Towing Mirrors are NOT optional
I know how it goes. You’ve got your new trailer, you’ve signed on the dotted line (which is never dotted, by the way), and you can’t wait to get your new baby off the lot and to the nearest state park.
“Just a couple more things,” says your salesman, a kindly, soft-spoken gentleman sporting just a hint of Old Spice. “You’ll need a brake controller, a hitch, and mirrors to be legal. Bobby over in parts can help you out.”
Now, before you befriend Bobby, let me suggest you come down off your new trailer euphoria and do a little research. RV dealers are great people, but their accessories are limited to what they happen to carry. Some carry a wide range, some keep it to one or two popular name brands.
I’ll skip over the brake controller and trailer hitch for this post, but put those on your “hit list” of things to check out before you take delivery. Believe me, if you have to delay the delivery of your new trailer by a few days to get it right, you’ll be eternally grateful down the road. It’s a hard lesson many have had to learn.
Towing mirrors are often the accessory that gets the least thought. “They’re just mirrors!” you say, already picturing the underside of your awning just before you drift off to Napville.
But they’re not just mirrors. And they’re not just a good idea. They’re the law. In fact, if you check the laws in 50 different states, you’ll find that they all have little variations. Be sure to check your own state laws before buying your trailer or next set of mirrors. There are websites with the regs for all 50 states and Canadian provinces listed, but it’s best to check directly with your own department of motor vehicles. Often, the “one stop” information on the web is outdated.
A good rule of thumb is: If you can see a car that’s 100′ (about 6 car lengths) directly behind your trailer, you’re in good shape. But also make sure your mirrors are stable, meaning they don’t vibrate at highway speeds. If you’ve ever watched headlights doing the jitterbug in your towing mirrors, you know what I’m saying. There will be an Excedrin in your near future (that was not a shameless product placement–I’ll let you know).
Hensley Mfg. produces the top portable mirrors available. They extend out to 20″, covering any state or province regulations, and are virtually vibration free. They attach to any vehicle (with the exception of those with the very thick cladding at the bottom of the door, like the older Avalanche trucks). They come with a 30-day money back guarantee and optional convex mirrors. Get those to watch for the cars sneaking up on your blind spot.
McKesh Mirrors are available at www.safetowingstore.com or by calling 1-800-410-6580. Now back to that nap…