TRAILER SAFETY CHAINS

fried1765

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I see trailers going down the road every day with safety chains improperly connected.
Saw yet another today, with a Bobcat CTL aboard.
Apparently many people do not understand that trailer safety chains must be crossed chains,.... for safety.
The idea being, that crossed chains create a carrying cradle for the trailer tongue, should the coupler/hitch actually become detached.
Having safety chains is not enough, to provide trailer safety, the chains must be used properly to provide appropriate safety.
 
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armylifer

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Different states have different laws. I have lived in states that did not require the chains to be crossed.
 
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fried1765

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here in Ontario only ONE safety chain or cable is required..according to the regs I got last week from teh MTO
Canada has so many overkill rules/inspections, etc.,........ yet apparently ignores the obvious logic of this issue.
 
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fried1765

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Different states have different laws. I have lived in states that did not require the chains to be crossed.
Required or not.......it is simply an exercise in common sense to do so!
 
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GreensvilleJay

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so.. if 2 chains are better than 1, 4 is more better ??
you could make the same statement about securing a tractor to the trailer. 2 is probably the legal minimum, 4 'sounds' better, 6 might be perfect,oh yeah, here we need one for each bucket too.

In 5 decades of pulling all sorts of trailers with things on board using everything from caddy to jeeps to pickups over highways to real offroad 'roads', I've yet to lose a trailer. Not to say it doesn't happen but has to be very very rare, and I live next to the busiest highway system in Canada and the news never reports that. Did have an idiot drive a bigrig dump trailer INTO the Burlington Skyway Bridge few years back. Drunk as a skunk, OPP didn't test(open bottle in cab) , and word is he's driving again....
 

lynnmor

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B2601-1
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The reason that chains should be crossed is so one does not pull tight when making a sharp turn. The cradle thing, for the most part, is just an old wives tale that just won't go away. Kinda like you gotta place your battery on a wood board.

Now test your cradle idea by hooking up the chains as usual, then lower the tongue to near the ground, then push the trailer forward with the coupler under the hitch ball. In most cases the tongue will be solid on the ground.
 
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NCL4701

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Safety chains are like air bags and roll bars: last resort that should be present but preferably never actually used. Here, two are required for ball hitches; pintle hook depends on gross trailer weight whether required or not and I don’t recall the cut off at the moment; fifth wheel/ranch hitch not required.

Running two I’ve always crossed them so I can keep them short enough to not to be close to dragging yet not binding in turns. If I ever lose a trailer and it makes a cradle, swell. I’m crossing them regardless of cradling. Maybe not necessary, just know my trailers don’t bind in the tightest turns I can get them in and the chains aren’t dragging the ground so that’s what I’ll keep doing.

On the test suggested to pull the hitch pin, jet forward, and slam on the brakes: I’m not any more likely to do that than I am to slam my truck into a tree to make sure the air bag works. And I’m not going to think twice about pulling a trailer any more than I have the past 40 years.
 
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fried1765

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so.. if 2 chains are better than 1, 4 is more better ??
you could make the same statement about securing a tractor to the trailer. 2 is probably the legal minimum, 4 'sounds' better, 6 might be perfect,oh yeah, here we need one for each bucket too.

In 5 decades of pulling all sorts of trailers with things on board using everything from caddy to jeeps to pickups over highways to real offroad 'roads', I've yet to lose a trailer. Not to say it doesn't happen but has to be very very rare, and I live next to the busiest highway system in Canada and the news never reports that. Did have an idiot drive a bigrig dump trailer INTO the Burlington Skyway Bridge few years back. Drunk as a skunk, OPP didn't test(open bottle in cab) , and word is he's driving again....
Your luck with loose trailers is apparently a lot better than mine!

A tandem equipment trailer broke loose from a pickup somewhat ahead of me on US I-95 in Florida, at 75 MPH.
The 18 wheeler immediately ahead of me jackknifed, trying to avoid the loose trailer, and I subsequently hit the 18 wheeler, as it totally blocked the roadway.

