Do I Have to Use Safety Chains on my Trailer?

When buying a trailer, no one wants to think about the worstcase scenario, but it's important for the safety of both the buyer and otherson the road. In the same way that a properly installed fire detector helpsprotect those from a fire, safety chains act as a final line of security forsomeone pulling a trailer.

This made headlines last week when a truck pulling a trailerwent over a bridge in Idaho. The trailer remained on the bridge as the safetychains held the truck dangling over the 100-foot drop until safety crews couldarrive and pull the occupants out.

“The only thing keeping the 2004 Ford F-350 pickup fromfalling was the set of safety chains attaching the 30ft camper trailer, whichremained on the bridge, to the pickup,” said the news story in The Guardian.

Without the safety chains attached, the truck would have plungedinto the gorge. Of course, that was an absolute worst case scenario, but ithighlights just how important those safety chains are.

Most states require by law that safety chains are attachedwhen pulling a trailer. Some only require one chain, while others require two.Still, it’s a step that is often overlooked by trailer users in the same waythat not replacing the batteries in your fire alarm is.

“Is it really worth the extra time and effort to connect thechains?”

“I’ve never had an issue before without the chains connected. Is it really necessary?”

“My chain is broken (or missing), do I need to get itreplaced?”

If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions, you’re certainlynot alone, but the answer to all of them is a resounding yes.

While the likelihood of your truck dangling over a gorge isunlikely, accidents do happen on the road all the time. It is up to everysingle driver on the road to do his or her best to minimize risk. For trailerowners, that means properly connecting the trailer to the tow vehicle.

To do so, the ball should be securely inside the couplerwith the lever locked, the electrical cord should be connected, and the safetychains should be crossed (but not twisted), connecting from the coupler to thehitch without touching the road.

If everything is properly connected, the safety chains arethe last line of defense in the event of an accident. If the ball and couplersomehow come detached, or if you get in an accident, the safety chains will keepthe trailer attached to the truck, preventing it from running away unimpeded.

If you buy a trailer from Advantage Trailer, we’ll help youget all hooked up the first time and make sure you know how to do it. If youhave questions about proper hook up, feel free to give us a call, or if you arelocal, stop in and we’ll help you out in person. If you need new safety chains,we have a large selection of parts.

When it comes to towing trailers, there is moreresponsibility involved, and we want to ensure the safety of everyone on theroad. Always use your safety chains.

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