car tow hitchOne of the perks of owning an SUV, a heavy truck, or a recreational vehicle is having the option to install a trailer hitch for pulling extra cargo, such as boats, motorcycles, and other large items. Unfortunately, trailer hitches and cargo pose threats to drivers following behind these vehicles.

Maintaining Hitch Safety

For a trailer to be safely mounted on a hitch, the trailer’s coupler must:

  • Be properly fastened to the ball mount. The coupler must fit securely on top of the ball mount so the weight of the trailer anchors the coupler in place. 
  • Be tightly secured by the trailer ball. The trailer ball must be screwed tightly onto the mount, sandwiching the coupler in between, and secured with a pin or lock.
  • Be attached by a safety chain. Florida towing requirements make the use of safety chains, cables, or ropes mandatory for all vehicles towing trailers with a rear hitch.

When a driver or hitch-installer neglects even one of the above regulations, the risk of hitch failure is greatly increased. If the hitch fails, a trailer can become loose and sway into other traffic, or completely detach from the anchor vehicle. Regardless of the size or weight of the cargo, if a trailer becomes even partially detached from its towing vehicle, it can cause catastrophic results.

Loose Trailer and Cargo Catastrophes

A loose trailer causes the tow vehicle to become unbalanced and erratic. A driver can lose control because of the drag and uncontrollable force of the trailer, which may cause him to swerve into other lanes, swing toward oncoming traffic, or even jackknife. Collision damages may also be caused by unsecured cargo spilling onto the road, or the trailer fully detaching from the vehicle.

Trailer accidents are known to cause:

  • Internal injuries. When a trailer becomes loose and smashes into the front of the vehicle behind it, the weight and force of the collision can cause internal bruising and hemorrhaging to those passengers.
  • Puncture injuries. When a trailer collides with another vehicle, it can distort the frame of the car and create loose, sword-like pieces of metal and glass. These razor sharp fragments may forcefully impale passengers.
  • Decapitation. When the trailer hits a car head-on, the inertia of the collision can push it over the engine block, through the windshield and beyond. Anything in its way that isn’t strong enough to stop it will either be crushed or cut down. This includes passengers.

Help Us Spread the Word About Trailer Hitch Safety

Negligent attachment and use of trailers place you and your family at risk for horrible injuries and death. By knowing the dangers you can take precautions to avoid driving near potentially hazardous trailers, and help others avoid a tragedy as well. Protect your friends and family from a trailer accident by using your social media connections and sharing this information with them. You can also like our Facebook page to show your support, receive periodic updates of newly posted articles, and give your friends the resource they need following a tragic trailer collision.

If you need to discuss a personal trailer accident or injury confidentially, call us directly to schedule your free consultation. Attorneys Frank R. Johnson and J. Lance Gilbert have nearly 50 years’ combined experience helping members of the community build their personal injury claims. It’s time for their skills to benefit you. Call us at (800) 556-8890 today to secure your trailer injury settlement.