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Are the wheels coming off?

“…On average, seven people a year are killed and 45 seriously injured in crashes involving a light vehicle towing a trailer.”

NZTA Guide to safe loading and towing for light vehicles.

Similarly, PF Olsen receives reports on one or two serious trailer incidents each year!   Fortunately these incidents have not resulted in any serious injury, however, they have no doubt left the drivers shocked and the rest of us thinking about what could have been.

Learning from trailer incidents:

In two recent incidents, a wheel came off each of the trailers while being towed. In one incident, the wheel came loose as the trailer was passing through a corner in the middle of a small township. In the other, a tandem trailer lost a wheel while it was being driven in a log yard. Both could have resulted in harm to people in the vicinity.

What have we learnt and of what factors do we need to be mindful?

  • While most items of plant or equipment receive a regular inspection (using a checklist), trailers tend to miss out except for the regular warrant of fitness checks.

  • Trailers are often left out in the elements and can be used carting small boats or other equipment to the beach in the summer. It is a good idea to use a check list that encourages frequent (weekly) cleaning and maintenance.

  • Know how much weight your vehicle and trailer can safely tow.

  • Load your vehicle and trailer safely and keep the ‘overhang’ to a minimum – see NZTA Guide to safe loading and towing for light vehicles.

  • Know safe towing practices and keep to the speed limit – 90 kph is the maximum!

View this article in Safety Bulletin 105