Outrageous Field & Stream Article:

December 09, 2011

Why You Should Have a Trailer Hitch, Even If You Don't Have a Boat


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Why You Should Have a Trailer Hitch, Even If You Don't Have a Boat


December 09, 2011

Why You Should Have a Trailer Hitch, Even If You Don't Have a Boat

by Joe Cermele

The other night while driving home from dinner with a friend, I pulled off the highway and came to the yield sign at the top of the ramp. At this particular spot, you're merging onto a road with heavy traffic, so I was forced to come to a stop and let the oncoming cars pass. As I was waiting for one last car to whiz by...crack! I get hit from behind and the truck jolts forward. I knew exactly what happened; the person waiting to merge behind me was watching the traffic, not the car in front of them (me). My buddy immediately started the "oh, man, that sucks" routine, but I wasn't too worried. "Ten bucks says there's no damage to the truck," I told him. "They, on the other hand, have a shiny chrome trailer ball in their radiator right now."

We pulled over and I broke out my flashlight for inspection. Sure enough, I didn't have a single scratch or dent or chip or bent panel...just a trailer hitch coated in white paint from the Audi that belonged to the nice lady who hit me. As for the Audi, well, it looked like someone put a .50 caliber round through the fender, which its owner was none too pleased about, but that's her problem. 

Obviously, if you get hit by someone doing 40mph, a trailer hitch won't make a lick of difference, but this is twice now I've been spared truck damage during little "oopsy" fender benders. Unfortunately the other instance was my fault. I backed into a parked car and took out the person's tail light. I paid for it, but once again, all I had was a mildly scratched hitch. 

If your truck already has a receiver, the $50 hitch and ball investment is worth it. Plus, even if you don't have a boat to pull, people will assume you do. It's kind of like those dudes that always have a guitar pick in their pocket even though they don't play guitar. They just think it looks cool when they're digging for change in line at the grocery store.

Comments (28)

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from snakeplisskin wrote 2 days 12 hours ago

I too have had the same thing happen to me. A very nice college girl wasn't paying attention and hit me and there was a perfect hole in the bumper of her Acura and not a scratch on the old Tahoe. Just a warning, I hunt in Illinois and you can actually get a ticket for having a trailer ball in the receiver if you aren't towing something. My lease partners are actually thinking of getting a lease just across the Ohio river in the great state of Kentucky for reasons like this. Illinois has some crazy regs when it comes to hunting and we have actually been getting harrasssed by the local warden. We aren't poachers and get treated like we are criminals.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from rock rat wrote 2 days 12 hours ago

Pintle hitch is cooler and gives larger protection.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MB915 wrote 2 days 11 hours ago

That’s the exact reason I always keep my trailer hitch attached. In a lot of areas where I need to park, it is parallel parking and people think that it’s ok to pull up till they bump the car, then reverse till they bump the other car’s bumper to get in their spot. Well needless to say when they do that to my truck, they get a nice scratch on their hood of bumped due to my trailer hitch. Serves them right.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ALJoe wrote 2 days 11 hours ago

Several years ago on a family vaction to the beach we were setting dead still at a redlight. All of the sudden we were smacked in the rearend by a young lady who must have been setting on the beach drinking all day. Long story short, my hitch had a tiny scratch on it while her little Mazda probably had several thousand dollars worth of damage.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ckRich wrote 2 days 11 hours ago

Great self portrait JC! I imagined you would be taller...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joe_Cermele wrote 2 days 11 hours ago

Ha!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 days 11 hours ago

Bang your knee on it once...

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from AmericanFishFinder wrote 2 days 11 hours ago

I am on my way out to my truck to put my hitch on right now. This is a great idea. Thanks for the post.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Huron wrote 2 days 10 hours ago

I keep my hitch on 365 for the same reason, gives me peace of mind from parking lot incidents, etc. The parts will rust more quickly from the winter/salt but that's fine with me.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from chsntail wrote 2 days 10 hours ago

Check the laws first.. it`s actually illegal here in NY to drive around with your reciever and ball on when not in use. Last yr, the state was desperate for $$$and were issuing a bunch of tickets

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fatkins76 wrote 2 days 10 hours ago

