Proper trailer towing safety is important no matter what you pull behind your vehicle. Yet, each year hundreds are killed in accidents involving trailers that fail to follow proper hook up procedure. Failure to hook a trailer up to a hitch correctly can lead to serious damage to your vehicle and put other motorists at risk. Hooking up a trailer is a simple and straightforward process.
Proper hook up procedure
- Don’t get distracted. Trailer towing safety is extremely important. Always complete the hook up procedure from beginning to end with no interruptions.
- Make sure the size of your hitch ball (stamped on the top) matches the size of your coupler.
- When placing a ball clamp coupler onto your hitch, tighten it down well, give the trailer a good shake and then tighten the clamp down a second time.
- To hook up a trailer with a latch style coupler, double check to make sure your ball is the same size as the coupler. Then, release the latch and place the coupler on the ball. Finally, close the latch and ALWAYS place a pin or lock to fasten it safely.
- Lastly, hook up the safety chains by crisscrossing them and looping them through the loops on your hitch. Then cross them again and secure the hooks to the chains.
- Be sure that the safety chains have enough slack to turn, but won’t drag on the ground.
- Always hook up running lights, brake lights and turn signals to your trailer. Check all lights before you begin driving.
Trailer Towing Safety Practices
- When you stop to gas up, check your coupler and lights again to make sure everything is still connected properly.
- Check the tire pressure on your vehicle and trailer often
- If you hear a strange noise, pull off the road and stop at a safe place to inspect everything for safety.
The following are some simple safety rules and precautions to help promote safe driving while towing a trailer:
1. Hitch up your trailer correctly
Make sure you have followed the proper procedures for hooking up your trailer. Double check all connections, including the coupler and wiring, and make sure your safety chains are crossed under the trailer tongue and securely connected.
2. Allow plenty of stopping distance
You need to increase your following distance when towing a trailer. It takes longer to stop your towing rig than your tow vehicle alone
3. Anticipate problems
Since it takes longer to accelerate, stop, change lanes and turn with a trailer, look ahead farther than you normally would.
4. Keep an eye out for trailer sway
Crosswinds, large trucks, downhill grades and high speeds can all lead to trailer sway. If you are not careful, your trailer can start swinging back and forth like a pendulum. The best way to address this problem is with a sway control unit. If you experience trailer sway, you can also take your foot off the gas and manually apply the trailer brakes with the brake control. Press the button once and your trailer should align with your tow vehicle.
5. Be cautious when changing lanes
Changing lanes is a challenge, especially when towing. With a trailer, your blind spots increase and you cannot accelerate as quickly. Always ensure you leave adequate space between you and other vehicles before crossing lanes. Consider installing tow mirrors to increase your view.
6. Stop gradually whenever possible
Towing a trailer requires extra work out of your brakes. Keep your vehicle and trailer brakes maintained and your brake control properly adjusted.
7. Do not pull in where you cannot see out
It is easy to get stuck with a trailer. You might pull into a small parking lot and have to perform a complicated backup maneuver to get out. Be sure to leave yourself room to move your vehicle and trailer safely, even if that means parking further away.
Are you aware that there are trailer towing safety Laws & Regulations vary by State? To find out what your specific state laws are visit: www.trailers.com/state-laws
Above all, make sure that the Insurance company that carries your auto coverage is aware that you will be pulling trailers. It would be an auto liability claim if that trailer would swing out and hit someone or if it became loose and hit something or someone. For more ways to protect your company, just call us at 1-800-878-3808 today! We have worked exclusively in the mobile cleaning industry for 40 years and we know how to protect your business properly. Find out why we are America’s #1 Power Wash Insurance Agency!