Trailer Safety tips from Laurence David

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For over 45 years Lawrence David has been working with commercial trailers. Its experience and knowledge means that it knows best how to protect staff and maintain vehicles. Having routine checks and well-maintained vehicles is the best way to keep operator’s trailer safe for use. 

Lawrence David has outlined a daily checklist to help spot the warning signs for a trailer in need of repair and has also identified some top tips for maintaining your trailer.

Safety Checks:

From weight distribution and loading, to secure trailer attachment, there are many things that need to be checked before ensuring a safe journey. Always test if the brakes and parking brakes work, and for any damage to tyres, lights, and wheel bearing maintenance before moving. Comply with the vehicle’s weight limits for the load and be strategic so that 60% of the overall weight is at the front and everything is security fastened down on adequate anchor points.

Follow loading and unloading safety guidelines by remembering these simple steps:

  •       Park close to the loading site and do it away from passing traffic and pedestrians
  •       Park on level ground that is firm
  •       Use the appropriate lifting equipment
  •       Keep decks clean to avoid accidents
  •       Apply the parking brake and place wheel chocks where needed
  •       Don’t attempt to stop a rolling vehicle.

Secure any coupling security and follow a safe coupling and uncoupling procedure. While this will be specific to the equipment and vehicle there are some important steps needed to take to be safe:

  1. Apply the parking brake and be wary of movement
  2. Stop the engine
  3. Connect the emergency line
  4. Check it is secure and everything works
  5. Only allow trained staff to do this

When preparing for a journey, ensure that you have full visibility for the road, so check:

  •       Windscreen condition
  •       Mirror condition
  •       Windscreen Wipers work
  •       Indicators work
  •       Relevant warning plates or markings
  •       Vehicle Height
  •       Fuel leaks
  •       Horn works
  •       Dashboard warning lights
  •       Reflectors and number plate is intact

Any seasoned driver will identify these straight away, but it doesn’t hurt to double check as one overlooked precaution can be fatal. Maintaining the trailer and practicing safe driving can avoid accidents, breakdowns, and business disruption.

Driving Safely:

Vigilance is the key to safety when operating a commercial trailer.

  1. Use the Mirrors – regularly check everything is in order while driving so there is no visible damage or debris coming from the trailer.
  2. Give Space – allow plenty of stopping distance as a heavy vehicle will require time to brake
  3. Secure Seatbelt – in case of a crash or flip, make sure the seatbelt is fastened!
  4. Be Slow and Steady – a large and heavy vehicle can cause a lot of damage so regardless of the schedule never rush, driving safely is always the priority.
  5. Reverse Carefully – many accidents happen when reversing, it can be a very difficult task, particularly when navigating a heavy load and difficult to reach loading areas after a long journey. Go slowly, use the mirrors, and invest in obstacle detection alarms if possible.

Lawrence David prioritises safety above all else and while maintenance and checks are imperative to avoid accidents and make vehicles and trailers last longer, eventually it may be time to bite the bullet and replace a dangerous vehicle. With a trouble-free trailer, it can maintain an efficient business.