What does a runaway trailer really do?

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    Default What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Say you have functioning brakes and breakaway kit and the unthinkable happens: the trailer breaks loose someway. The trailer front will dig into the highway, the brakes will lock but I can't imagine it will come to an orderly stop. And if it did how safe is a "parked" trailer on the highway? It seems to me that with or without a breakaway kit the trailer is gonna do who knows what before it stops. Either way its ugly. Has anyone seen this happen or worse has it happened to you?
    Bob
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    I have never had it happen but I know of a few folks that it has happened to. One came out good the other not so.

    I always make sure that my brake away cable is just a tad shorter than the safety chains that way if it comes off the ball it would hopefully engage the brakes but keep it chained to my truck so that I can control it to a safe stop.

    What I dont agree with is no safety chains on a 5th wheel. I seen a Dodge truck pulling a large 3 axle toy hauler when it came lose. Was not pretty at all. Tore the tailgate right off the truck then the trailer veered off the road with the crown and took out a telephone pole. It was a total loss.

    Chris
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    From personal experience, it went into somebody's front yard, the right front corner hit a oak tree that was at least 3 feet in diameter. 4 feet of 6 in channel ended up sticking out of the other side of the tree, after hitting it pretty much dead on. A local guy with a huge IH 4wd couldn't pull it out. He cut it off on each side. It had been the side frame of the trailer. I paid the homeowner $150 for damages. I was very, very, lucky. I was doing 55 on a 2 lane when it let go. If it had hit a car or a person, I'd have had that on my conscience forever. I had the trailer repaired, it cost about $500. This was about 12 years ago. I had used that trailer for about 10 years, without safety chains, reasoning that all I ever did was short hauls in the neighborhood, usually hay. I had rented a trencher a couple of weeks earlier, it needed a 2 in ball. I forgot to change it back, the trailer used a 2 & 5/16 ball. All in all, it was a cheap lesson. It could have been a whole lot worse

    Btw, the darn tree is still standing. It is less than 20 feet from the house.
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    I had this happen at low speed (once, thank God) the chains keep it behind you, so it your problem and if all goes well no one gets hurt except maybe your own truck which should be the last concern..The breakaway locks the breaks and all heck break loose...The tongue may fall on the chain cross catch (maybe,unlikely) ..The jack will be destroyed most likely...But it is all most likely recoverable if you react correctly...

    Best offense on that is a good defense. Make sure the chains are hooked up correctly and the break away works. Sadly, the break away is probably the most ignored thing that I've seen...A battery and a cable, out of sight, out of mind. I test mine at every hookup. I also jack the back of the truck up after hookup to test the latch..OCD maybe, but it has worked for me since my unfortunate incident 10+ years ago.
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Happened to me once, but I'm a safety nut, so I had enough strong chain to hold it all together. For me the safety chain is you first and best defense if things go sideways.

    My thoughts on trailer brakes are that at least the trailer won't travel into the other lane if you're on a four lane highway. If you're on a 2 lane, all bets are off.

    I agree that the brakes would just cause another different problem, but I think better to have them than not.

    Lets say you have a trailer that tracks perfect, and it jumps off the hitch, and let's say the balance is suck that a lot or eight if off the front hitch. Not the trailer would travel quite a distance with the tongue in the air.
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Quote Originally Posted by MillWeld View Post
    Say you have functioning brakes and breakaway kit and the unthinkable happens: the trailer breaks loose someway. The trailer front will dig into the highway, the brakes will lock but I can't imagine it will come to an orderly stop. And if it did how safe is a "parked" trailer on the highway? It seems to me that with or without a breakaway kit the trailer is gonna do who knows what before it stops. Either way its ugly. Has anyone seen this happen or worse has it happened to you?
    Bob
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    Not exactly what condition you asked about but close....
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    I had an old dodge pickup with the gooseneck stock trailer in tow. Just dropped off steers to market, and headen home. My left front steering tire blew out, the truck sharply veered to the left, when I hit the shoulder the rim dug in flipping the truck, and pulled the flip up gooseneck ball right out of the bed. The trailer went skidding on the twin jacks to the other side of the road, and into the ditch. The guy behind me stopped to check on me, and said it all happened within 5 seconds. The truck was a total loss, the trailer was fine, but needed new tires for being locked up for around 200 feet. I walked away with a broken thumb and a stiff body. I'm glad there wasn't anybody around me, and the only guy behind me was a safe distance. I couldn't imagine not having a functioning break away device.
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    I saw it happen once. A guy was towing a maybe 19' ski/fish boat on a single axle trailer. He approached an intersection where there was a major crown in the road. That hitch popped right off. The boat/trailer actually passed him on his right, kind of riding in a gutter next to a sidewalk(in front of a small store). Along that side walk was a fire hydrant, and a telephone pole; missed those by inches. The sidewalk ended at the end of the stores parking lot; next door was a vacant lot. The trailer followed the gutter, which ended into a swale. The trailer kinda followed the swale for a short distance, before it slightly veered in to the vacant lot and came to a stop. Guy was going about 40mph; that boat must have gone basically straight for 250 feet at least.

    I am still amazed, 20 years later, that the boat/trailer didn't veer wildly or spin or something. It just pretty much went straight.

