How to Turn a Fifth Wheel

This design can pose a challenge; the hitch point in the fifth wheel causes the rig to track to the inside of the turn. For instance, if you are turning right, the fifth wheel will track into a right turn that is much tighter than the tow vehicle. This could cause you to hit something on the right side if you don't take extra precautions.

To remedy the potential problems with turning a fifth wheel, you should make sure you are making much wider turns than you would in an ordinary vehicle, and all turns require advanced planning, constant use of the mirror and patience. While a fifth wheel is quite convenient, you can't exactly turn it on a dime.

The secret to turning a fifth wheel trailer is to drive "deep," which means you should drive past the lane where you want to turn. You should wait until you can't see your lane anymore if you are peering out the side window. By doing this, you are letting the rear axle travel farther than with other vehicles. If you give yourself this kind of length, you won't end up cutting off another vehicle in the lane you are turning into. The turn itself with a fifth wheel can be quite smooth, because there is no hindrance between the trailer and the tractor.

As with any other worthwhile activity, driving, parking and turning a fifth wheel trailer requires homework, patience and practice. Head off to the local high school parking lot on a Sunday and set up an obstacle course with orange cones. Once you practice all of the basic maneuvers involved in operating a fifth wheel trailer, you will no longer feel uncomfortable behind the wheel of your new vehicle. Remember when behind the wheel, you are in control and can be the king of the road.