• Steve H
    Many years ago, my wife was heading into Christchurch when a trailer being towed by a car heading toward her, detached and ploughed into a van in front of her, the van driver was killed.

    Fifteen years ago, a company I was managing at the time collected waste Expanded Polystyrene for recycling using large tandem axle trailers, one detached while being towed into a clients site- fortunately it raced off SH1 and took out a farmers fence and came to rest about 100 meters in his paddock.

    Last October, a Christchurch company that installs replacement glazing/aluminum joinery had the tandem trailer that they use to haul new windows out to their clients sites, detach and plough into an oncoming car, the driver was killed;

    If there's a trailer in your life, make certain the ball on your tow hitch matches the cup on the trailer, that there is a strong secondary means of attachment, and consider a getting a Breakaway brake unit fitted to your trailer. These are designed to immediately apply full braking power to the trailer brakes should the trailer separate from the tow vehicle. Absolutely essential for company trailers I think.
  • Darren Cottingham
    There's more of an issue with trailers than just the coupling part. Nobody gets taught anything about light vehicle load security for trailers, roof racks, utes, etc, or where the centre of gravity should be.
    There are courses available (in-class or online), e.g. https://www.drivingtests.co.nz/course/load-restraint/, but how many people actually take the time to learn this? Not many, because the risks are not well-articulated.
    I had a ladder fall off a roof rack right in front of me on the motorway and narrowly avoided it; the car behind me ran over it. You see all kinds of items that have blown out of trailers sitting on the sides of the motorway and on the roads.
  • Sheri Greenwell
    Thank you for highlighting this important information - my daughter has just purchased a larger vehicle to be able to tow a horse float, but she has never really towed a trailer before. Where would you suggest she could learn more about these important safety considerations (or we can do some research on her behalf and inform her of these important safety points)?
  • Steve H
    Here's Darren's link to the on line course Light Vehicle Load Security That would be a good starting point, Has she brought a horse float as well, or is she planning to hire/borrow one?
  • Mike Massaar
    Trailers are used heavily in our work and we haven't had a great safety record with them. A few years ago we formalised some safe operating procedures and standards, including training and assessment. While there was some improvement we continue to have events, some potentially very serious. As we speak we have a company going to locations in DOC undertaking assessments and inspections of trailers and the vehicles that tow them and coaching staff. We are also undertaking work on loads and towing capacity, especially as several are used for towing vessels. Inadequate maintenance has been an issue, along with staff knowledge of coupling and loading capacity. The company we are using is Natural Instincts - highly recommended.
  • Sheri Greenwell
    Thank you so much - have a great Christmas, and thanks for all the resources and information you share on this forum - great to have such a collaborative spirit!
  • Steve H

    Wouldn't disagree that training is vital with correctly loading a trailer Darren, but if for whatever reason, a trailer under tow detaches, all the training in the world isn't going to recover the situation, a Breakaway Unit just might and as an employer, fitting one is a reasonably practicable step to prevent what could be a fatal outcome.

    Good links Keith :up: You too Sheri
  • E Baxter
    Couple of tips - In a straight load float the heaviest horse should travel on the inside. We have a double safety chain which is crossed under the towbar. If you are purchasing a float (or hiring) make sure its braked, and tandem are a lot safer as if you have a tyre blow out you are less likely to lose control. Double your following distance and Drive slower! On corners I would normally do 10km less than the sign, also coming out of the corner don't accelerate until the float is back straight behind the car. And pull over when you can to let others pass. Driving with an empty float feels totally different to a fully loaded one.
  • Sheri Greenwell
    Thank you so much! I have passed this information on to my daughter - she plans to pick up the horse float she bought later today.
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