fine. The important thing is that you make sure that the vehicle and the trailer do not make a scissor movement, so do not make any turns that are too pronounced.
  • Back up and forward as many times as necessary: ​​Sometimes the hardest part of the process is having a lot of people watching you. Isn’t it hard to bear the pressure? Try to make sure that they are not there, do not get nervous and think that the result depends on you, not on them. Concentrate.

Final tips

When backing up a trailer at a 90-degree angle, our advice is not to turn the steering wheel sharply in either direction. Go slowly and if you come across something unforeseen, stop the vehicle and try to understand what is happening before making a decision.

If you see the trailer and vehicle begin to “scissor” (turn at a sharp angle and end up in a collision), stop your vehicle immediately. Go forward and try again.

Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or comments on the content!

FAQ on How do you back a 90-degree trailer?

How to back up a 5th wheel trailer?

To back up the 5th wheel safely begin by familiarizing yourself with the trailer. Don’t wait for a real situation: instead look for a large, flat area where you can sit quietly to practice – without an audience! – until you are able to “feel” where you are going. Try not to overthink it but just take action.

How do you know where to turn the steering wheel when reversing?

If you go in reverse and you want the vehicle to go to the right, you turn everything to the right, and to the left the same, where you want the rear wheels to go. If you go forward anyway, you put first gear and turn the steering wheel to where you want the front wheels to turn.

How do you park a trailer?

To park a trailer, straighten the steering wheel, while slowly driving forward until the tractor-trailer turns straight again. Turn the steering wheel to the right while driving forward until the truck and its trailer are in the parking area and lined up with the curb.

How to turn right with a trailer?

The correct way to turn right with a trailer is:

  1. Drive close to the right edge of the road. …
  2. If there is a bike lane on the side of the road, you should enter no more than 200 feet (about ½ football field) from the curve.
  3. Use your turn signal for at least 100 feet before the turn.


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