I’m quite sure that the way to John’s heart was my ability to back a boat trailer. Not long after we started dating, John asked me to drive the trailer to his Hobie cat to the boat ramp at Johnson’s Beach so he could take the boat out of the water. I’d never driven a vehicle with a trailer but jumped in his Toyota pickup truck without any hesitation. However, panic set in when I passed the road to the boat ramp. When I arrived at the ramp a few minutes later I felt like I deserved a gold star for this major accomplishment. Of course, I acted as if it were no big deal.
I’m so glad I paid attention in driver’s ed the day Coach Morris spent on driving with a trailer and backing. I remember wondering why he was spending so much time teaching something I’d never use. His advice:
- Get the trailer straight behind the vehicle before you start backing.
- Put your right arm on the seat and look out the back window to guide your movement.
- Remember that when looking out the back window, you will turn the steering wheel the opposite direction you want the trailer to move.
- Finally, if you’re backing in a crazy S pattern, stop. Pull forward. Get the trailer lined up behind the vehicle and start over.
Despite the fact we never practiced pulling a trailer in class, I somehow internalized the directions. I’m not fast backing down the boat ramp, but I believe slow and steady not only wins the race but backs the trailer successfully.
Over the years John has depended on my trailer driving and backing skills…a great form of marriage insurance!