Americans eager to resume vacation travel are hitting the road this summer, thanks to a confluence of conditions that are upending the travel industry. Picking up the slack is the recreational vehicle industry: Campgrounds and national and state parks are all reporting big crowds as RV and camper sales and rentals go through the roof. But driving a big RV or towing a trailer can be a daunting task for the uninitiated, and can even cause experienced drivers some sleepless nights. And for good reason: It can be stressful to pilot not only your own vehicle full of family, friends and gear, but also to tow something just as heavy behind you.
I had a moment recently during a weeklong towing adventure that everyone who tows a trailer dreads: a semitractor-trailer tire exploded in front of me, sending huge debris into my lane and forcing me into a split second decision — do I swerve to avoid it, or grit my teeth and run it over?
My tow vehicle was our long-term test truck and Best of 2021 winner, the 2021 Ford F-150 Supercrew Limited hybrid — the latest and greatest luxo truck from Ford and the first F-150 to feature a full hybrid powertrain. The camper was a rented 2021 Airstream Flying Cloud 25FB, and the combined value of this rig was approaching $200,000 (Airstreams ain’t cheap, and neither is our F-150 Limited), so one wants to be as careful and cautious as possible when using it. We want to avoid damage and abuse, but as fate sometimes throws you a curveball, that’s not always possible.