    I have no idea why it happened, safety chains etc.
    RobertN in Shingle Springs Calif
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Seen this one time a guy was pulling a home made trailer made from a box of a pick up. He had that loaded as full as possible with wood he was going south on I 75 I was going North when the trailer came off the ball it tried to pass him on the left he ended up turning his truck into it and sent it into the median you can only imagine how big my eyes got when I saw this thing coming across the median. Lucky for me there was a deep ditch in the middle and the tongue buried it self and the trailer came over on its top. Needless to say at the next rest area I had to stop and change my shorts. I will never forget that and always double check my connections before hitting the road towing any trailer
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Witnessed this twice, first was a portable air compressor with a pintle hitch, truck had a standard ball, no safty chains, but had a breakaway. Truck entered the interstate on a curve, the trailer came off, brakes locked and it crashed into the center concrete barrier, right in front of us.
    The second time, we were next to a guy with a large boat, with tripple axels, in an S-10 pickup, 1 7/8" ball, 2" trailer hitch, he hit a dip at 35 mph. By the time he stoped, the jack was torn off, and the back of the truck was all beat up, his wife got out and chewed his @ss, the whole time she was helping him lift it up. I was sure glad he had safty chains, the break away cable and the wiring had been dragging prior to coming unhitched. Its amazing what some people will risk when towing. Stay safe and watch out for the idiots!

    Dave

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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    I can tell you first hand what a loose trailer will do.

    A guy was towing a small two wheel trailer loaded with used lumber when the trailer disconnected. The trailer went into the oncoming lane where it hit a pickup truck head on. The sudden deceleration of the trailer stopped it but not the lumber which was still travelling at 50+mph. The lumber slid up the hood of the truck, broke out the windshield and splintered on impact. The driver of the truck took the full impact of the lumber and splinters in his face and neck. He lived but endured several surgeries to repair the damage to his face, skull and neck.

    It seems that dog chains and S hooks (and an improperly sized ball) do not manage to replace certified safety chains. The litigation went on for years.
    RB
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    I always make sure that my brake away cable is just a tad shorter than the safety chains that way if it comes off the ball it would hopefully engage the brakes but keep it chained to my truck so that I can control it to a safe stop.
    That is a good idea, DP. I will do that today.

    I also jack the back of the truck up after hookup to test the latch.
    Another good idea, timswi. (Do you mean jack the trailer up til it lifts the truck rear?). I may not go that far but I will start testing the hookup w/ the trailer jack.

    Bob
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    One of our construction crews at work witnessed something like this about 5 years ago. They had a lane closed doing roadway maintenance, and a flagger stopping traffic. A young couple went through the zone on a motorcycle in the apprx middle of the line of traffic. Once it was apprx. 500ft outside of the zone, the motorcycle was struck head on by a 6 inch towable water pump that had become disconnected from an oncoming pickup truck. The pump was being towed on a pintle, with no safety chains, and no safety lock pin in the pintle. Both people on the motorcycle were killed.
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamondpilot View Post
    I have never had it happen but I know of a few folks that it has happened to. One came out good the other not so.

    I always make sure that my brake away cable is just a tad shorter than the safety chains that way if it comes off the ball it would hopefully engage the brakes but keep it chained to my truck so that I can control it to a safe stop.

    What I dont agree with is no safety chains on a 5th wheel. I seen a Dodge truck pulling a large 3 axle toy hauler when it came lose. Was not pretty at all. Tore the tailgate right off the truck then the trailer veered off the road with the crown and took out a telephone pole. It was a total loss.

    Chris
    I agree.. safety chains are a godsend. In fact.. if your safety chain setup is correct and legal.. it would take catastrophic hitch failure really for the deal to split.. I'll have to check my reese adapter for the presence of places to hook safety chains. I know my 'the goose' reese adapter has them for the GN.. etc.
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Interesting you mention this. You would think safety chains would be required, since you can have riders in a 5th wheel(if you have communication to the tow vehicle).

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamondpilot View Post
    What I dont agree with is no safety chains on a 5th wheel. I seen a Dodge truck pulling a large 3 axle toy hauler when it came lose. Was not pretty at all. Tore the tailgate right off the truck then the trailer veered off the road with the crown and took out a telephone pole. It was a total loss.

