Trailer Hitch Accidents
Trailer hitch accidents occur when a vehicle’s hitch system malfunctions, causing the trailer to detach and resulting in a collision with other vehicles. These kinds of accidents occur a lot more often than most people realize and pose a very real risk to other road users. For instance, the weight and size of trailers or towed vehicles make it much more likely that the impact of a collision will be significant. The sudden detaching of a trailer also tends to catch other drivers off guard and can result in sudden lane changes, abrupt braking, and general confusion. Finally, trailer hitch accidents usually lead to traffic congestion, delays, and road closures, all of which further increase a person’s chances of being involved in an accident or multi-vehicle collision.
While trailer hitch accidents, like any type of road collision, can occur just about anywhere and at anytime (where a trailer or vehicle is being towed), there are certain factors that can contribute to and make these kinds of crashes more likely, including:
- The improper installation of the trailer hitch system, which can result in instability and cause the trailer to detach or sway side to side dangerously;
- Improper maintenance of the hitch system, including a failure to lubricate the mechanism or to inspect it for mechanical failure;
- Unevenly distributing cargo, which compromises the stability of the trailer;
- Overloading the trailer’s weight capacity, which can strain the hitch system and result in a loss of control or detachment;
- Sudden braking, which can cause the trailer to collide with the towing vehicle or even other nearby cars; and
- Road conditions, with potholes and uneven asphalt exacerbating trailer and hitch system instability.
All of these issues can contribute to or cause a trailer hitch to fail and result in a subsequent collision. Fortunately, there are steps that drivers can take to prevent these kinds of crashes.
There are a number of proactive measures that drivers can take to help minimize the risk of causing or being involved in a trailer hitch accident, including:
- Ensuring correct installation of the hitch by adhering to manufacturer guidelines;
- Conducting regular inspections of the hitch’s components to identify problems with things like the safety chains, writing, and coupler;
- Addressing signs of damage or wear and tear on the hitch system or its components;
- Distributing cargo weight properly to maintain balance and stability and complying with load capacity specifications;
- Maintaining a safe following distance and avoiding abrupt steps; and
- Obtaining training on emergency procedures, including how to maneuver to the shoulder of the road in the event of a detachment.
Unfortunately, not all drivers take these steps, which puts any other road users at risk in the event of trailer hitch failure.
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If you or a loved one were involved in a trailer hitch accident, you could be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, vehicle damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. For a free assessment of your own legal claim, please call the dedicated Florida truck accident attorneys at Boone & Davis today. You can reach us at 954-566-919 or via online message.