I always called my hitch a "redneck curb feeler". I lost count of how many times I've been tapped in traffic.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from whitefish wrote 2 days 9 hours ago

NICE LADY ,,,,,,,,NICE ASS smokey and the bandit

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from derik wrote 2 days 9 hours ago

I have a '91 chevy pick up and it's got a very solid bumper compared to what is put out nowadays. I was coming out of the store one evening and I saw the plastic taillight material all over the ground behind my truck and bumper. Not a scratch on my truck but someone lost a taillight and then some. They didn't even leave a note.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rob wrote 2 days 8 hours ago

Reading about stooopid protect yourself from yourself laws sure makes me glad I live in Montana.
Joe, great post. That's some funny stuff, and I never take my hitch off.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jeff4066 wrote 2 days 7 hours ago

That's the one thing I miss about my '79 Silverado.

It was the heavy version, with a extra-big steel step bumper. That truck got rear-ended (? three, four) times while I had it. Never scratched the paint.

But other people are right about checking the law. Some states have a protrude-past-the-bumper restriction.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Phil1227 wrote 2 days 6 hours ago

I usually take my hitch out because I got tired of hitting my knee on it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Blue Ox wrote 2 days 5 hours ago

I've banged my shins plenty of times on my hitch, but I'll never take it off, illinois be damned.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ronmelancon wrote 2 days 2 hours ago

Why are you doing this...your hitch is now not safe to tow and you should replace your damaged hitch...

Go to www.dangeroustrailers.org you need to know that every hitch has not been tested! In 2010 Alone 385 people have been killed by passenger cars that tow trailers...!!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ronmelancon wrote 2 days 2 hours ago

Right to the point....every one of you who tow are using a system that has not been tested...and you are liable for the injury's and destruction....www.dangeroustrailers.org
United States of America through the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) with respect to coupling requirements and manufacturers are not obliged to certify couplings. This approach is consistent with the US government’s principle of not getting involved in pre-market approval of vehicles or components."

Not good enough is it Ron. Your government forgets it is the people that vote them in not Acme Trailers or Ford motor company. No wonder you have a problem when manufacturers have more say than the thousands of victims lifes are worth.

ron

In 1996 the Federal Office of Road Safety reported
that between one and five Australian road fatalities
per year are caused by trailers separating from towing

Complacency Can Kill!
All couplings can accidentally uncouple. And your Country does nothing except fight you.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ronmelancon wrote 2 days 2 hours ago

Yes......in 10 states you can drive a trailer and not have ANY identification on it!!!!!!

It is like a terrorist shooting a missle at your car on the highway.

An unregistered, unispected and homemade trailer is terror on the highway.

Here are the families.........only our organization has kept track....

no GOVERNMENT AGENCY CARES...

You do!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oM1I-tDixzo

* 2 lifes

http://thehadenfamily.blogspot.com/

* 1 life

http://thefrommfamily.blogspot.com/

* 1 life....look at the video
* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJEXaSaLbOA
* The son made the video......

http://yorkcountycrimestoppers.blogspot.com/

* 1 life she died.....

NOBODY HAS PUT IT ALL TOGETHER EXCEPT US.... AND NOW

YOU!!!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 007 wrote 2 days 2 hours ago

It's also handy to throw a tow strap or chain around to tow or be towed out of a slick spot.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jackrandall wrote 2 days 50 min ago

Here's the way I see it. I pull 5,000 pounds regularly with my trailer hitch. If the dang hitch can withstand that abuse, taking a little paint off some housewives car is not gonna do a darn thing to compromise that hitch. Its probably stronger than everything else on my truck.

In my state you're not supposed to have them on if you don't have a trailer, but I'll take the $40 ticket any day. J walking is illegal too. I to have been spared rear damage when some nimrods rearended me. Great post Joe!!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Logan88 wrote 1 day 6 hours ago

Or you can live in northern Wisconsin and leave it in over the winter. The road salt has my trailer hitch rusted in so tight i couldn't beat it out with a good sized hammer and a torch. We took the pin out and hooked a chain to a tree and still couldn't get the thing out of there. Lucky for me everything in the yard is 2 inch.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Woods Walker wrote 1 day 5 hours ago

Great discussion! I, like Logan88, live in Northern Wisconsin and mine is also rusted tightly in place with salt. I thought I was the only one with this problem. I have carefully inspected the hitch and there is no other apparent damage to the hitch - it functions just fine other than I can not remove the hitch. Thus, if I had it to do over again, I would periodically remove the hitch and be sure it is kept well oiled.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bernie wrote 1 day 7 min ago

So it is illegal to have a trailer hitch on your pickup in Illinois and New York..what a surprise! Two states run into the red by years of being run by Democrats!

