Trailer Safety: Ensure A Smooth Haul

We all want to make sure we stay safe when traveling on the road. Whether we are just going to a neighbor’s house or driving across the country, it is important to know how to travel safely. Any time that you are on the road, you are trusting other motorists and yourself to keep everyone around you safe. This can feel like a huge responsibility, especially for those who are on the road as part of their job.

When you’re pulling a trailer behind your vehicle, there are even more challenges to face. If you are hauling a trailer, it is even more critical to stay alert and aware of your surroundings because of the extra load you are pulling. Your vehicle’s braking, turning, and maneuverability change significantly when hauling a trailer. Trailer safety doesn’t start when you hit the road. It starts when you load and hook up your trailer. There are a few key elements to trailer safety that we want to cover because the last thing you want is for your trailer to come loose or get out of control as you are driving! 

Let’s take a look at some of the essential things you should know before setting off on your journey with your new trailer!

How Do I Make Sure My Trailer Is Secure?

trailer safety

Here is a checklist that you can run down before your haul to ensure that your trailer is secure.

  1. Pin The Coupler
  2. Make Sure Your Trailer Is Level
  3. Check For Rust On the Coupler
  4. Cross The Safety Chain
  5. Check Your Breakaway Switch
  6. Load Your Trailer More Heavily In The Middle

Trailer Safety Chains

trailer safety chains
Photo credit: Canva

A big part of trailer safety is the chains that connect from the tongue of the trailer to the vehicle you are towing. These chains serve very important functions for trailer safety. Are you wondering if chains are really that important for your trailer? These three questions will help you understand why these chains are of vital importance for every trailer user!

Do You Need 2 Trailer Safety Chains?

Yes, you do! These chains are another safety measure that keeps your vehicle connected to your trailer. If anything happens to the connection at the coupler, these chains will make sure your trailer is still attached to your vehicle. Most states require trailer safety chains.

Do Small Trailers Need Safety Chains?

Yes, even small trailers need safety chains. No matter the size of the trailer, there is always the potential for something to happen that causes the trailer to come loose.

Why Are Trailer Safety Chains Crossed?

You might have noticed that it is standard procedure to cross trailer safety chains and wondered why we do this. Trailer safety chains are crossed for multiple reasons. 

  1. When safety chains are crossed, it prevents the car from being swung from side to side. If something happens that causes your trailer to come unattached from your vehicle and your trailer chains aren’t crossed, your vehicle can lose control. If the chains aren’t crossed the trailer can swing erratically and cause your vehicle to do the same.
  2. It prevents your chains from contacting the ground. Other than reducing the annoying sounds of dragging chains, this keeps your chains from wearing down and getting damaged.
  3. It helps reduce the stress on the chains and allows them to last longer. 

Trailer Safety Cables

trailer safety with trailer cables
Photo credit: Canva

Can you use cables instead of chains when hauling your trailer? Yes! Just make sure your cable weight rating can handle what you are carrying. While chains are more commonly used, trailer safety cables are a good alternative. Both have pros and cons. It’s just a matter of deciding which works best for you!

  • Why Use Chains?

Chains are the “tried and true” method of trailer safety. They are very strong and durable, lasting through years of towing. Chains are also more cost-effective than alternatives. 

  • Why Use Cables?

Cables are a newer and more flexible way to achieve safety when towing. Cables are durable and quieter than noisy chains if that is something that bothers you. Cables also have the luxury of not rusting like chains do because of the coating that covers the metal.  

How Do You Secure A Trailer In A Driveway?

flatbed utility trailer main frame

When you park your trailer at a job site or at your home, it’s essential that you do it safely. This will ensure that people around you are kept safe and that your trailer is kept in better condition longer.

To securely park your trailer one of the main things you are going to need is blocks. To avoid the possibility of a rolling trailer, you need to make sure the wheels will not move, no matter what. Placing blocks in front of and behind your trailer’s wheels will keep your trailer in one place until you are ready to use it again.

Covering your trailer with a tarp or parking your trailer under a roof is a great way to ensure your trailer lasts longer. Keeping rain, snow, and debris from your trailer will keep the materials in better condition!

When it comes to preventing theft, check out the next section. 

How To Prevent Trailer Theft

No matter where you park your trailer, the possibility of theft and vandalism is something that you should take into consideration. A trailer is a big investment that you shouldn’t hesitate to outfit with some extras to keep it safe from theft.

  1. Buy A Trailer Hitch Lock – This lock can protect your trailer from being attached to someone else’s vehicle. You can get this lock for around $30. 
  2. Get A Wheel Chock Lock – These locks are perfect for ensuring your trailer won’t go anywhere without the proper combination or key. It clamps over the wheel, preventing any rolling. This lock will cost you around $85. 
  3. GPS – A GPS tracker allows you to know where your trailer is at all times. This will not prevent your trailer from being stolen, but it will give you the position of your trailer should anything happen to it. A standard trailer GPS will run you a little over $200.
  4. Alarms – These can come in various forms. You can get a wireless motion detector that will let you know if any movement happens near your trailer via your phone. You could also go big and get a full alarm set for your trailer. These are wired and will be hooked up to your trailer to let the thief know they are not welcome there!

Do You Need Trailer Brakes To Pull A Trailer?

best gooseneck trailer brakes
Photo credit: Canva

Trailer brakes are required for all states with stipulations as to the weight. If you are driving only in your state, check out this page. If you are traveling across state lines, we recommend making sure your trailer has brakes. 

Trailer Safety Ratings

trailer safety ratings

Unfortunately, there is no system to see which trailers are safer than others. If you are purchasing a trailer from a reputable dealer, it will be a safe trailer. Trailer safety generally comes from how you handle your trailer and hook up your trailer.

At Four Winds, we have been in the trailer business for years, and we are proud to deal in Lawrimore, Black Rhino, Anvil, and Stealth Trailers.

Trailer Safety Pin

trailer safety pin
Photo credit: Canva

Ensuring that your trailer safety pin is functional and in good working order is very important. The trailer pin keeps the coupler attached to the ball of the trailer hitch. Even though this is a small piece of your trailer, it is important to make sure this piece is in great condition. A small piece like this makes a big difference in the safety of your trailer.

Additional Trailer Safety

While we covered a vast majority of the ways and items you need to keep your trailer safe, here are a few more things to consider before starting your journey. 

Trailer Inspection

In most cases, any trailer with a GVWR over 3000 lbs will need to be inspected. Inspections often differ by state, so make sure you check your local laws and regulations to ensure you are safe while traveling. Keeping your trailer up to all the state regulations is key to trailer safety.

Trailer Breakaway Switch

These switches are optimal if your trailer ever becomes detached from your vehicle. The cable is connected to your car and your trailer’s brakes. If anything were to happen, your trailer would safely come to a stop instead of continuing down the road. The last thing you want is for your trailer to roll into oncoming traffic. 

Trailer Maintenance

When it comes to keeping your trailer safe, there are also things you will want to do before each haul, each month, and each year. View this checklist so you don’t forget the main things you need to know! Here is a quick sample.

trailer safety checklist

Our Trailers

utility trailer safety

We don’t want you to haul a trailer that we don’t believe in. That is why we partnered with Stealth, Lawrimore, Black Rhino, and Anvil trailers. We believe our trailers are safe and, if they are well cared for, should last a lifetime. Browse our in-stock selections, or contact us to allow us to help you find the trailer you have been looking for! Be sure to also check out our guide to towing trailers here!

Are you in search of trailer parts? Four Winds Trailer offers a large variety of trailer parts for your needs. Find trailer fenders, trailer wheels, tires, or trailer plugs in KY.