Fire Officials Share Safety Techniques for Towing Trailers
WESLACO – Authorities said learning additional safety measures when using trailers could avoid accidents on the road.
An accident shut down Expressway 83 in Mercedes for several hours last week. The crash report stated a tractor-trailer and a truck pulling a trailer collided when attempting to switch lanes. Police found the trailer detached from the truck and skidded several feet away from the accident.
Lt. Richards Stubbs of the Weslaco Fire Department said people should learn how to properly attach a trailer to a truck. He recently taught his daughter his technique.
“My children are the ones that go camping with me, so I want to make sure that they understand the proper hitching technique and how to make sure the trailer is safe. I want them to know all aspects of it,” he said.
Stubbs said he recently purchased a new larger trailer, which also requires a hitch and ball.
“I made sure that the hitch was able to hold the weight and make sure that all my safety devices were in place,” he said.
Stubbs said people should figure out the weight of the trailer to ensure that the hitch will be able to hold it.
In addition, they should make sure the ball securing the trailer is the proper size. He said the chains, a backup security component, should be able to hold the trailer if other items unlatch.
Stubbs added people should not forget to crisscross the chain connecting the trailer to a vehicle. He said it’s an additional safety measure.
“We’re finding to where there’s actual accidents where people have not serviced the tongues on their trailer and they’re coming loose. They have the wrong size ball or maybe the ball is too small, so the trailer comes off,” he explained. “To make matters worse, their chains aren’t strong enough to actually hold that trailer when it does indeed come loose.”
Stubbs said he regularly has someone with him when he’s attaching the trailer. He said their presence also serves as an extra safety component.
“Not only are they going to be able to learn it for when they grow up, but they’re also going to be able to help me when I miss something when we go camping. I want to make sure they’re safe as well as myself,” he said.
Anyone buying a used trailer is recommended to inspect its condition before the purchase.
Stubbs said weight distribution is also important when towing a trailer and to avoid a unit from tipping. He added if a trailer weighs more than 4,500 pounds and is traveling 30 miles per hour, it will require a brake cable.