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from b8caster wrote 11 hours 6 min ago

Had the exact same thing happen to me last month. An 18-yr old girl driving a Toyota vs. my F-250's hitch. Guess who won? My hitch looks like yours now. Her car was wrecked pretty good.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Logan88 wrote 13 min 59 sec ago

Woods Walker what part of northern wi do you hail from

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Woods Walker wrote 2 sec ago

to Logan88 - Green Bay

0 Good Comment? | | Report
Click here to find out more!

Post a Comment

from buckhunter wrote 2 days 11 hours ago

Bang your knee on it once...

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from jackrandall wrote 2 days 50 min ago

Here's the way I see it. I pull 5,000 pounds regularly with my trailer hitch. If the dang hitch can withstand that abuse, taking a little paint off some housewives car is not gonna do a darn thing to compromise that hitch. Its probably stronger than everything else on my truck.

In my state you're not supposed to have them on if you don't have a trailer, but I'll take the $40 ticket any day. J walking is illegal too. I to have been spared rear damage when some nimrods rearended me. Great post Joe!!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from MB915 wrote 2 days 11 hours ago

That’s the exact reason I always keep my trailer hitch attached. In a lot of areas where I need to park, it is parallel parking and people think that it’s ok to pull up till they bump the car, then reverse till they bump the other car’s bumper to get in their spot. Well needless to say when they do that to my truck, they get a nice scratch on their hood of bumped due to my trailer hitch. Serves them right.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ALJoe wrote 2 days 11 hours ago

Several years ago on a family vaction to the beach we were setting dead still at a redlight. All of the sudden we were smacked in the rearend by a young lady who must have been setting on the beach drinking all day. Long story short, my hitch had a tiny scratch on it while her little Mazda probably had several thousand dollars worth of damage.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ckRich wrote 2 days 11 hours ago

Great self portrait JC! I imagined you would be taller...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Huron wrote 2 days 10 hours ago

I keep my hitch on 365 for the same reason, gives me peace of mind from parking lot incidents, etc. The parts will rust more quickly from the winter/salt but that's fine with me.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from derik wrote 2 days 9 hours ago

I have a '91 chevy pick up and it's got a very solid bumper compared to what is put out nowadays. I was coming out of the store one evening and I saw the plastic taillight material all over the ground behind my truck and bumper. Not a scratch on my truck but someone lost a taillight and then some. They didn't even leave a note.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Blue Ox wrote 2 days 5 hours ago

I've banged my shins plenty of times on my hitch, but I'll never take it off, illinois be damned.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 007 wrote 2 days 2 hours ago

It's also handy to throw a tow strap or chain around to tow or be towed out of a slick spot.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Logan88 wrote 1 day 6 hours ago

Or you can live in northern Wisconsin and leave it in over the winter. The road salt has my trailer hitch rusted in so tight i couldn't beat it out with a good sized hammer and a torch. We took the pin out and hooked a chain to a tree and still couldn't get the thing out of there. Lucky for me everything in the yard is 2 inch.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Woods Walker wrote 1 day 5 hours ago

Great discussion! I, like Logan88, live in Northern Wisconsin and mine is also rusted tightly in place with salt. I thought I was the only one with this problem. I have carefully inspected the hitch and there is no other apparent damage to the hitch - it functions just fine other than I can not remove the hitch. Thus, if I had it to do over again, I would periodically remove the hitch and be sure it is kept well oiled.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from snakeplisskin wrote 2 days 12 hours ago