    Chris
    RobertN in Shingle Springs Calif
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Quote Originally Posted by RobertN View Post
    Interesting you mention this. You would think safety chains would be required, since you can have riders in a 5th wheel(if you have communication to the tow vehicle).
    Those of you that use the Reese hitch of the older type be sure and look at the base attachment hook up. Some have developed cracks and will allow the reese hitch to wobble in the bed of pickup.
    When I found mine Reese gave me new base plates with no charge. Also I painted the jaw of the hitch red so when connecting and checking have to see red to be sure it is correct.
    Seldom see the safety brake wire connected to the truck Guess takes to much trouble to connect a light steel cable. to a hook.
    Have always wondered why the pins are so small that holds the 5th whl. to bed of pick-up.
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    are you saying your bed rails got loose? I retightened mine on my 450 one time.. been good since then..
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    happened to me. the pintle came off on a brand new trailer while hauling 6 ton payload.My fault for not looking over the trailer. The landing gear had a skid plate on it so it glided nicely on the black top. The breakaway worked great it pulled the truck hard and kept the trailer fairly straight while pulling the truck with the saftey chains. If everything on your equipment is working properly, you should have a nice experience i had. I felt it come off for sure but at no time did i panick. this was a 20 foot trailer strapped to a heavy duty dodge truck at 40 mph. Samething happened to someone else at work with a triaxle dump truck pulling a case backhoe. I didnt see it happen nor was i there but the driver told me it scared the piss out of him and he panick and slammed on breaks causing load to hit him in the ***. no damage was done to anything fortunately
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soundguy View Post
    are you saying your bed rails got loose? I retightened mine on my 450 one time.. been good since then..
    Soundguy not loose broken between the slots made to hold the pins.
    When showed a Reese dealer He went inside and came out with complete new package. and after exchanging he sent the rails to Reese for payment.
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    I didn't see it, but I heard it as it happened in front of a home I owned... Guy towing a semi rigid inflateable boat in a single axle trailer took the long bend in front of my home at over 110mph. Boat was being towed by a pickup. The guy lost it on the turn and spun the truck and trailer. Snapped the hitch off the truck and he ended up colliding with the boat which came off the trailer and ended up in front of him in the road. Sounded like the end of the world... I think he hit the boat 2 or 3 times. I ran outside and the entire rigid section of the hull had been shattered. The trailer had rolled and was a lot smaller than the original size. The rear of the pickup was smashed from the trailer flailing around and the front from hitting the hull of the boat. The cops were talking to the driver for a very long time. I got a rake and a broom out and we cleaned up the road. I think the driver sobered up in jail..

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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    wow.. actually broken between the slots.. wowzers!
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    I have never towed a trailer without safety chains, and the chains I use have a quick link to attach to the hitch or there are rubber retainers on the S-hooks to prevent them from coming loose. Both my travel trailer and UT have a front jack, and there is a foot on the jacks I leave about 3 inches from the road surface to prevent the trailer tongue from dropping to the road should for some reason the chains fail. Not sure if anyone has ever seen this website:

    Dangerous Trailers.org
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    almost makes you want to put rollers on the front leading edge of your trailers..
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soundguy View Post
    almost makes you want to put rollers on the front leading edge of your trailers..
    My UT jack can be fitted with with either a skid or dolly wheel by removing and replacing a pin but my thoughts are if the trailer is going to be riding on the front jack better to have some friction than have it free rolling and bouncing off the tow vehicle underside.
    Good judgement comes from experience, and I will sadly admit that too much of my experience came from bad judgement.

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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    if it's off the ball, it's being drug.. and is likely back at the limits of the safety chain.. menain it shouldn't be bouncing off the underside of the tow vehicle.. unless you hits was somehow way under the tow vahicle..
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soundguy View Post
    if it's off the ball, it's being drug.. and is likely back at the limits of the safety chain.. menain it shouldn't be bouncing off the underside of the tow vehicle.. unless you hits was somehow way under the tow vahicle..
    What about when you try to stop the tow vehicle and the trailer is unbraked? It's gonna keep moving ahead and bang off the underside. Hitch on my Lesabre is well under the car and I have to use safety chains longer than I would prefer to attach it to the loops.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails What does a runaway trailer really do?-031.jpg  
    Good judgement comes from experience, and I will sadly admit that too much of my experience came from bad judgement.

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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Quote Originally Posted by MillWeld View Post
    I always make sure that my brake away cable is just a tad shorter than the safety chains that way if it comes off the ball it would hopefully engage the brakes but keep it chained to my truck so that I can control it to a safe stop.
    That is a good idea, DP. I will do that today.

    I also jack the back of the truck up after hookup to test the latch.
    Another good idea, timswi. (Do you mean jack the trailer up til it lifts the truck rear?). I may not go that far but I will start testing the hookup w/ the trailer jack.

    Bob
    I jack it up until the back of the truck starts coming up a few of inches..I don't get carried away..I also check that the coupler didnt roll up..I think that's what happened in my case, not really sure though.
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Quote Originally Posted by JDgreen227 View Post
    What about when you try to stop the tow vehicle and the trailer is unbraked? It's gonna keep moving ahead and bang off the underside. Hitch on my Lesabre is well under the car and I have to use safety chains longer than I would prefer to attach it to the loops.
    why would you wnt an un-braked trailer? i personally wouldn't use one myself...

    i guess if you do have an unbraked trailer.. then just let it skid. it's going to be a light / light duty trailer anyway.. especially if it's on a class I hitch, and light enough to not have to have brakes by law..

    ( edit : or is that a class II hitch.. my lil moble device screen is so small I can't tell .. I know it's not a class III or IV )
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soundguy View Post
    why would you wnt an un-braked trailer? i personally wouldn't use one myself...

    i guess if you do have an unbraked trailer.. then just let it skid. it's going to be a light / light duty trailer anyway.. especially if it's on a class I hitch, and light enough to not have to have brakes by law..
    I agree..I also have a 5x10 utility trailer with metal sides...Goes around 1200# empty with a gross of 2900#...If it got loose, it wouldn't be good..Single axle and no breaks.

