Trailer Safety Checklist

Trailer Safety Checklist
Towing a camper trailer or pop-up camper is a great way of heading out to see the country and national or state parks. Tow trailers and pop-ups virtually let you bring the house with you without having to pack and unpack each night. Safety needs to be maintained to ensure a fun and accident-free vacation and holiday.

Coupler and Ball Hitch

Prior to heading out, make sure to double-check the coupler (the piece of equipment that the ball hitch sets in) and that the ball is properly secured and attached. Move the coupler and ball hitch back and forth with your hands and check for any extra slop in the attachment. Check to make sure the cotter pin (the pin that secures the connection) is in place and locked.

Most trailers and campers need a short chain attached between the coupler and ball hitch attachment as a redundancy for safety should the attachment fail during transport. Make sure you have a chain attaching the vehicle to the trailer of the ball hitch and coupler.

Lights

Turn on the car or truck and put the lights into the "On" position. The trailer needs to have the electric connections in place for the trailer lights to work. Make sure this is attached and then walk around the trailer checking to see if the lights are working. Turn the blinkers and turn signals on and then have someone step on the brakes to check the trailers brake lights.

Tires, Chains and Mirrors

Use a tire pressure tool to check the trailers tires for proper pressure. Make sure they are inflated to the manufacturer's specifications. Check the tires for wear or loss of tread.

Most trailers and campers need a short chain attached between the coupler and ball hitch attachment as a redundancy for safety should the attachment fail during transport. Make sure you have a chain attaching the vehicle to the trailer of the ball hitch and coupler.

On your truck or towing vehicle make sure the mirrors are set to watch the trailer in the background. Set them so you can watch for side to side sway and where it is in relation to the towing vehicle.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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