Safety devices required when towing trailersA 19-year-old Wisconsin woman was killed April 20 when her car was hit by a trailer that broke away from a pick-up truck and then crossed the centerline on a highway near Green Bay.
A 19-year-old Wisconsin woman was killed April 20 when her car was hit by a trailer that broke away from a pick-up truck and then crossed the centerline on a highway near Green Bay. To prevent this type of tragedy from killing another innocent victim, the Wisconsin State Patrol and other law enforcement agencies are urging motorists to ensure their boats, campers, trailers and other pieces of towed equipment are always securely fastened to their vehicles.
“For safe towing on roadways, state law requires that the ball and hitch coupling assembly must match exactly and fit securely,” said Capt. Jeff Frenette of the Wisconsin State Patrol Northwest Region. “Two safety chains of proper length and strength also must be attached between the vehicle and the trailer. The slack on each length of chain must not be more than is necessary to permit proper turning. A violation of this state law costs $200.50 with two demerit points added to a driver’s license.”
The State Patrol also offers some simple and practical advice for safe towing.
“Before you head up north or to other parts of Wisconsin with your boat, camper or trailer, check to see if it is loaded properly and its contents are secured,” Frenette said. “A shifting load on a trailer can cause it to sway unexpectedly.
“You also should check the axles and tires,” he added. “Many trailers sit all winter long, and we see crashes caused by axles seizing or tires blowing. You should carry a spare tire because specialty tires for trailers may be hard to find when you’re far from home and it’s the middle of the night.”