    It serves it's purpose but I think I'll use my tandem most of the time now that I have one.
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Actually.. I'll call 'my bad' on myself for that comment. I origionally wasn't even considering an unbraked trailer. i do realize there are many of the smaller sub 5000# single axle jobs out there that won't have brakes, and COULD get under the tow vehicle. I'm so used tot he larger ones i just didn't even think of the lil ones.. so my appology to JDgreen227... you bring up a perfectly valid point.
    1. #31
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      Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

      Quote Originally Posted by Soundguy View Post
      why would you wnt an un-braked trailer? i personally wouldn't use one myself...

      i guess if you do have an unbraked trailer.. then just let it skid. it's going to be a light / light duty trailer anyway.. especially if it's on a class I hitch, and light enough to not have to have brakes by law..

      ( edit : or is that a class II hitch.. my lil moble device screen is so small I can't tell .. I know it's not a class III or IV )
      Class II, 3500 lb. limit and real overkill as tow rating on the car is 1,000 pounds. But it didn't cost much more than a Class I.
      Good judgement comes from experience, and I will sadly admit that too much of my experience came from bad judgement.

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      Have you heard the expression: "Jack of all trades but master of none?" Yup, that's me !!!
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      Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

      Mea culpa. Was towing a larger flat bed trailer with the wrong ball size. 50Mph hit a dip in the road that launched the trailer off of the hitch. The break away activated the electric brakes, the trailer dug into the pavement which slowed it abruptly and launched the battery for the break away, and both chains broke. I kept the trailer behind me and used my rig to stop it. Thank God I didn't kill someone!
    3. #33
      Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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      Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

      Quote Originally Posted by JDgreen227 View Post
      Class II, 3500 lb. limit and real overkill as tow rating on the car is 1,000 pounds. But it didn't cost much more than a Class I.
      the more i looked at it i was thinking class II that's why i edited. it didn't look like the flat strap.. even on a small screen.. once the ole eyes focused. a tounge lock might help.. they are a flat tab that basically keeps the trailer tounge over the ball.. won't let it pop up and off. I've seent hem sold at truck stops.

      even if the flip down tension part of the tounge fails.. the flat tab overhead keep it on.

      hate to imagine a trailer coming off a hitch.. even in a good case you just know soemting ain't gonna end well..
    4. #34
      Super Member k0ua's Avatar
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      Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

      I don't have any towing experience, but I can tell you what I saw about 40 years ago in the other half of a divided highway. We were west bound, and I noticed up ahead a large rooster tail of sparks shooting up maybe 30 or 40 feet into the air. This was the tongue of an eastbound large air compressor trailer digging into the concrete. The 1 ton truck that was towing it, was very quickly moving out ahead of the trailer. when he was maybe 50 to 75 feet in front of the trailer, he must of noticed it was no longer hooked up. The driver started to slow down, to "catch" the trailer under the back of the truck. But before he could catch it, the trailer must have hit a pot hole or something, as it launched end over end, as the tongue dug in and instantly the trailer was completely airborne with all sorts of things coming out of the doors that flew open. I suppose they were tools or something. It tumbled over a couple of times, and by that time I was looking out the back window of our car (I was not driving) as it all disappeared over the crest of a hill. In my opinion the trailer went mostly straight down the road by itself, and the guy probably could have "caught" it in a couple more seconds if it hadn't dug in.

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    5. #35
      Elite Member timswi's Avatar
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      Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

      Quote Originally Posted by k0ua View Post
      I don't have any towing experience, but I can tell you what I saw about 40 years ago in the other half of a divided highway. We were west bound, and I noticed up ahead a large rooster tail of sparks shooting up maybe 30 or 40 feet into the air. This was the tongue of an eastbound large air compressor trailer digging into the concrete. The 1 ton truck that was towing it, was very quickly moving out ahead of the trailer. when he was maybe 50 to 75 feet in front of the trailer, he must of noticed it was no longer hooked up. The driver started to slow down, to "catch" the trailer under the back of the truck. But before he could catch it, the trailer must have hit a pot hole or something, as it launched end over end, as the tongue dug in and instantly the trailer was completely airborne with all sorts of things coming out of the doors that flew open. I suppose they were tools or something. It tumbled over a couple of times, and by that time I was looking out the back window of our car (I was not driving) as it all disappeared over the crest of a hill. In my opinion the trailer went mostly straight down the road by itself, and the guy probably could have "caught" it in a couple more seconds if it hadn't dug in.

      James K0UA
      Some moron around here was towing an air compressor and couldn't be bothered with saftey chains on a pintle...The compressor came off and killed most of the family in a minivan...I believe he's cooling his heels in jail, just where he belongs...We don't need people like that out here. An accident is one thing, that's another.
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      Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

      I'm assuming I forgot to tighten the hitch on a trailer made from an old 3/4 ton, which was carrying about 5000# of gravel. Went over a bump and the trailer came off the ball. I don't know if the brakes came on but I was soon aware of a problem and managed to stop it fairly quickly while the safety chains kept it behind my truck.
    7. #37
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      Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

      I run double safety chains on my bigger trailers and use those nut type links for them, never liked "s" hooks for safety chains.
    8. #38
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      Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

      Quote Originally Posted by Fixemall View Post
      I run double safety chains on my bigger trailers and use those nut type links for them, never liked "s" hooks for safety chains.
      What always worreis me is the people who have a "Quick Link" and hook up their trailer chains to it without tightening the "nut".
      That will cut the rating to 1/4 of what it would otherwise be IMO.

