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

Jimvw57

Member
Jul 12, 2014
17
Happened to me only once... pulling a loaded snowmobile trailer, I made it about 20 miles before I stopped for a soda and checked the hitch. it was unlatched and the chains were still wrapped around the tongue. My son had put the trailer on and told me it was ready to go. Needless to say, he got a lesson on how it is supposed to be put on and I got a mental kick in the a$$ for not checking it before driving off. Luckily no damage and it stayed on the truck.
 

ChocoChock01

On the road aagaain See Rallies below;
Mar 7, 2012
4,029
another advantage of having WDH is that after I hitch I than need to raise the hitch and ball in order to put the chains on the end of the flex bars onto the A frame. Kinda a pain to raise and lower twice hitching and unhitching but it does ensure the hitch is locked onto the ball.
 

dillon2

Member
Jul 7, 2013
36
I'm in the anal retentive crowd. I always check, re-check and triple check my hitch before I leave and at every stop. I also tend to watch the rig in the mirrors constantly. I like to know whats going on back there.
 

dion

Active Member
Apr 26, 2012
639
I hate to keep this thread alive, but it's important for everyone to be aware of the consequences of a mistake in this area. There was a tragedy in my area this week that brought home the point.

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/home/2511823-181/fatal-crash-on-lakeville-highway
http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/08/10/victim-idd-in-freak-petaluma-crash-with-runaway-pizza-oven/

The trailer in this case wasn't a camper of any type, but it was a brick pizza oven owned by a catering company, being towed by a van. It came loose, and crashed into a car containing a man, woman, and two children. The kids were the sons of the man (the press accounts are still unclear on the relationship of the woman with the others). The father was killed at the scene. The others are hospitalized.

There is no word at this time about why the trailer came free of the tow vehicle. The police have impounded the vehicles and I'm sure they'll conduct a thorough investigation and figure it out. They may already know. I hate to jump to conclusions, and I suppose there is a remote chance that the hitching procedure was performed correctly and the tongue broke off or something like that, but realistically, I have to think there's a high probability that this whole event could have been prevented by properly connecting the safety chains and hitch. Whether my speculation is right or wrong, this kind of accident serves as a reminder of sort of thing which can result if one of us improperly hitches a trailer up and doesn't correctly connect safety chains. Once a trailer comes loose, there is no controlling where it goes or what innocent people it may hit.

Two kids will be growing up without their father because the trailer came loose. Please double-check the condition of your hitch every time, to make sure you won't be involved in a similar tragedy. I, for one, would hate to explain to innocent kids how sorry I was that my neglect cost their innocent father his life.
 

vagov

Super Active Member
Aug 13, 2012
5,108
Pittsburgh, Pa
Ryanincc said:
Such a sad story.... my absolute FEAR when Im towing my 3500 lbs GVWR pup. Reminds me that I need to learn how to test my breakaway switch to make sure its working. Anyone know how to check it? Do you just pull the plunger out and try to drive away with it attached? Then put the plunger back in? I don't want to break it if its working either.
another way to test your breakaway is jack up one side of tire off ground. Hand spin your wheel and pull your plunger as tire is rotating. It shoild stop
 

nrg2brn

Active Member
Apr 17, 2011
115
terrifying video. Who among us hasnt stopped at the end of the street to check that damn pin? lol. I always lose them. but I at least find a piece of metal to bend around it.

I do the feel under the ball thing - make sure the tang is actually UNDER the ball. some mechanisms dont work right, and force that tange to go over the ball. THAT is a hazard waiting to happen. If you dont know the feel thing that Im talking about, take the time to get very familiar with how that bolt shoots under your ball when you force the trailer lock down. it needs to be second nature. Some say to not cross the chains, as in a disconnect situation, the trailer will hit the ground and begin to slow immediately due to the incredible force of being on the ground. I tend to believe this, but I have chain locks that prevent bounce out from their home. either way, 2 chains, bolt down, clip on, and the emergency brakes in the right place. Bless the family that lost the firefighter and the angel girl. :-(....
 

Snow

Super Active Member
Jul 19, 2007
12,164
Ontario
nrg2brn said:
Some say to not cross the chains, as in a disconnect situation, the trailer will hit the ground and begin to slow immediately due to the incredible force of being on the ground. I tend to believe this, but I have chain locks that prevent bounce out from their home.

Here in Ontario, it is actually a law to cross the safety chains, failure to do so can result in a insecure load fine...
 

Lyle Leuck

Member
Mar 27, 2013
37
We just purchased a new Chevrolet Traverse. It is rated for more tow rate than our other car, a Saturn Vue, so we are happy about that. However when I hooked it up to test the hitch, I realized the tow chains are not long enough. The current chains are double bolted to the trailer. If I replace the chain with a longer one, it will be too long if we ever use the Traverse. I was thinking about getting a shorter chain, and just linking it on to the existing one with a extension clip rated at 5,000 lbs or more. That way I could take the extension off if we use the Vue, and easily put it back on if we use the Traverse. What do you think? I think I just need about an extra 8 to 10 inches.
 

