Towing safety tips relate to the: tow ball, breakaway cable, wheels, tyres, lights, indicators and weight limit.
Trailer Comes Loose And Kills Child In Bristol
A Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency safety campaign reveals tips to make towing a trailer safer following the death of a toddler, in 2014. Freddie Hussey, 3, was killed by a trailer that came loose from its tow car and mounted a kerb in Bristol. The investigation later concluded that its handbrake lever was in the wrong position.
Guidance includes information that relates to the:
- tow ball and connections,
- wheels and tyres,
- lights and indicators,
- loads and weight limits.
Tow ball and connections
The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency says to check the:
- “trailer is correctly coupled to the tow ball or pin (and to) follow the manufacturer’s advice,
- coupling height is correct,
- 7 or 13 core cable and plug is not damaged.”
Furthermore, it explains that it is important to fit a breakaway cable or secondary coupling. Part of its purpose is to engage the trailer's brakes if it comes loose from the tow car. Ensure that:
- “the cable is not worn or damaged,
- there is enough slack in the cable so that it does not accidentally apply the brakes,
- the cable cannot drag on the ground when driving.
Wheels and tyres
The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency says that it is necessary to check the wheels/tyres of the tow car and trailer. Check the tyres:
- “do not have any cuts or bulges,
- are inflated to the manufacturer’s specification for the load being carried,
- have a tread depth of at least 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tread, and around the circumference.”
As for wheels ensure the:
- “nuts and bolts are tightened to the correct torque,
- mudguards are fitted to the trailer and are secure.”
Lights and indicators
Consider the lights and indicators, too. Check:
- “there is no damage to the lights,
- that they work correctly.”
Load and weight limit
The Agency explains that the vehicle's load and weight limit is confirmed via a plate or the handbook. Ensure that the:
- trailer is not overloaded,
- load is distributed evenly,
- load is secure.
Safety campaign strives to protect public
Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, says: “(Our) first priority is to protect the public and help you stay safe on Great Britain’s roads. It’s your responsibility to ensure equipment is fitted to your vehicle correctly and used safely. There is no excuse for not being informed.”
He continues: “Even a short journey with an insecure or un-roadworthy trailer puts lives at risk, as the death of 3-year-old Freddie Hussey tragically shows.”