      Aaron Z
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    9. #39
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      Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

      Quote Originally Posted by aczlan View Post
      What always worreis me is the people who have a "Quick Link" and hook up their trailer chains to it without tightening the "nut".
      That will cut the rating to 1/4 of what it would otherwise be IMO.

      Aaron Z
      I use the quick links myself but have never really thought about the loss of strength by not fully tightening the nut on the threads...although I always close the ones I use fully. Last time I purchased one the size was 5/16" and the rating was 1920 pounds. If I had a method of testing one I would report on the strength difference.
      Good judgement comes from experience, and I will sadly admit that too much of my experience came from bad judgement.

      A true craftsman is someone who does his very best work on a task or project, even if nobody else will notice sloppy workmanship or care if the job was done well.

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    10. #40
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      Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

      Quote Originally Posted by JDgreen227 View Post
      I use the quick links myself but have never really thought about the loss of strength by not fully tightening the nut on the threads...although I always close the ones I use fully. Last time I purchased one the size was 5/16" and the rating was 1920 pounds. If I had a method of testing one I would report on the strength difference.
      I can tell you that a pair of 3/8's links will bend if left open when lifting a Volvo D24Tic Turbodiesel engine with a ZF 4HP22 transmission attached to it (probably less than 700# total as the D24T weighs ~470#).

      Aaron Z
      If mankind minus one were of one opinion, then mankind is no more justified in silencing the one than the one - if he had the power - would be justified in silencing mankind.
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Here is what one runaway trailer did moving slowly. Imagine what it could go if it came lose at 55MPH: Smashed GN trailer into back of my 5058M

    Aaron Z
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fixemall View Post
    I run double safety chains on my bigger trailers and use those nut type links for them, never liked "s" hooks for safety chains.
    i don't like s hooks either.. i either like the grab hooks with the keepers or the lockable links.
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    These stories are really helpful to me. I have a trailer and sawmill that I tow in my log salvaging passion. As I was towing the 3500 lb mill last time, I couldn't remember if I had inserted the locking pin in the hitch. I pulled over at a wide spot and sure enough I had forgotten. There was no consequence but it certainly was unsafe practice. No matter how tired I am at the end of a job, my hope is these stories will come to mind and put me in a safety conscience state.
  4. #44
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Quote Originally Posted by aczlan View Post
    Here is what one runaway trailer did moving slowly. Imagine what it could go if it came lose at 55MPH: Smashed GN trailer into back of my 5058M

    Aaron Z
    not much since the towing vehicle would be going same speed and have a breakaway hook up on it. that was at a stand still to stop trailer from going down hill
    2005 and 2008 Border Collies (My two best friends)

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    Default

    By law you don't have to have safety chains on a 5th wheel. Big rigs don't have them or anywhere to attach them. But the majority of truckers check their hitch regularly. I have had a hitch fail. Luckily I was on the company yard and was grabbing a truck on the yard to shuttle some trailers since mine was in the shop. I dropped the trailer and pulled out. Got out to complete my checks and noticed the whole 5th wheel plate missing. Looked under the front of the trailer and it was still attached. The top of the pin retainers had failed on both sides and the trailer had been held on by gravity. Just fyi, you can't see the pins with a trailer on the truck, and barely with it off. Had to go to the shop and get a mechanic with a forklift and chain to get the 5th wheel plate off. Luckily the normal driver of the truck didn't leave when he got the load and just hooked to it.
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    I came around a blind turn on the way home at night to just about hit a semi trailer dropped in the road. The pin had come out the top of the 5th wheel plate and dropped onto the landing gear and belly (it was a chip trailer). The driver had lost all his connections including lights and was working madly to try to catch the trailer with the front edge of the hitch plate to drag the trailer off the road.

    I didn't take the time to talk to him before I ran back to block traffic.
  7. #47
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    where were his 3 triangle sets?
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    I'm not sure he was thinking straight as the trailer was blocking both lanes, I'm guessing he figured he could hook it faster than he could get some triangles set up, which to befair, there is a real risk he could have got hit going back to set them up.
  9. #49
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    I'm guessing the triangles would have been #1 priority.

    We take risks waking up and getting out of bed every day.

    leaving a staleld trailer around a blind curve, blocking traffic , un marked with hazard markings to indicate such.. IMHO.. would have been a liability opening big enough to float a battleship thru for his company and himself. not to mention the FDOT issues...

    At work.. even if we have a truck broke down on the ROADSIDE we deploy triangles immediately as the ROW is blocked ... that said.. i'm sure some co's have a different level of action/tolerance when it comes to dot and libaility...etc
  10. #50
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soundguy View Post
    I'm guessing the triangles would have been #1 priority.

    We take risks waking up and getting out of bed every day.

    leaving a staleld trailer around a blind curve, blocking traffic , un marked with hazard markings to indicate such.. IMHO.. would have been a liability opening big enough to float a battleship thru for his company and himself. not to mention the FDOT issues...

