How to Back a Gooseneck Trailer


The ball and coupling setup on a gooseneck, or fifth-wheel trailer, means there is a lot of stability and no swaying back and forth when hitched to a truck. While this is good news for many who use trailers to haul heavy cargo, their joy should be tempered by the fact that the turning radius of gooseneck trailers is tighter than that of traditional trailers. This takes some getting used to in order to avoid sideswiping objects or running over curbs. The task of backing up a gooseneck trailer, however, is easier than with other trailers because there is so much stability and no swaying to speak of. Unlike other trailers, the back end of the gooseneck will turn to the same side you are turning the steering wheel. Nevertheless, drivers should drive slow and use caution when backing up such a large and long piece of equipment.

  • Turn on the ignition to start the car.

  • Position your rear and side mirrors to ensure maximum viewing.

  • Open your window so you can pop your head out to see down the length of your trailer.

  • Press the gas pedal slightly since you do not want your truck to go more than 5 miles per hour while backing up.

  • Turn your steering wheel in the direction you want to turn when backing up. The trailer will follow the direction of the truck.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider purchasing a larger mirror to help you see more of your trailer as you are backing up. This will help eliminate potential blind spots and help you see any obstacles in your path.
  • Jack knifing is a beneficial skill to avoid having to back down long stretches of road with a trailer. Rather than backing up, jack knifing allows you to position the trailer such that you can unhook and drive around to the other side of the hitch. Then back in, hook up and you are ready to roll. Getting into to full jack knife position is not possible with a gooseneck trailer without special attachments to provide additional clearance.

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