YOU do not have to be the one to loose a trailer!
Someone else can,...... and a loose trailer could easily kill YOU!
A seat belt, and air bags saved my life!
 
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Henro

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A good friend of mine lost his son and two of his 3 grand kids (they were triplets) due to a wood chipper coming lose from the tow vehicle, and smashing head on into the Mini van the son was driving.

Apparently the chipper was not secured to the tow ball properly, and safety chains were not hooked up...

I know this is not the subject of the thread, but the thread did bring back a sad memory for me...:cry:
 
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Freeheeler

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I think I was 5 when I learned to visually check the hitch ball (and kick it to make sure it doesn't wiggle), make sure the latch catches and put the retainer pin in place, then cross the chains (wrapping if needed to keep from hitting the pavement. Then check the trailer tires and make sure the lights work. Didn't question it then, still do it every time I hook up, haven't had a mishap yet. Maybe it's luck, maybe it's good habits, most likely a bit of both
 
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jyoutz

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Several years ago, I had a bumper pull trailer with a 2” ball hitch. Mine was in the shop getting repairs, so the shop lent me a trailer. I pulled around the yard and the shop employee attached the trailer to my truck receiver hitch. I traveled over 250 miles with a loaded trailer helping my son move. On the way home with an empty trailer I was headed up the interstate and hit a bump at a bridge while traveling uphill. The trailer detached from the ball and was held by the chains while I pulled to the road side and stopped. Fortunately I was traveling uphill and I was dragging the trailer instead of it running into my truck. I discovered that the trailer had a 2 15/16” ball hitch, and I was pulling it with my 2” ball. Only the weight of the loaded trailer was keeping the hitch seated on the two small ball. I detached the trailer and traveled 30 miles to a Walmart to buy the correct ball size and all was good for the rest of the trip. Lessons learned: safety chains worked, and always inspect the trailer hook up yourself before traveling. And if it comes loose, make sure you’re traveling uphill. 😉
 

Vlach7

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Dec 16, 2021
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Frazier Park Ca
It really depends on the attachment points for that cradle chain theory to work, I just had a trailer detach at the best possible place, the crossed chains were not attached to the trailer and RV for that to work, also in the 200-300 ft for me to pull over and stop, one chain was worn thru and detached, the other had a little left before it was gone, we were so blessed this did not happen an hour earlier when we were coming down the Grapevine. How did it come off? The clip that holds against the ball was not tight enough, so while secured down it was able to pop off when we hit a bump. I know now how to tighten that nut so that won't happen again. Also, I rewelded the chains on with a thick metal plate under them to protect them if it were to happen again.
 

mcmxi

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You need to THINK about it.
I have thought about it ... do the math and it doesn't add up. Like so many old wives' tales.

If you're unable to set the chains up on a trailer to allow for tight turns without crossing the chains then perhaps you shouldn't be pulling a trailer.
 
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fried1765

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I have thought about it ... do the math and it doesn't add up. Like so many old wives' tales.

If you're unable to set the chains up on a trailer to allow for tight turns without crossing the chains then perhaps you shouldn't be pulling a trailer.
I respectfully disagree!
 
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mcmxi

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I respectfully disagree!
We all have different experiences and it's absolutely your right to disagree.

I've built trailers and have been pulling trailers for decades, and what I've learned is that a properly sized, quality receiver that's bolted to the frame of the tow vehicle, in combination with a quality hitch and quality coupler with good chains goes a long way to safe operation.

I only use B&W and Curt hitches on my F250, the three "serious" trailers have Demco couplers, the truck has a Titan Class V receiver properly bolted to the frame with Grade 8 hardware. I've NEVER had a trailer come off the coupler, NEVER!!!! I don't rely on someone else to hook up a trailer that I'm pulling and I do routine maintenance on the trailers.

The point is, a lot of the fairy tales and urban legends come from the experiences of Darwin award recipients that think that some magic bullet will cover their lazy, ignorant, cheap a$$es.