Do I Have to Use Safety Chains on my Trailer?

When buying a trailer, no one wants to think about the worst-case scenario, but it’s important for the safety of both the buyer and others on the road. In the same way that a properly installed fire detector helps protect those from a fire, safety chains act as a final line of security for someone pulling a trailer.

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

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

Without the safety chains attached, the truck would have plunged into the gorge. Of course, that was an absolute worst-case scenario, but it highlights just how important those safety chains are.

Most states require by law that safety chains are attached when 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 way that not replacing the batteries in your fire alarm is.

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

“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 it replaced?”

If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions, you’re certainly not alone, but the answer to all of them is a resounding yes.

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

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

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

If you buy a trailer from Advantage Trailer, we’ll help you get all hooked up the first time and make sure you know how to do it. If you have questions about proper hook up, feel free to give us a call, or if you are local, 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 more responsibility involved, and we want to ensure the safety of everyone on the road. Always use your safety chains.

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