    At work.. even if we have a truck broke down on the ROADSIDE we deploy triangles immediately as the ROW is blocked ... that said.. i'm sure some co's have a different level of action/tolerance when it comes to dot and libaility...etc
    Soundguy, I drove commercial vehicles for 31 years and if had been in the same situation as the driver in that post with the loose trailer, I doubt if I would have taken the time to set out triangles myself. And IMO the vast majority of drivers would not even see the triangles, and only a few that did would actually know what they meant.

    It's just my biased opinion, but I have long thought instead of red triangles, they should use something with REAL VISIBILITY such as the SMV signs required on tractors.
    Good judgement comes from experience, and I will sadly admit that too much of my experience came from bad judgement.

    A true craftsman is someone who does his very best work on a task or project, even if nobody else will notice sloppy workmanship or care if the job was done well.

    Have you heard the expression: "Jack of all trades but master of none?" Yup, that's me !!!

  1. #51
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    I agree.. the hi viz smv types are easier to see.

    but leaving an unsuspecting driver to crash into a rodblock around ablind curve is just unfathomable..

    that's why you are suposed to put up signal devices before the curve...
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    The trailer at least was owned by a large trucking company here, I'm not sure if it was a company driver/truck or a contracted driver.

    Related to the original question,
    1) Saw the results of car trailer loaded with engine blocks come unhitched at 70 mph. It broke the chains and there were engine blocks, busted pieces of exhausts and intakes and fluids all over the road for a good 1/2 mile past where the trailer stopped upside down. It look like a half dozen small blocks lost? The truck was in the ditch, I think the trailer got swaying before dumping/flipping.

    2) Neighbour had a small trailer come unhitched from his old full size blazer, it had lift on the tongue from how he loaded it. The tongue came off the ball to the limit of the chains, but cyclicly jerked denting hit tailgate before hit hit hte brakes and it broke out his back window. No trailer brakes on the that one.
  3. #53
    Platinum Member yelbike's Avatar
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Never lost the trailer but years ago I had just fully refurbished a small cargo mate trailer 52" x 52". On the first camping trip we headed out on the trans canada highway. We were about 30 miles from home when my wife turns to me all of a sudden and asks "whats that noise?" I check my driver side mirror for the trailer, every was fine except the tire was about10" to the side of the fender. I knocked off the cruise control and pull to the shoulder, but the tire kept going and going. It crossed the center ditch and laid down on the shoulder of the on coming lanes but without crossing them. It must have rolled on its own for nearly 2000' before coming to a rest. I guess I forgot to torque the wheel nuts.. I was able to recover the tire, but what do you do without lug nuts?? Well I stole two from the other side and headed back home. Somehow I never forgot to torque and retorque since.
    Last edited by yelbike; 09-05-2012 at 10:16 PM. Reason: Hook on fonix studant!
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    It's bad enough in a car, or pickup, but as a motorcycle rider too, some of these stories scare the bejeebies out of me!
    RobertN in Shingle Springs Calif
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Years ago I saw the results of when one of those small camper trailers came totally unhooked from the tow vehicle...it veered off to the right and hit a highway access delineation light standard and sheered it off just above the break-a-way base portion of the standard. It was roughly the size of this one.
    Another time I saw where a heavy duty trailer with tandem axles and duals came loose from the large tandem truck towing it...the part of the vehicle that had the pintle and the safety chains attached to it, a honking big hunk of channel iron, broke off the truck and the trailer hit the ditch on a curve. The trailer had a full load of concrete culverts on it, 8 feet long and about 4 feet in diameter. Of course when it hit the ditch it dug in and flipped and the chains holding the culverts down broke. One culvert ended up about a hundred yards farther down the road than the trailer made it. If it had broke free another hundred yards farther down than it did, the culvert would have ended up in a combination roadside gasbar/restaurant.

    Culverts like these and a truck with a Hiab crane on the back like this one has. Can't find a pick of a trailer like the one that crashed...
  6. #56
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    I had my little 4 x 8 motorcycle trailer come off. The trailer only weighs about 500# empty, and no brakes. The trailer receiver jumped off the ball of the hitch. Fortunately, I had only gone about a mile down the road and don't really know how far I had been dragging the empty trailer down the road.

    The trailer had a spare tire mounted on the tongue and simply dropped down sliding on the spare. I did have safety chains on it and came to a slow controlled stop. Trailer did come forward a bit, but not underneath the rear bumper. No harm done other than giving me a spare with one completely flat side.

    I went down to the auto parts shop the next day and bought a new ball receiver and had it welded onto the tongue of the trailer. Upon inspecting the old ball receiver, I found that it had simply worn out over the years and wasn't locking down solid.