Ryanincc

Truth is poetry. Most Americans do not like poetry
Dec 28, 2013
2,272
Corpus Christi, TX
NCClipper said:
We just purchased a new Chevrolet Traverse. It is rated for more tow rate than our other car, a Saturn Vue, so we are happy about that. However when I hooked it up to test the hitch, I realized the tow chains are not long enough. The current chains are double bolted to the trailer. If I replace the chain with a longer one, it will be too long if we ever use the Traverse. I was thinking about getting a shorter chain, and just linking it on to the existing one with a extension clip rated at 5,000 lbs or more. That way I could take the extension off if we use the Vue, and easily put it back on if we use the Traverse. What do you think? I think I just need about an extra 8 to 10 inches.
Awesome that you got a Traverse. Did you get it with the factory tow package? It has a low tow cap unless the factory did it. We are shopping for one now or the Acadia.
Anywho, you can always twist chains to shorten them.

My phone did this using Tapatalk
 

Snow

Super Active Member
Jul 19, 2007
12,164
Ontario
Replace the chains with longer ones and when you use your other vehicle just "braid" the chains together when you go to cross them..
 

Lyle Leuck

Member
Mar 27, 2013
37
Ryanincc said:
Awesome that you got a Traverse. Did you get it with the factory tow package? It has a low tow cap unless the factory did it. We are shopping for one now or the Acadia.
Anywho, you can always twist chains to shorten them.

My phone did this

We did get the factory tow package. I think it tows up to 5,300 lbs. The package also cools the transmission, something that our Saturn Vue wouldn't do. The Vue towed up to 3,500 lbs, so since our camper weighs 1,700 we should be all right. However, we did have to replace the transmission in the view at 100,000 miles. It may not have had anything to do with towing on a car that old, but we thought it was time to get something with a little more tow capacity.
 

Lyle Leuck

Member
Mar 27, 2013
37
NCClipper said:
We just purchased a new Chevrolet Traverse. It is rated for more tow rate than our other car, a Saturn Vue, so we are happy about that. However when I hooked it up to test the hitch, I realized the tow chains are not long enough. The current chains are double bolted to the trailer. If I replace the chain with a longer one, it will be too long if we ever use the Traverse. I was thinking about getting a shorter chain, and just linking it on to the existing one with a extension clip rated at 5,000 lbs or more. That way I could take the extension off if we use the Vue, and easily put it back on if we use the Traverse. What do you think? I think I just need about an extra 8 to 10 inches.


I only needed about another 8"-10" of chain to reach the tow bar on my Traverse. I purchased a 36" tow chain from the auto supply store. It was cheaper than buying 36" of chain from Lowes. I cut in in the middle, making two 18" chains. I placed a quick link on the end of each chain to use in hitching to the car. The original chain has a clevis slip hook, which I hooked to link 8 of the new chain. In order not to have any of the new (second) chain, I attached it to the original chain with a quick link. I can now easily adjust this combined chain to any length I want. I do not have remove the shorter chain and replace with a longer one when towing with the Traverse. I do not have to re attach the shorter chain or do any chain braiding to take up slack when using the Saturn Vue. Whole thing cost me about $20. I would post a picture, except I can't figure out how to upload an image.
 

DragNfly

Active Member
Nov 13, 2012
472
I tow either a 16 foot 20,000 lb capacity trailer or a 12 foot box trailer pert near every day for work. I have learned;

1- As the driver - Always double check before leaving the driveway.
2- If the load is new, the trailer is new, or hasn't been pulled in a while - drive a few miles then check the load and the hitch.
3- At every stop - check the load and the hitch
4- Test the trailer brakes every so often such as when starting to exit the highway. If the electric cable is gone, its better to know before you need the trailer brakes.
 

PmRacing

Member
May 15, 2016
68
Unstable_Tripod said:
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.

I will have to look this up. I am wondering why crossed chains are better.

Mikeeee
 

R00

Super Active Member
Aug 10, 2014
1,286
Re: Please check that you've safely hitched before venturing out . . . .

PmRacing said:
I will have to look this up. I am wondering why crossed chains are better.

Mikeeee
Crossed chains, properly spaced, will catch and cradle the coupler if it comes off the ball. Otherwise, the coupler will drag on the pavement and shred itself, if the chains don't break first.
 

jnc

Welcome from New Hampshire
Oct 1, 2014
3,935
South Central New Hampshire

This is what happens when the trailer come unhitched while going down hill. I wish I noticed the first time the hitch went throw the box. This was all caused because I did not put the safety lock in.
 

R00

Super Active Member
Aug 10, 2014
1,286
jnc said:

This is what happens when the trailer come unhitched while going down hill. I wish I noticed the first time the hitch went throw the box. This was all caused because I did not put the safety lock in.
How did the tongue roll that far under your rig???
 

jnc

Welcome from New Hampshire
Oct 1, 2014
3,935
South Central New Hampshire
I was going down a dirt driveway that resembles the surface of the moon and has an angle of 65*. I did not notice when it first came unhooked. The safety chains held the tongue up off the ground & under the hitch. So the trailer rolled forward until the chains stopped it from going forward anymore. I think this happened twice before I felt some drag. The drawbar was plowing up rocks. It took me and the wife about 45 minute to get the trailer back on the hitch while we were still on the hill. This was not fun the repairs look like crap. I need to find a whole new front and rebuild the interior.
 

idler

Active Member
Aug 10, 2016
114
I had never towed so much as a Uhaul when I got my trailer in May. When I went out for the shakedown trip two weekends later, my brother and I hitched up. I didn't try to lift the ball coupler. We got a few miles down the road and were stopped by a helpful man in a pickup who told us we had not seated the ball correctly. The trailer had been louder, but the chains were still engaged and it was still on the ball when we stopped.

I was so thankful and embarrassed that I hadn't checked AND I will NEVER do that again. Now I am in the double and triple and every stop checking club.
 




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