I too have had the same thing happen to me. A very nice college girl wasn't paying attention and hit me and there was a perfect hole in the bumper of her Acura and not a scratch on the old Tahoe. Just a warning, I hunt in Illinois and you can actually get a ticket for having a trailer ball in the receiver if you aren't towing something. My lease partners are actually thinking of getting a lease just across the Ohio river in the great state of Kentucky for reasons like this. Illinois has some crazy regs when it comes to hunting and we have actually been getting harrasssed by the local warden. We aren't poachers and get treated like we are criminals.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from rock rat wrote 2 days 12 hours ago

Pintle hitch is cooler and gives larger protection.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joe_Cermele wrote 2 days 11 hours ago

Ha!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from AmericanFishFinder wrote 2 days 11 hours ago

I am on my way out to my truck to put my hitch on right now. This is a great idea. Thanks for the post.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chsntail wrote 2 days 10 hours ago

Check the laws first.. it`s actually illegal here in NY to drive around with your reciever and ball on when not in use. Last yr, the state was desperate for $$$and were issuing a bunch of tickets

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fatkins76 wrote 2 days 10 hours ago

I always called my hitch a "redneck curb feeler". I lost count of how many times I've been tapped in traffic.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from whitefish wrote 2 days 9 hours ago

NICE LADY ,,,,,,,,NICE ASS smokey and the bandit

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from rob wrote 2 days 8 hours ago

Reading about stooopid protect yourself from yourself laws sure makes me glad I live in Montana.
Joe, great post. That's some funny stuff, and I never take my hitch off.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jeff4066 wrote 2 days 7 hours ago

That's the one thing I miss about my '79 Silverado.

It was the heavy version, with a extra-big steel step bumper. That truck got rear-ended (? three, four) times while I had it. Never scratched the paint.

But other people are right about checking the law. Some states have a protrude-past-the-bumper restriction.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Phil1227 wrote 2 days 6 hours ago

I usually take my hitch out because I got tired of hitting my knee on it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ronmelancon wrote 2 days 2 hours ago

Why are you doing this...your hitch is now not safe to tow and you should replace your damaged hitch...

Go to www.dangeroustrailers.org you need to know that every hitch has not been tested! In 2010 Alone 385 people have been killed by passenger cars that tow trailers...!!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ronmelancon wrote 2 days 2 hours ago

Yes......in 10 states you can drive a trailer and not have ANY identification on it!!!!!!

It is like a terrorist shooting a missle at your car on the highway.

An unregistered, unispected and homemade trailer is terror on the highway.

Here are the families.........only our organization has kept track....

no GOVERNMENT AGENCY CARES...

You do!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oM1I-tDixzo

* 2 lifes

http://thehadenfamily.blogspot.com/

* 1 life

http://thefrommfamily.blogspot.com/

* 1 life....look at the video
* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJEXaSaLbOA
* The son made the video......

http://yorkcountycrimestoppers.blogspot.com/

* 1 life she died.....

NOBODY HAS PUT IT ALL TOGETHER EXCEPT US.... AND NOW

YOU!!!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from b8caster wrote 11 hours 6 min ago

Had the exact same thing happen to me last month. An 18-yr old girl driving a Toyota vs. my F-250's hitch. Guess who won? My hitch looks like yours now. Her car was wrecked pretty good.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Logan88 wrote 13 min 59 sec ago

Woods Walker what part of northern wi do you hail from

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Woods Walker wrote 2 sec ago

to Logan88 - Green Bay

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ronmelancon wrote 2 days 2 hours ago

Right to the point....every one of you who tow are using a system that has not been tested...and you are liable for the injury's and destruction....www.dangeroustrailers.org
United States of America through the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) with respect to coupling requirements and manufacturers are not obliged to certify couplings. This approach is consistent with the US government’s principle of not getting involved in pre-market approval of vehicles or components."

Not good enough is it Ron. Your government forgets it is the people that vote them in not Acme Trailers or Ford motor company. No wonder you have a problem when manufacturers have more say than the thousands of victims lifes are worth.

ron

In 1996 the Federal Office of Road Safety reported
that between one and five Australian road fatalities
per year are caused by trailers separating from towing

Complacency Can Kill!
All couplings can accidentally uncouple. And your Country does nothing except fight you.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bernie wrote 1 day 7 min ago

So it is illegal to have a trailer hitch on your pickup in Illinois and New York..what a surprise! Two states run into the red by years of being run by Democrats!

-1 G
 

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