    I don't even want to think of what 'might have happened' should the safety chains given away or the trailer started fish-tailing. That certainly could have been a bad day for me and perhaps some innocent person coming down the road.
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    I had a trailer "Lift Off" last week. Forgot to secure the hitch on the 24 foot GN flatbed. When I drove the tractor onto the rear ramp, the trailer reared up & off the GN ball. Could have broken the rear cab window but got everything halted in time. Cribbed the trailer in the raised position and backed the tractor off. I learned to block the ramps and lock the hitch in the future.
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Please go to Dangerous Trailers.org and take note All Hitches being used and your so called defective safety systems have NEVER been tested to a Bational Standard. See what a loose runaway boat trailer did to a Six Year old. Facebook. Prayers for Natalie. Can you afford Amillion dollars in medical bills. Every loose trailer is preventable had we have better and modern safety systems that work
  9. #59
    Super Member JDgreen227's Avatar
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Melancon View Post
    Please go to Dangerous Trailers.org and take note All Hitches being used and your so called defective safety systems have NEVER been tested to a Bational Standard. See what a loose runaway boat trailer did to a Six Year old. Facebook. Prayers for Natalie. Can you afford Amillion dollars in medical bills. Every loose trailer is preventable had we have better and modern safety systems that work
    Ron, I noted the same website about dangerous trailers in my post #22 here....thanks for bringing it up again...some of the stories there are very descriptive.
    Good judgement comes from experience, and I will sadly admit that too much of my experience came from bad judgement.

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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    I haven't looked at "Dangerous Trailers" recently, but when I did read it, I didn't like the implication that "homemade" was automatically dangerous.

    Bruce
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    I was almost in a wreck with a trailer that had broken loose. I was heading eastbound on a 2 lane road behind an old Mercury Grand Marquis on my Honda Gold Wing when a westbound trailer broke free from the van towing it. The trailer swerved directly into the front of the car and then became airborne. I rode under the trailer as it flew overhead, and then had to swerve to the gravel shoulder of the road to not rear end the car. I coasted to a stop since I was afraid to hit the brakes on that loose gravel on a motorcycle. When I got stopped I went back to the scene to see if anyone in the car got hurt. There were a few cuts and bruises, the car was a total write off as was the trailer. I'm not sure how it was finally resolved, after giving my report to the police I went on my way. I've driven past that piece of road many times, and every time I remember that day and thank God I was spared what could have easily killed me.
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Here are the facts...read them... please...for the sake of saving the lives who are behind you!!! Standards Association. The CSA is interested in the possibility of
    establishing standards for horse trailers.

    As noted at the Animal Transportation Association Vancouver 2012
    international conference on horse transport, the lack of standards in
    the manufacture of non-commercial horse trailers contributes to injury
    and death of horses and humans. Your USRider on-going study of over 800
    known trailer incidents reveals poor quality materials including tires,
    wiring, braking performance, instability at highway speeds, poor welds,
    trailer skin so thin it can be punched through with a fist, shifting
    loads, mismatch between trailer and tow vehicle, tow vehicle and trailer
    separation, overloading, no mandatory recall on defective parts, and
    horses thrown or falling from the trailer and posing an additional road
    hazard.

    As well, few trailers meet the Five Freedoms endorsed by animal welfare
    interests: providing an environment conducive to normal behavior, rest,
    drinking and eating, and which minimizes the risk of injury, mental or
    physical distress, or disease.

    Currently, there are no standards in North America for manufacturing
    horse trailers. To the best of my knowledge, standards are also
    non-existent in New Zealand, Australia, and Europe.

    With your help, the CSA will explore the level of interest among
    stakeholders for supporting a research effort into establishing
    standards for horse trailer design and structure. Part of the effort
    might include minimum braking performance, minimum wiring standards and
    protection of horse and human life during typical highway incidents such
    as occur at intersections, collisions, and roll-overs.

    These Standards would provide an informed basis for manufacturing,
    insurance, regulatory, animal welfare and public interests to compare
    trailer quality and engineering. They would level the playing field
    among manufacturers. No longer would a trailer dealer be able to tell
    the naive buyer that the reason the trailer top is so flimsy is because
    "It is better for horses to be thrown from a trailer in an accident."

    Should the project to develop a Standard proceed following the
    feasibility study, the Standard will not become enforceable until it is
    referenced in a contract, in legislation, by being adopted by insurance
    issuers or underwriters or by Transport Canada or a similar authority.

    Your participation is vital. Before the CSA can become involved with a
    feasibility study, it needs to determine in this conference call the
    level of support, both volunteer and monetary, from the stakeholders.

    If the feasibility study is approved and indicates that there is a need,
    the next step will be to set up a standards development project. The CSA
    is the project manager but only the expert technical committee decides
    on the content of the Standard. If further applied research is required
    the work may contracted to a qualified test facility.

    Those few trailer manufacturers who have already applied testing
    standards to their product could likely save the technical committee
    much time. But the committee would need to judge the validity of the tests.

    We look forward to consulting with you. This is followed by
    further details of the CSA's role and the equipment required for your
    participation in the teleconference.


    An agenda will be circulated to confirmed
    participants prior to the teleconference. Confirmed participants will
    also receive a biographical sketch of each of the participants prior to
    the teleconference.
  3. #63
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    The only country in the World that has taken our recommendations and enacted them...is can you believe it DUBI?
    We know!!!! When will the idots in Washington get it?


    by Stian Overdahl on Aug 28, 2012

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    The aftermath of a truck accident (photo illustrative only).
    The aftermath of a truck accident (photo illustrative only).


    Dubai's Road & Transport Authority (RTA) has revealed that it has managed to register 1,684 trailers under its new system during the period from its implementation in February through to the end of July.

