Thousands of individuals are injured, and others are killed, each year from unhitched or defectively hitched vehicle trailers. Victims of these catastrophic injuries and loved ones of these wrongful deaths may be entitled to reimbursement for their losses. A Missouri unhitched trailer accident attorney can help to win you the reimbursement you deserve.
If you are going to drive with a trailer hitched to the back of your vehicle, it is important that you perform the following safety inspection before each and every trip. Double check that:
- The hitch pin that secures the ball mount to the trailer receiver is intact.
- The spring bar hinges are tight with their safety clips in proper place.
- The coupler is completely secured.
- All safety chains are properly attached.
- The electrical plugs are properly installed.
Individuals towing trailers share similar safety concerns as RV drivers. But, a tow vehicle and trailer form a hinged vehicle, which presents several additional sets of concerns. Weight considerations are extremely important to safe towing, as the tow vehicle must be a proper sized match for the trailer. If the trailer is properly equipped, it can perform safely under a variety of conditions.
Ultimately, there are three basic types of trailers, and they differ in the way they are hitched:
- Conventional traveling trailers
- Motorcycle, tent, or cargo trailers
- Fifth-wheel trailers
Typically, the ball and the coupler hitch are used on a wide variety of tow vehicle and trailer combinations. The coupler hitch is just a ball attached to the rear of the tow vehicle and a socket at the tip of an A-frame, which is attached to the front of the trailer. This particular hitch is most commonly used on recreational trailers.
Heavier models, such as boat trailers or travel trailers, require a load-distributing hitch. These hitches use special types of equipment to distribute the heavy load to all axles of the tow vehicle and the trailers to help stabilize the tow vehicle. Some helpful terms that pertain to hitch adjustment and hitch performance on this type of hitch are:
- Receiver: The receiver is a hitch platform that is fitted to the tow vehicle itself.
- Ball Mount: The ball mount is a removable steel piece that fits into the receiver.
- Sway Control: This device lessens the pivoting motion between the vehicle and the hitch.
- Coupler: The coupler is the ball socket at the front end of the trailer that receives the hitch.
Tent, Motorcycle, or Cargo Trailers
There are numerous types of couplings between the towing vehicle and the trailer. These include:
- The ball and socket.
- The universal joint with a detachable pin.
- The ball with swivel.
- The pin with swivel.
If towing one of these types, the coupling you choose should be:
- Not binding, not able to slip, and not able to loosen.
- Easy to properly hook and unhook.
- Free moving.
Motorcycle riders who are towing a trailer should remember to drive in the center of the road, as they have to worry about the width of the trailer. To avoid a motorcycle crash, motorcycle riders should avoid the oil strip near the center of the roadway at busy intersections, in addition to uneven road surfaces and edges.
Fifth-wheel trailers are typically extremely stable, so not as much attention is paid to balance, weight limits, and hitching procedures. However, driver’s of fifth-wheel trailers should still pay attention to these factors. Fifth-wheel trailers are not as common as the trailer types listed above, because they lack space. The hitch occupies the truck bed’s center, so the hitch itself takes up around 20% of the trailer.
How to Weigh a Trailer
Trailers must be weighed to be sure that loads are properly distributed. To weigh a trailer, one should look for “Public Scales” in their area in the yellow pages or in an online search.
Missouri Defective Trailer Hitch Lawyer
If you or a family member has suffered a wrongful death or a catastrophic injury from a trailer hitch or defective product, please contact an experienced Missouri unhitched trailer attorney today at 314.409.7060 or toll free at 855.40.CRASH. Our aggressive legal team of accident investigators and experts are available to offer a free consultation, and ultimately to bring the wrongdoers to justice. In doing so, we will achieve the best results for you and your family. We look forward to serving you, and promise that we will never take a fee unless we win your case.