Today I am going to relate an expensive study in making sure all the safety equipment on your Airstream is properly connected and operating.
My sacrificial lamb, I mean subject, is Bill, a driver for an RV delivery company. Bill picked up a trailer from the factory a while back, dropped it on the ball, connected the umbilical to the lights and brakes, and departed. Bill, in his haste, neglected to connect the safety chains or beakaway switch on the trailer. He also didn’t put any kind of latching device on the tongue for the ball. All was well for many hundreds of miles, and it looked like this trip was going to be just like all the others Bill had made before. But the trailer had a dream. A dream of freedom, and escape. Bill rounded a curve, and hit a small bump in the road. That bump was just enough to unlatch the tongue from the ball, and the trailer jumped up and off the back of Bill’s truck. It was free at last! Suddenly, the trailer had become a 7,000 pound missile, aimed randomly at whoever got in its way. Bil’s first hint there was a problem was when he looked out his window in time to see his trailer passing him, backwards, with a shower of sparks spraying from the ruined front jack. It crossed the center median, and stopped rather suddenly in a pile of dirt.
Bill was lucky, his runaway trailer managed not to roll over, or hit another vehicle in it’s bid for escape. It did suffer significant damage in its abortive attempt. Bill’s insurance policy also suffered significant damage, but at least no one got hurt. If Bill had locked the latch on the hitch, or if he had put on the safety chains the trailer came with, or even if he had connected the breakaaway switch, there would most likely have been a lot less, or no damage at all.
So, no matter if you’re going across town or across the country, all that PITA safety equipment is there for a reason, to keep you and the other people around you safe. Take the extra few minutes you need to hook it up, so you can keep enjoying the Airstream lifestyle.