    But it seems that not all trailers on the emirate's roads are up to the task. Faults discovered by RTA inspectors and examiners included serious tyre defects, body cracks, defects in connections between tractors and trailers, defects in the air pressure connections of the brake systems, and poor side and rear lighting of trailers.

    Trailers have been classified into 15 types, including flatbed trailers, surface trailers and side-curtain trailers. Trailer testing and registration service is currently available at three centres - namely ENOC, Tamam Al Ghandi, and Al Shirawi Center, said RTA board chairman HE Mattar Al Tayer.

    Al Tayer indicated that the number of trailers (chassis) registered during the same period hit 2,259, adding that the number is expected to rise to as many as 3,700 trailers by the end of this year. It is estimated that there are up to 60,000 trailers in Dubai.
  4. #64
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    What does a runaway trailer really do?-man-destroyed-loose-trailer.jpgWhat does a runaway trailer really do?-man-destroyed-loose-trailer2.jpgWhat does a runaway trailer really do?-man-destroyed-loose-trailer3.jpgIs your life worth $150.00 DOLLARS.....?/????? The pictures below are the Photo's from the accident....would anyone of you ...put your child into a "Homemade Baby Seat?" Then why are people allowed to build a Homemade trailer that can destroy people behind them?

    Howdy Ron
    I think this will give you insight why we can not get anything done here about dangerous trailers and unplated vehicles.The guy who had that homemade unlicensed trailer that came loose and went thru the windshield and killed a man went to court and I will just give you the final results.He was fined $50 for failure to register trailer-$ 100 for towing without a safety device and 5 years probation for leaving scene of an accident.and I do not feel too sorry for the guys family QUOTE from paper- the Litrell family thought the sentence was appropriate.
    What the **** !!!! her husband was worth a $150 bucks............
    Last edited by Ron Melancon; Today at 10:21 AM. Reason: more pic
  5. #65
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    This is yet another e mail ...I got.....from Tom...we are not the only ones who notice...

    Dear fellow Safety advocate
    You will be proud to know that because of inflation and many other costs
    your value as a human being may be increased to as much as $200 In section one additional value may be increased if you can prove your worth to your family..On another note it would be advisable not to tell your life insurance carrier your real worth.

    I have given up pretty much on (not my)representatives here.I confronted 2 of them with photos and information on unplated vehicles and trailers and told them about your site.
    Quote-This guy has an axe to grind and his figures are ridicules.
    I had already sent them pictures and never recieved an answer.So I put them in his face and said here this one killed a guy at his mail box tell me who is the owner of these rigs.Our idiot state patrol could not.even 3rd world countries put plates on.
    After some more checking on these 2 numbskulls I found out that both have cattle and both haul them with no plates or lights and no brakes..One is also a school teacher.
    Where I am at there is virtually no newspapers,so most of the stuff is word of mouth.
    Last year we came to a spot where they were stopping traffic.One of those dump truck trailers
    came loose went thru a barn killed several horses continued on through the house destroying it.and almost killing the guy inside-not a word in the papers and to this day no one ever came back to claim the trailer and because of no plates and frame ID .

    Tom
    Virginia and Missouri are in a close battle for some of the most outrageous laws I have ever heard of.I could not even think of some of the crap I hear.
  6. #66
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Please go to facebook and find ..."Prayers For Natalie" She what hit by a loose boat trailer in North Carolinia in April of this year.....they have bills now over 1,000,000 this accident should have never happened!
    What does a runaway trailer really do?-she-hit-loose-boat-trailer.jpg
  7. #67
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    ONE LAST THING.... 14 States have no registration for Trailers...did you know that...? So how does this family get closure? 5 families have no closure...People believe more in GLOBAL WARMING with less documentation then what we have and yet nobody cares but our organization.. Our facts do not lie...
    Safety activist Travel trailer regulations too lax in SC WIS News 10 Columb Dangeroustrailers - YouTube
    Owner of trailer that caused deadly accident remains unknown

    By Kirk Brown
    Published Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    ANDERSON — A year has passed since a detached utility trailer caused a crash on Interstate 85 in Anderson County that killed the parents of two young children.

    The driver who was towing the trailer that came loose has yet to step forward to take responsibility for causing the multi-vehicle accident. Because the trailer was unlicensed, investigators had no way to identify its owners.

    Stolen Trailers Page
  8. #68
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    Here are the facts...people care more about a horse getting destroyed than a human life....here is the truth.
    e mail sent to me.Ron -

    Just didn't want you to think that everyone has failed to be interested in
    improving trailer standards. At least Canada is interested in attempting to
    write a standard for HORSE trailers! Once we get that - perhaps we can roll
    it over to other areas?

    Please do not take any action on this email - it is FYI only - when the
    teleconference is over I will of course share what I can with you. As in
    most things - this is a slow process.

    Rebecca
  9. #69
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    Default Re: What does a runaway trailer really do?

    We are going to educate Vehicletechusa.com will be the go to web site....call Mr. Belder....at 724-553-0215 we will have the most comprehensive web site on inspections of all vehicles in all 50 States and have the best information on UTILITY TRAILER SAFETY.


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