Trailering Safety

While we were on our trip this summer in Estes Park, I met a camper who almost had a bad accident with his fifth wheel camper. On his way to Estes Park he said that he was feeling a very bad bump when he either accelerated or came to a stop. Those of us who pull 5th wheel trailers know that the bump is pretty much inherit with the trailer hitches. However, he said that his was much more than it should have been. He got out several times to check on things but couldn’t see anything wrong. It wasn’t until he had parked the trailer for a few days in Elk Meadows RV Park, across from me, that he found the problem. The bolt that holds the head of the hitch onto the cross member was almost out allowing the head plate to almost come off. It was trying to seperate when he stopped or accelerated. The cotter pin that goes through the end of the bolt had come out allowing the blot to work its way back. That certainly would have been catastrophic if the hitch head had come off!!

That brings up the subject of safety and being sure to check the hitch and any other connections before and after hooking up the trailer. I have always been a little paranoid of having the camper become disconnected from my hitch. I have made my share of mistakes, but not hooking up correctly could be a major mistake. I regularly check my fifth wheel hitch and all of the pins that go with it. One of the things I do is to not bring the landing gear all the way up until I have made sure the the king pin is properly seated in the hitch. I will even move my truck forward while the jacks are up only a few inches. That way if it isn’t connected correctly, I can prevent too much damage to the front of the trailer.

I have just put a good article about safety with towable trailers on my website This Old Campsite. It is a good read, so check it out.


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