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Ask a Trooper: Follow safety precautions with trailers

Ask a Trooper by Troy Christianson

Troy Christianson

 

Question: Can you talk about boat trailer safety with all the traffic we see pulling these things?

 

Answer: State troopers often encounter motorists pulling trailers that are experiencing breakdowns. Most often it involves a flat tire or trailer wheel bearing. Basic trailer maintenance involves greasing the wheel bearings. Wheel bearing failure can occur when maintenance is neglected. A trailer’s wheel bearings are often neglected because they are out of sight. A loose, worn or damaged wheel bearing is the most common cause of brakes to grab and lock up. This generally leads to tire failure, whether a flat or a blowout from the heat generated. I’ve seen hubs break off and fires caused from these issues.

Nobody wants to be that person stranded on the side of the road with a disabled trailer or be a driver who loses control because of a trailer malfunction. It is important to repack the wheel bearings and make it a part of your pre-trip inspection and maintenance schedule.

Other pre-trip preparation should include:

• Taillight and brake light function

• Proper use of hitch, pins and safety chains

• Check tires for proper inflation, unusual wear, weather checking and bulges

• Spare tire inflated, jack and lug wrench

• Secure the load and all other items

A driver can perform all the required maintenance checks, but an unsecured load can also have deadly consequences. Securing your load is the law. A driver could face a citation if they don’t secure their load and/or additional consequences if an unsecured load causes a crash.

You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober. Help us drive Minnesota toward zero deaths.

If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol, at 2900 48th St. NW, Rochester, MN 55901-5848; or reach him at Troy.Christianson@state.mn.us.

Troy Christianson is a sergeant with the Minnesota State Patrol.