Please check that you've safely hitched before venturing out . . . .

Discussion in 'Tow Vehicles, Hitch & Towing' started by smellott, May 24, 2013.

  1. smellott

    smellott Livin' in NH but a WV Mountaineer for life

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    I just saw the following story done by KARE-TV in Minneapolis, MN on what can happen when a trailer is not properly hitched. They staged, on a close road course, a trailer that becomes detached from a vehicle going 50mph with and without safety chains . . . . watch it and think about it the next time you hitch your pup up.

    http://www.mediabistro.com/tvspy/kare-stages-trailer-crash-for-report-on-towing-safety_b91591

    NHeer
     
  2. ridenred333

    ridenred333 New Member

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    Thanks for sharing,

    I have noticed that not only are the chains important but people putting a pin or a lock thru the latch the attaches the ball to the trailer. [}:)] I see people all the time do that, I though it was a law.
     
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  3. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

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    I always put a safety pin on my coupler. It looks like THIS. In addition to properly crossed safety chains, a functioning emergency breakaway system is also important for highway safety.
     
  4. CalKat

    CalKat Member

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    Thank you for this important reminder. I'm a "belt and suspenders" kind of person, and every reminder about safety counts.
     
  5. RockyRoo

    RockyRoo Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD

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    I made the mistake of allowing a dealer to hook up my first pup when I picked it up. HUGE mistake. They didn't put the clip in the coupler and I didn't notice, till it came off the hitch 10 miles down the road. NOBODY other than me will ever hook up a trailer to my vehicle again. Thank god the chains were attached, although I'm not sure they were crossed. It was ugly.

    Please make sure it is hooked up correctly. Not only do I use a pin, but it has a lock on it so I know it has been put on. If not, then I don't have keys to drive away as the lock key is on the truck key ring and doesn't come off.
     
    Mamie likes this.
  6. mercman

    mercman Go Ahead, Be That Happy Camper!

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    Very informative - Now imagine if they did that with a full size trailer around 5000 lbs
    Thanks for posting
     
  7. dion

    dion Member

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    I may be paranoid, but EVERY time we start, even if we've only been stopped for a minute at a rest area, I at least take a quick peek at the hitch before getting in the driver's seat. I verify that both chains are attached and crossed, that the hitch coupler is down and locked (Like RockyRoo, I use a pin with a key lock on it), and that the electric plug is connected. It only takes a second to do a visual inspection. Thought it's unlikely, you never know if some kid would think it's a funny prank to disconnect a safety chain.

    I also like to walk all the way around the rig, checking that the stabilizer jacks are up and locked, the step is stowed, and looking for anything else that may be out of place. I always do a full walk-around after hitching up, but maybe not at every single restart of the day.

    Also, don't forget to make sure the hitch ball is securely attached to the vehicle. The ball needs to be tightly secured to the ball mount, and the ball mount secures to the receiver with a sturdy pin, which itself may have a cotter pin or lock to keep it in the receiver. Details may vary a bit on your hitch, but the point is, it would embarrasing at least if you carefully made sure the trailer was securely attached to the ball, but then somehow had the ball itself come disconnected from your vehicle.
     
  8. PGcamper

    PGcamper New Member

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    Thanks for sharing, its a good reminder of why those safety measures are soo important to us all
     
  9. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    I always double check the hitch up, no matter who does it... Something that extends from my work,,
     
  10. JamesRL

    JamesRL New Member

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    Once I have the coupler locked down, I usually crank the jack up a bit. If the back of the van rises, I'm good. And yes, I cross my chains.
     
  11. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    Yep real easy to tell this way... have to do this with the WDH anyways, but I have seen more then once where someone did this same thing and guess what ??? the ball fell right out of the coupler ... the trailer (just a small utility trailer) used a 2" ball, and the person had a 1 & 7/8" ball ... Couldn't believe it when the guy reset the hook up and drove away anyways...
     
  12. hotrodcamper

    hotrodcamper Member

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    The safety chains crossed to me is more important as a breakaway switch. Couple of years ago coming home from snowmobiling,my trailer came unhooked from truck. Had pin in coupler and I can always cross safety chains. Good thing too,as trailer tongue was caught on top of chains. If chains hadn't been crossed, tongue would probably have dug into road and flipped or crossed into left lane (happened on interstate!). I was able to pull over and reconnect trailer to truck. Found the hitch wasn't adjusted to fit ball on hitch. There is a bracket under coupler that can be adjusted to ball. I assumed dealer had trailer ready for travel. Never assume dealer has done everything! Always check a new trailer over from top to bottom!
     
