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Old 11 January 2008, 14:39   #41
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Originally Posted by richyrich View Post
Tremendously constructive responses - thanks to all. My observations:
1. Point about breakaway cable being safer than secondary permanent coupling by avoiding jack-knife - well surely the main hitch would cause this (ie under extreme braking), but in a sense I think it makes a driver drive (and maintain their rig) more safely knowing their error remains their problem, not someone on the pavement/other carriageway.
2. I am prepared to bet the majority of brakeaway cables wouldn't operate the brakes for more than a split second (police tell me latest design has something that stores the energy of the breakaway to keep the handbrake locked on).
3. Education on maintenance. I wonder how many of us have learned by near misses? I think it should be compulsory to change salt immersed wheel bearings every two years. The new (test passed after 1997) compulsory trailer education only applies to bigger trailers and though I can't see the syllabus anywhere I doubt it deals in detail with things like salt water corrosion.

Conclusion: a practical "What you need to know about safe boat trailing" resource on Ribnet should be compulsory reading for all newcomers.
Good post. My trailer has a hand brake that is operated by the breakaway cable and it locks the brakes on. However, I just went and checked it's operation and found that the spring loaded pawl that locks the handbreak ratchet was sticky and only worked 50% of the time. A quick spray with WD40 fixed it. I use double, crossed safety chains also.
Thanks for the prompt
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Old 11 January 2008, 14:40   #42
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Oh and by the way, I think the jackknifing risk from safety chains is way overhyped. But perhaps the risk of jackknife might motivate some owners to maintain their stuff instead of having it fall off and kill some other innocent drivers.
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Old 11 January 2008, 15:02   #43
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Might work if we towed with F150s over here but we mostly don't use tow vehicles that only ever tow half their rated weight here.
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Old 11 January 2008, 15:09   #44
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Oh and by the way, I think the jackknifing risk from safety chains is way overhyped. But perhaps the risk of jackknife might motivate some owners to maintain their stuff instead of having it fall off and kill some other innocent drivers.
It doesn't work like that though. Those that can't be bothered to do it properly still won't do it properly.It doesn't even cross their mind that might happen to them.
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Old 11 January 2008, 23:58   #45
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I'm with Nos on this one.

Having a safety chain on a large trailer is going to cause unpredictable and potentially nasty behaviour should the hitch fail. It’s fine when the trailer weight is very much smaller than the car, but in the UK that’s not the case with braked trailers. There is nothing wrong with the current coupling system or legislation.

IMHO there is a general lack of police presence on the roads – walking to uni every day in soton I see vehicles that would no way pass an MOT, not to mention about 1 in 20 people don’t seem to wear a seat belt! Having said that, I have seen the police in Hampshire and Dorset sitting near popular slips in the summer stopping all cars with trailers and giving them a once over.

With regards the B+E test – there’s nothing on the test about wheel bearings specifically. You are tested on coupling the trailer; as part of this you need to check tyres, lights, demonstrate an awareness of load distribution – plus the normal coupling stuff...jockey wheel, breakaway cable...

Are there any stats relating to trailer related accidents?
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