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Kevin Moore: Raising Awareness of Safe Towing Practices During National Trailer Safety Week

National Trailer Safety Week runs from June 5-11. The campaign’s mission is to improve the safety of the nation’s roads by raising awareness of trailer safety through educating end users, dealers and manufacturers on safe towing practices and closing communication gaps for make towing safer.

A trailer is a non-motorized vehicle towed by a motorized vehicle. It is commonly used for transporting goods, materials, livestock, and even recreational toys. This may include boat trailers, livestock trailers, car transport trailers, motorcycle trailers, fifth wheel gooseneck trailers, farm trailers, travel trailers, camper trailers and your simple utility trailers of all sizes.

Safe towing practices save lives, and with millions of trailers – used by businesses, local governments and individuals – negotiating the country’s roads every day, it’s crucial to ensure trailers are towed safely. safety for the good of the drivers who tow the trailers, but also everyone on the roads.

According to Ron Melancon of DangerousTrailersafety.org, over 700 people are killed each year and over 30,000 are injured. As a friend and colleague of Ron, I have seen him carry the torch for legislative change and better awareness and education as he dedicated his life to this cause to save lives.

With such statistics, this is a major security issue that often goes unnoticed and unaddressed. Unfortunately, most people don’t see this as a concern, until a loved one is killed by a runaway trailer in a head-on collision. The internet is full of such examples.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) deals with manufacturing guidelines for all types of trailers, however, most states have limited laws to restrict their use, and no state requires owners of people to do periodically inspect their utility trailers.

The thing is, if your trailer doesn’t exceed a certain weight or size, you or I can build and weld our own utility trailer out of scrap metal or lumber in our garages or backyards, and no law will tell us. limit of towing it on the road. For example, many farm trailers or carts used for agricultural purposes today are pulled on our rural roads that were built in a barn decades ago and are not roadworthy.

Having the right vehicle for the trailer and the weight of the cargo is key to safe towing (Photo by Wikipmedia Commons)

Many end users are under-educated on the proper use of trailers. They recognize that they wouldn’t buy a car without seat belts or airbags, but don’t understand that buying a trailer without key safety features can be just as dangerous for themselves and other drivers. on the highway. Oftentimes when I talk to customers in the insurance industry, the vast majority of them have never had formal safety training on how to tow a trailer.

Companies and individuals who own trailers should use the connections that dealers and manufacturers have with consumers to increase safety and awareness. From driving tips to trailer maintenance and components, the Trailer Safety Week website provides end users with essential trailer safety information in an easy-to-understand format.

Many of us were given a set of truck keys and told to haul a trailer full of trash or furniture to a certain destination without ever receiving an ounce of safety training on how to hook up, load, secure a load or drive a trailer safely. . Many of us have watched our dads hook up a trailer instead, and if he didn’t do it right, then you probably didn’t do it right either.

Today, anyone can walk into the local Home Depot, Lowes, or Tractor Supply Store and buy a trailer and drive it down the road in 30 minutes, even if they don’t have a driver’s license.

However, the disturbing fact is that people are killed every week because the trailer was not hooked up properly, maybe they were towing with the wrong size ball hitch, they didn’t have the chains attached, had poor lighting, had unsecured loads. , was missing a safety pin to secure the hitch, had a load that was too heavy for the trailer, was poorly maintained, or had an unbalanced load.

Keven Moore works in risk management services. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky, a master’s degree from Eastern Kentucky University, and more than 25 years of experience in the security and insurance industry. He is also an expert witness. He lives in Lexington with his family and works both in Lexington and Northern Kentucky. Keven can be reached at [email protected]

Trailer safety is widely ignored across the country. No state requires personal owners to have their trailers inspected, but if you operate a commercial trailer, federal law requires trailers to be inspected if they exceed the GVWR of 3,000. is less than 2999 GVWR, it does not need to be inspected, and commercial trailer owners can bypass these inspections if they register it as non-commercial.

There are 14 states that have no registration for trailers, while the other 36 states have registrations, however, users can circumvent this mandate by calling them “Farm Use” or Agricultural Use. Then, 7 states still do not have laws for the use of the chain of custody.

In the State of Kentucky, all privately owned and operated trailers used for transporting boats, luggage, personal effects, farm products, building materials, farm supplies, or farm equipment do not require no registration unless you take them out of state. However, all trailers must be titled in Kentucky. Frame mounting on an equalizer type hitch is only recommended and safety chains are required.

Whether you’ve been hauling large trailers for years or you’re about to embark on your first family vacation with a small trailer, towing is not something to be taken lightly. To pull a trailer behind another vehicle requires a driver to develop a whole new set of skills. The mere process of coupling and uncoupling a trailer from a tow vehicle requires skill and many steps and missing even one crucial part of the process could compromise safety.

The goal is to improve the safety of the country’s roads by promoting awareness of trailer safety. To help you achieve this goal, consider the following safety tips:

• Inspect the trailer before each use. Examine the condition of the tires, bears, hitch, brake lights, and turn signals, as well as the structural integrity to make sure it is safe to operate.

• Know the towing rating vehicle and trailer. The manufacturer provides this information in the owner’s manual. Make sure the vehicle is rated to tow the trailer you plan to use.

• The weight of the loaded trailer should never exceed the towing weight for which your vehicle is designed.

• When hitching your trailer use the correct size hitch ball to accommodate your trailer. Make sure that once attached, the hitch latch is closed and pinned so it cannot come loose.

• Check that, when attaching the safety chains to the vehicle, the chains are crossed to provide a cradle if the trailer comes loose.

• When driving with a trailer be careful when making turns. Depending on the size of the trailer, you may need to pull further back to prevent the trailer from hitting the curb.

• Drive at an appropriate speed for the trailer and what you are transporting to avoid any problems. Allow extra time for braking when driving.

• Use towing mirrors, when necessary, to better see your blind spots.

• Remember that towing a trailer may lengthen the time it takes to come to a complete stop.

• When loading/unloading equipment on the trailer, use a ramp to load or unload when using a trailer to transport wheeled or tracked equipment.

• Make sure that any equipment or cargo is attached appropriately so that it does not come loose during transport.

• Make sure there is good weight distribution when loading your trailer, avoiding being overloaded either at the front or at the rear of the trailer.

• Avoid using the trailer in a way that it was not intended to be used.

Be safe my friends

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