Automobile design has improved immensely since the first mass-produced cars of the 20th century. You and the public benefit from the countless safety enhancements made in the last century every time you drive your car. However, all of that is circumvented when a trailer is improperly hitched to a car or truck. The safest car in the world can cause a deadly crash if it unleashes a runaway trailer onto the highway. Losing your trailer can also cause you to lose control and get into a car accident.
Safely hitching a trailer to your vehicle isn’t difficult. It amounts to following the established steps and not skipping the required safety measures. It means using the correct hitch for your trailer. A comprehensive trailer safety guide is given by the California DMV here.
Here are three common safety omissions:
Not Using Two Chains
Using two chains is a required safety backup in case the hitch fails. There are many reasons for hitches to come loose. It could be a mistake on your part, a damaged or badly rusted hitch, or a defective hitch.
One chain isn’t enough. A second chain isn’t just a backup should the first chain fail. Two chains that are crossed over will cradle the trailer hitch should it come loose. This prevents the hitch from dragging on the pavement. At high speeds, this dragging is strong enough to break a single chain.
Not Installing the Safety-Pin
The safety-pin’s small size and cheap cost cause many people to underestimate its importance. Without the pin in place, a bump, pothole, or piece of road debris can pop your trailer off the hitch. Having safely towed trailers countless times doesn’t mean you can cut corners. Your experience doesn’t alter the fact that failing to use the safety-pin is dangerous.
A Mismatched Ball and Hitch
Use the required ball size for your hitch. A ball that’s one size too small for the hitch may fit, but it doesn’t provide enough gripping force. Hitting a bump, road debris, or a road defect will jar the hitch loose.
If you were hurt in a motor vehicle accident because of another motorist’s negligence, contact us at Hogan Injury.