When traveling along the highways and byways, notice the trailers being pulled. Some are in good shape and some you want to get away from quickly. If you pull a trailer, it’s your responsibility to ensure its safety for you and others on the road. Trailers have the potential of becoming unguided missiles if they are not properly hooked up or cared for.
- Prior to hook-up, inspect the hitch on the tow vehicle for loose bolts, deformation, and damaged pins. Check the ball on the tow vehicle to make sure that it matches the coupler size on the trailer.
- Always secure the trailer coupler connection with a pin to ensure it can’t disengage from the ball. If you have a trailer coupler with a tension bolt, ensure it is properly adjusted.
- Connect trailer electrical plug and breakaway cable to vehicle & ensure all are working correctly.
- Attach safety chains to tow vehicle.
- For a bumper pull trailer, cross the safety chains underneath the coupler with enough slack to permit turning, but not dragging the ground. This will help to hold the tongue up if the trailer comes loose.
- Check all trailer jacks, gates, ramps, etc. to ensure they are secured.
- Ensure that the load is tied down or tarped, and trailer deck is free of any loose tools or debris (mud chunks, rocks, etc.).
- Check tow vehicle & trailer tires for proper inflation.
- During long hauls, stop periodically to do a quick walkaround ensuring trailer is still in good shape and the load is secured.
- When unhooking the trailer, ensure it is on level ground, or block the wheels, to prevent the trailer from rolling forward into the truck, or rolling backwards.