Trailer Safety

Do you know anyone who regularly pulls some kind of utility or recreational trailer who hasn't "lost" the trailer or had a near catastrophe while pulling a trailer? I don't. Every single person I know who pulls a trailer has at least one story about the trailer breaking loose, taking off with a mind of its own, flipping across the fields, or repeatedly slamming into the tow vehicle, just seemingly for the fun of it.

Most of these stories have a humorous side and an uneventful ending. However, last summer I learned of an accident where a trailer broke free and killed two bicyclists. It reminded me of the times I've been out riding my motorcycle and I encountered trailers looking like they had all the potential of an unguided missile.

Here are a few things to consider when equipping and hooking up your trailer for your next cross country adventure.

I'm not going to tell you to avoid overloading your trailer (the rule of thumb: maximum weight is reached when the wheels are hitting the inside of the fendersócapacity can be increased by removing the fenders), to check and lube the wheel bearings (there are whole communities supported by replacing wheel bearings and tires on boat trailers and I'm not about to suggest we destroy local economies just to avoid a little inconvenience) or that you should always make sure you securely tie your loads down (I found a pretty nice cooler and half a case of motor oil that must have blown out of someone's boat last summer) because you know all this stuff already, from excruciatingly miserable personal experience.

Source: July/Augest 1996 NMA News

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