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Why You Should Use Safety Chains When Towing

Discussion in 'Towing' started by afd23a, Apr 9, 2011.

  1. Apr 9, 2011 at 8:09 PM
    #1
    afd23a

    afd23a [OP] Well-Known Member

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    So Friday night I was going home w/my gf after getting some takeout when an 8 foot utility trailer came off the hitch of an oncoming vehicle. It was twilight and I barely saw the trailer before it hit my truck. The trailer was unloaded so the damage wasn't quite as bad as it could have been. Luckily no one was hurt. My truck was the only vehicle that was damaged. The guy stopped, was extremely nice and admitted it was all his fault. The cops eventually came, we did the police report and information exchange so I'm just waiting to hear from his insurance company on Monday.

    What I did notice while we were waiting for the police, was that his old trailer did NOT have any safety chains. I guess at some point they had rusted or come off or something. This was a lesson to me and I'm sure to him too, that you should always have and use safety chains, even when towing a small unloaded trailer. If that trailer had had some weight in it then I'm sure the damage would have been much worse.

    Enough with the speech, here are the carnage pics.

    Overview of the damage
    [​IMG]

    rear fender
    [​IMG]

    Front fender/door. There is a piece of wood from his trailer stuck between my door and fender
    [​IMG]

    different angle
    [​IMG]

    Damage to driver's front wheel. Notice the crack near the lip of the rim.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Apr 9, 2011 at 8:23 PM
    #2
    Machete Eddie

    Machete Eddie Well-Known Member

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    That sucks. I've seen a few trailers come loss in my time and glad I never got hit from them. Good luck on the repairs.
     
  3. Apr 9, 2011 at 8:35 PM
    #3
    Drewboto

    Drewboto Well-Known Member

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    Ouch. Hopefully everything turns out quick and smooth.

    Use chains absolutely every time. My Dad's ski boat came unhitched last summer on a 2 lane highway bridge above a lake. Without chains, the boat would have ended up as a pile of fiberglass in the oncoming lane or hanging off the side of the bridge.
     
  4. Apr 10, 2011 at 7:39 AM
    #4
    JKD

    JKD Well-Known Member

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    I think people need to take a good look at where the safety chains attach, too. Some trailers I've seen have a "safety chain" that is basically tack welded to the trailer tongue. I have my doubts about whether that would survive if a fully loaded trailer were suddenly attached to the towing vehicle only with the chain.
     
  5. Apr 10, 2011 at 7:43 AM
    #5
    wildjerseyfirefighter

    wildjerseyfirefighter I sell fishing and fishing accessories

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    i always use chains for that reason.
     
  6. Apr 10, 2011 at 7:47 AM
    #6
    MillerMan06

    MillerMan06 Well-Known Member

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    dddddaaaammmmnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! because the other guy was just being that stupid i would have kick his a$% for doing that if that had been me. Glad every body is ok and nobody got hurt. good luck
     
  7. Apr 10, 2011 at 7:47 AM
    #7
    RZRob

    RZRob Well-Known Member

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    I make it a point, but this reminds me to take it more seriously.

    RZ Rob
     
  8. Apr 10, 2011 at 7:51 AM
    #8
    Rocketball

    Rocketball If The World Didn't Suck, We'd All Fall Off

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    Wow, that sucks, being on the receiving end of someone else's stupidity.....

    They put safety chains on trailers for a very good reason..... :cool: Most people would be amazed to how many people do not use them.
     
  9. Apr 10, 2011 at 7:53 AM
    #9
    Pugga

    Pugga Pasti-Dip Free 1983 - 2015... It was a good run

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    x2, I always double check all my safety stuff when towing. I can't imagine having a trailer come loose and the amount of damage it could cause. OP, glad you're ok, that could have been much worse!
     
  10. Apr 10, 2011 at 8:04 AM
    #10
    Cannonball

    Cannonball Well-Known Member

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    About 10 years ago I was moving my girlfriend at the time from FL to AZ. Somewhere around Louisiana on I-10 the tongue attachment came out of the receiver and the only thing that kept the trailer attached were the safety chains. We were driving a sweet late 80s toy 4x4 4cyl pickup on 33s her dad had given her. It had a beefy plate bumper that worked great for bump stopping the trailer. Turns out the tongue attachment was put in the receiver using a bolt and nut, not a hardened trailer pin. I was able to rig part of the jack as a pin so we could limp down the shoulder to an auto parts store. Could have turned out much worse. I'm sure some of the other folks on the road were pretty freaked out.
     
