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Thread: Safety chains

  1. #1

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    Safety chains

    I have a question for anyone pulling a trailer. Do you use your chains as intended? If the trailer should ever come unhooked going down the road, I don't know if I want that thing flopping around behind me. A friend of mine lost their boat trailer going down the road and insurance wouldn't cover it because it was no longer attached to the tow vehicle. Luckily, no one else got hit and nothing else was damaged.

  2. #2

    Re: Safety chains

    Quote Originally Posted by niterider View Post
    I have a question for anyone pulling a trailer. Do you use your chains as intended? If the trailer should ever come unhooked going down the road, I don't know if I want that thing flopping around behind me. A friend of mine lost their boat trailer going down the road and insurance wouldn't cover it because it was no longer attached to the tow vehicle. Luckily, no one else got hit and nothing else was damaged.
    Yes - always. The chains/cables are not to protect me they are to protect the other road users from me. My life is not more important than some innocent person that could be injured or killed if my trailer came loose. Towing a trailer is a choice I made and only I am responsible for my choice.

    Most states (I believe 39) require safety chains by law. Even in a state that does not require them I would not want to be a defendant in a law suite if someone were injured or killed by my trailer.

    Rigged correctly, the chains should keep the trailer tongue off the ground and from hitting the tire. Think as short as possible while allowing full turning angle of the trailer.

    By the way, trailer caused accidents/injuries/deaths are not just theoretical. I was in the equipment rental business for 15 years and I don't think a year went by where we did not read in our trade journals about one or more serious accidents caused by a trailer/towable equipment breaking loose. Of course we got to read about the resulting law suites too.

    Always chains rigged correctly and always a pin or lock through the hitch latch.

  3. #3

    Re: Safety chains

    Yes, use safety chains!

    A few years back I come upon and accident. A pickup was pulling a cattle trailer and it uncoupled from the truck, went through the median and a minivan hit the trailer head on. The driver was killed on impact. Now granted, it was a large trailer, but even a smaller trailer could cause a serious accident if someone were to swerve to avoid it.

  4. #4

    Re: Safety chains

    Always, for the same reasons as stated above. Pulled trailers all my life. Never once without chains..
    RIDE TO LIVE !


  5. #5

    Re: Safety chains

    Without question unequivocally YES, always use the chains. As others have said, if done properly it will NOT affect your safety but if that trailers goes wandering off it can certainly cause someone else to have a bad day. Not to mention if it stays attached mostly like the cost of repair will be negligible if it stays with you. If it goes off on it's own it's most likely going to take a LOT more damage. Just don't think about it too much; attach and know you're doing the right thing.

  6. #6

    Re: Safety chains

    The MN DOT says that the chains need to be crossed they act as a cradle and hold the hitch centered . I hope I never find out . DO YOUR INSPECTIONS JUST LIKE US TRUCK TRIVERS DO . Gearbox

  7. #7
    hparsons's Avatar
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    Re: Safety chains

    Quote Originally Posted by niterider View Post
    I have a question for anyone pulling a trailer. Do you use your chains as intended? If the trailer should ever come unhooked going down the road, I don't know if I want that thing flopping around behind me. A friend of mine lost their boat trailer going down the road and insurance wouldn't cover it because it was no longer attached to the tow vehicle. Luckily, no one else got hit and nothing else was damaged.
    Think about the poor guy behind you if/when it comes loose. Then imagine the damage if he's another biker.

    2012 Honda Goldwing
    2009 Timeout Camper
    Patriot Guard Rider since 2007 IBA member #59823

  8. #8

    Re: Safety chains

    Quote Originally Posted by niterider View Post
    I have a question for anyone pulling a trailer. Do you use your chains as intended? If the trailer should ever come unhooked going down the road, I don't know if I want that thing flopping around behind me. A friend of mine lost their boat trailer going down the road and insurance wouldn't cover it because it was no longer attached to the tow vehicle. Luckily, no one else got hit and nothing else was damaged.
    Of course I do! It's the law in all states and provinces. If a cop discovers you are not using them or using plastic break away chains, you will most likely receive a ticket and get red tagged. I have heard of cops going over and standing on the chains to check for plastic ones. If you are worried about a flopping around or disconnected trailer, you might not be a candidate for trailer dragging. BTW, if properly set up and checked that trailer won't go anywhere.

    Imagine going down the highway and the trailer you are dragging disconnects and goes through the windshield of a soccer mom's van and takes her and the team out. Better be really lawyered up as it will be a life changing experience for both the trailer dragger and the victims.

    I host a motorcycle towing forum and this question comes up from time to time. On my landing page there is a strong message about not using chains. Usually the OP gets the picture and changes their attitude fairly quickly.

    One more thing. If I do see someone w/o chains I would be sorely tempted to contact the police and report them, no matter what kind of vehicle it is.

    p.s. Chances of it 'flopping around' if the chains are use correctly are slim to none.
    Aspen Classic Camper, 06 GL1800

    My Pics: http://www.picturetrail.com/bvail My trailer forum: http://forums.delphiforums.com/MCTrailertowing

  9. #9
    Senior's Avatar
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    Re: Safety chains

    Yep always use the chains on all my trailers

    Senior
    2009 Victory Vision
    Aspen classic
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  10. #10
    hparsons's Avatar
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    Re: Safety chains

    Not on my motorcycle, but made me a believer. I had hooked my sailboat (about 5,000 lbs on the boat, and probably another 1500 on the trailer) to our truck getting ready to put it back on the lake after a trip. Hooked everything up, including the safety chains. ran across one of the speed bumps down the street from our house, and noticed the trailer was pulling wonky. I asked me wife if she could feel it, but she didn't notice any difference. I did though. Next speed bump (about a block further down), I knew for sure something was weird. Pulled over, and checked the trailer. Either I completely forgot to clamp down the coupler, or I did it and didn't do it right. Either way, the tongue was about 4 inches under the hitch, resting on the chains. Were it not for the chains, I pretty sure I would have taken out one of the neighbors parked cars.

    I hope never to find out first hand, but I suspect a motorcycle trailer would feel much the same were it to disconnect. Still there, still pulling, but feeling wonky.

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