  13. Deskpilot

    Deskpilot Member

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    Powerful, Well prepared report on the consequences of towing disaster and the potential impact. As for the photo equipment, it can easily be replaced, and written off as a business expense. Dads and daughters can't EVER be replaced. My only criticism is the relative proximity to the nearby highway. With the unpredictability of the loose trailer, was that roadway too close so as to have put other unsuspecting motorist at risk? Just asking. Hope everyone out there has a SAFE weekend. Capture all the pleasant memories, and remember to pause PRAY for our fallen Veterans on Monday.
    [​IMG]

    America's Fire Fighters
     
    etrailerJohn likes this.
  14. Rodger D.

    Rodger D. New Member

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    Hola All

    Once at I-25 and The Wolfensberger Bridge at Castle Rock-Colo I was to move a Hwy Constuction
    Traffic "Arrow Board". A Flagger that had been doing this function for several years hooked The Arrow
    Board to the back of the vehicle I was driving. When finished the flagger told myself and The Colo
    State Trooper all was OK.

    I nor The Trooper did not Double Check anything and The State Trooper followed me out of "their yard",

    From the parking lot we went West over I-25 and turned South on The Ramp.

    At The base of the ramp The Flagger turned quickly to me and said, " ... *^$%$ the trailer I just put
    on has come off. As The Driver of the vehicle I knew what she was shouting to me because "I knew".

    The Trailer then went to its left and came into contact on The Right Side of The Trailer of an 18 Wheeler.
    This caused it to spin to its right ( like an top ). The State Trooper who was following me "from the
    yard" thought this wildly spinning trailer was going to be part of His Patrol Car.

    The State Car had no injury. The cost of The 18 Wheeler Trailer Repair was about $47. Some new
    Orange Paint was applied to The Trailer and I was given a $19 Ticket because I was The At Fault Driver.

    This was very very good lesson for me.

    When I watched this video it was a self feeling that I felt during the watching that was some thing
    of re-harrow. No longer can one get me to move anything 10 feet with out me "doing my thing".



    Rodger & Gabby
     
  15. Wakita46

    Wakita46 Active Member

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    Thank you. That is a great reminder.
     
  16. Pop up Pooley

    Pop up Pooley New Member

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    I learned it the hard way! Fortunately I was going slow enough to pull over and nothing was severely damaged.
    Triple check that connection before you leave!
     
  17. bburgcamper

    bburgcamper 16 weekends a year camping just isn't enough.

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    I had a police officer suggest using a clipping cotter pin lock but not a key lock. His thought is in case of emergency the trailer may need to be disconnected and without keys, it could be an issue. The clip provides the same security without the potential downside.

    On a side note, I have a 4 place kayak trailer. One of my tandem boats came off last weekend while someone else was pulling the trailer. I was pulling the Boy Scout trailer and they were pulling the kayaks. When they told me they lost a boat, my heart stopped. Fortunately, it hit the asphalt and went straight into the grass. It could have gone very bad. I did not double check the kayak tie downs as I was loading Scout gear. I will always double check the tie downs in the future for everyone's safety.
     
  18. Big_kid

    Big_kid Virginia Beach, VA

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    ALWAYS double check everything. I made it over to my MIL's house (.9 miles)with the tongue on top of the ball and didn't know it until we stepped on the trailer aft of the axle.
     
  19. heckufaguy

    heckufaguy New Member

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    My coupler is different on the TT, it just has a latch that's spring loaded and fits against the ball (Vs. the old flip style) so no pin/lock etc. (Brand new TT).

    I was driving down a 2 lane one day for work, had a new guy with me. As I'm watching on coming traffic I notice some idiot with a trailer attempting to pass on the shoulder. It was at that moment I realized the trailer was passing all on it's own, detached from it's tow vehicle. It was a horse trailer loaded with pigs going to market. (6 of them). The tongue caught, causing the trailer to flip and fly in the air. I managed to pull off to my right shoulder into about 10 inches of fresh snow, as the trailer came smashing down in the middle of the road right in front of us, only to be hit by the car behind it.

    I was always taught to look 'down the road' when driving, so glad I did!
     
  20. BigBaron

    BigBaron Dreaming of Tommy's chili cheeseburgers...

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    You're not paranoid, you're smart. I also look at the ENTIRE trailer, especially the tires. A flat on a trailer is almost as fun as it coming unhitched. I now use a padlock on the tongue so no one can undo it. The clip on the chain in the photo is just holding the extra chain up off the ground-I didn't want to shorten the original chain.
    [​IMG]


    Also those standard C clips can come undone if twisted hard enough,
    [SIZE=78%]
    so I use threaded quick links to connect the chains to the TV. It makes hooking up/ unhooking the trailer really fast and easy, too!
    [​IMG]




    My friend's fueler flatbottom drag boat came unhitched and passed him on the freeway! Fortunately nothing happened because he had left the jack wheel on, and it was a pneumatic tire with bearings.[/SIZE]
     

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