  11. Apr 10, 2011 at 8:27 AM
    #11
    OffroadToy

    OffroadToy This ain't Dodge City, and you ain't Bill Hickok

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    Glad your ok. Those trailer ball couplers do wear out over time...good thing to check once in a while and always use a lock to keep the coupler handle from opening. One thing I haven't seen mentioned is to not only used the safty chains, but cross them when attaching. This is to help keep the tongue off the ground if it were detach off the ball.
     
  12. Apr 10, 2011 at 8:45 AM
    #12
    TacoDawgfan

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    When I was in the 7th grade we were on a field trip on a charter bus in downtown Atlanta on I-75/85 and a large truck & trailer (cant remember exactly) beside us had the trailer jump off the ball and I was sitting right beside it and saw it happen. :eek: The trailer swayed right toward me and had it not been for the chains looked like it would have went under the bus and right in front of the rear wheels from my standpoint and who knows what would have happened? The whole side of the bus was screaming and going crazy. So I learned early on the value of the chains. ;)
     
  13. Apr 10, 2011 at 8:50 AM
    #13
    SmoothFox

    SmoothFox Well-Known Member

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    I think the trailer owner should be written a ticket for towing without safety chains. Could have killed someone.:eek:
     
  14. Apr 10, 2011 at 8:54 AM
    #14
    Janster

    Janster Old & Forgetful

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    He's a dumbass.... and its a damn shame someone else has to pay for his stupidity. Sorry to hear that. I'd be pissed!!

    When we towed, I used to see stupid stuff like that all the time. Obvious unsafe stuff.... People seem to think they can just hook up and go without thinking.

    I would assume the trailer was big enough to cause that sort of damage.... The trailer could've had brakes, but he probably didn't have a break-away setup either. :rolleyes:
     
  15. Apr 10, 2011 at 9:13 AM
    #15
    WCJR

    WCJR Well-Known Member

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    IN PA SAFETY CHAINS ARE LAW. THEY ALSO HAVE TO BE CROSSED. THE RIGHT CHAIN HAS TO BE HOOKED ON THE LEFT AND LEFT ON THE RIGHT.
    I HAD A TRAILER JUMP OUT OF THE BALL AND THE CHAINS KEPT IT FROM GOING OUT INTO THE OTHER LANE.
    I REMEMBER AN ACCIDENT FROM I 81 WHERE A BOAT BROKE LOOSE CROSSED THE CENTER AND STRUCK A VEHICLE HEADING THE OTHER WAY. IT WAS A LOCAL TV STATION CAR AND THE PASSENGER WAS SEVERELY INJURED.
    I SUGGEST ANYONE TOWING CALL THE STATE POLICE OR THE AAA FOR EXACT LAWS.
    ALSO IN THIS DAY AND AGE ALL AGENCIES AND DEPARTMENTS WANT MONEY AND THEY WILL ARREST YOU, FINE YOU, FOR WEARING 2 DIFFERENT COLORED SOCKS...
     
  16. Apr 10, 2011 at 9:18 AM
    #16
    MountainEarth

    MountainEarth Well-Known Member

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    Yeah crossing them ... good point. And it's amazing how many people don't lock the coupler to keep it from popping open.
     
  17. Apr 10, 2011 at 10:16 PM
    #17
    Tom0662

    Tom0662 Well-Known Member

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    Yes on crossing them. I use to have a waverunner ans one nice hot day was excited to get to the river, forgot to latch the hitch. Going up a slight hill from my place I heard something and look in rearview and see my trailer swaying. Crossed chains kept the trailer from hitting the pavement. I always use a padlock on the trailer latch, but on that day felt it necessary to leave it in the bed of the truck. :eek:
     
  18. Apr 11, 2011 at 5:21 AM
    #18
    Brewman

    Brewman Member

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    Not only that, but to ward off theft. I have a locking coupler pin.

    This guy was totally irresponsible and he's very lucky he didn't hurt or kill anyone. It's bad enough he damaged someone elses's truck because of his negligence.

    Hopefully the idiot at least has adequate insurance.............
     
  19. Apr 11, 2011 at 5:31 AM
    #19
    johnsmith195011

    johnsmith195011 Member

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  20. Apr 11, 2011 at 5:57 AM
    #20
    KBToyota

    KBToyota Well-Known Member

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    Lucky the trailer tongue didnt go through your door or window and impale you. I have seen wore out hitches but I know some people will through a 2" hitch onto a 1-7/8 ball, trouble waiting to happen.
    Glad everyone was safe, let this be a lesson.
     
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