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Texas state law, CROSS YOUR TRAILER SAFETY CHAINS!

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  • #46
    Re: Texas state law, CROSS YOUR TRAILER SAFETY CHAINS!

    Originally posted by eli_lilly View Post
    I've read that crossing the chains helps reduce the sway when the coupler falls off.

    -E
    Seems like pretty simple physics to me...

    When the trailer starts to sway to the left, the right chain will become tight and "pull" the trailer to the right and vice versus.

    Now with uncrossed chains when the trailer sways to the left, the right chain will become tight, but instead of pulling the trailer to the right it will pull it straight ahead, while this will eventually pull the trailer straight it will take much longer, since the fulcrum point is the point of connection ON THE TRUCK. With chains crossed the fulcrum point is the point of connection ON THE TRAILER.

    As someone who had Travel trailer sway and flip over doing 55 MPH in the right hand lane going south bound in the interstate in Florida (and ended up upside down, on the far left lane, facing north... thank God truly that we hit no one, and no one in the vehicle was harmed) every "little bit" can make the difference in saving lives or taking lives.

    Trust me, in the moment of the accident, you aren't caring whether your trailer/boat is damaged or if your chains catch the trailer, you are just praying you aren't killed, and that you don't kill anyone else.

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    • #47
      Re: Texas state law, CROSS YOUR TRAILER SAFETY CHAINS!

      Originally posted by nlain View Post
      To me the chains in the pic are in the wrong place, they should be attached further back on the tongue, where they are they won't do much good, I do see the little resting bracket under the tongue, the chains should be attached behind that bracket and then crossed.
      No actually they are in exactly the right place but they are WAY too long..... the closer to the ball the better....

      in a seperation the trailer will move forward under the bumper so attaching further back and using longer chains is a BAD idea

      Also the hooks are in backwards like I mentioned before.... a good shake on the chain and they can fall out
      Kevin

      Originally posted by Tinnie
      But, where are the reevets?
      1981 Wellcraft V-20 CC Fisherman (FREE BOAT)
      1989 Wellcraft Monte Carlo 28(Build thread here)
      1992 Hotsports Jet'n'Cat Yam 701 WR3 drivetrain "SS George Washington"
      90's Yamaha WRIII and a pair of 95 Kawasaki ZXI-900's
      Fresh clean cheap oil is better then old dirty expensive oil any day
      sigpic

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      • #48
        Re: Texas state law, CROSS YOUR TRAILER SAFETY CHAINS!

        I own 5 trailers. I have a trailer behind my truck 80% of the time. I have had
        a trailer come off the hitch 2 times, once at highway speed. I refit every trailer with the strongest chains and hooks I can buy. Just because it is chain, does not mean it is strong. If it breaks, it does not matter if it is crossed or not. I always believe in overkill. It only costs an extra $15.00 per trailer to go heavy duty.

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        • #49
          Re: Texas state law, CROSS YOUR TRAILER SAFETY CHAINS!

          Well..
          I didn't know you were supposed to cross the chains. I was never taught that. I did notice that my new utility trailer has some handy spring loaded retainers on the safety chain hooks that are very sturdy but not a PITA to remove.
          If someone doesn't teach you these things, how is one to know? I never noticed anyone's chains being crossed, but will do so now. It does make since about crossing the chains keeping the side-to-side sway from being so exaggerated by uncrossed chains.
          I have worried what will happen if it ever came unhitched on the highway what would happen with when the welded-on trailer jack base hit the pavement! Major sparks, but worse if it snagged a bump in the road!
          I see LOTS of trailers around here that have no safety chains, and lots of trailers that are obviously about to fall apart, which are going down the road at 55mph or more. Some of the poor folks who are metal scrappers have the worst trailers and are beyond dangerous, but seem to be able to get away with it as far as the cops go.
          Always learning,
          JBJ
          Not a certified mechanic but I have at least 2 shade trees in my yard and my wife always says I'm certifiable. So remember that when you follow my advice

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          • #50
            Re: Texas state law, CROSS YOUR TRAILER SAFETY CHAINS!

            Originally posted by nlain View Post
            I always thought that was the only way to hook them up, it is at least the only way that makes sense, the crossed chains are there to catch the trailer tongue if it comes loose.
            Ditto...

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            • #51
              Re: Texas state law, CROSS YOUR TRAILER SAFETY CHAINS!

              I use chains (crossed) because they do keep a trailer under control at slow speeds and because the law requires me to use them. At high speeds, if the trailer comes off the hitch, IMO they are more dangerous than having the trailer separate from the vehicle.

              I'm sure this comment will raise all sorts of protests, but I'll simply say that I have actually had a trailer separation at highway speed. What happens, is that the trailer whips back and forth very violently. When it happened to me, I was pulling a tandem axle UHaul box trailer behind a 24' UHaul box truck. The truck probably weighed 4 times what the trailer did, yet I barely managed to maintain control of the truck. The chains eventually broke on the trailer and it ended up "embedded" in a three-wire type guard rail. I have zero doubt that the only reason that I did not end up in a major accident with the truck, is because the trailer separated.

              The dilema in this, is whether a trailer that stays attached to a vehicle and thereby causes complete loss of control and probably a situation where the tow vehicle flips, is better or worse than a trailer that has separated and is going to hit something. I guess my take on it, is that I would prefer a situation where another vehicle might
              Please don't PM me on advice issues - let's keep that in the forums, so that everyone can benefit. Please note that I do not email PDFs, etc. I have a bandwidth limited aircard for internet access. My avatar does not mean I have any offical link to iboats. I just like it!

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              • #52
                Re: Texas state law, CROSS YOUR TRAILER SAFETY CHAINS!

                I have had 2 trailers come loose from the tow vehicle in my many years of towing. One of those happeneed to be my father's Starcraft Islander, and the other was a 5" x 10' fully loaded utility trailer. Both happened at speeds of about 60-65 mph.

                In the case of the boat, the coupler broke and the crossed chains DID keep the tongue of the trailer off of the road and the boat was brought to a stop on the side of Interstate 80 with no injuries and only minor damage to the step bumper of the truck. This happened in moderate trafic in the stretch of I-80 that crosses northern Indiana. If the chains had not held then someone else probably would have died. No doubt in my mind about that. a trooper happened to be not to far behind me and I did not get a ticket or anything. He let me leave the boat on the shoulder and go get a new coupler. Thank goodness it was Saturday and not Sunday. I was towing the boat with a 3/4 ton GMC pickup.

                On the utility trailer operator error (I was the operator) led to the de-coupling. I was in a hurry and didn't get the coupler properly latched and couldn't find the pin. I figured I was only going about 10 miles so it would be fine. The trailer came loose on a rural road at about 60 mph. Once again, the crossed chains DID keep the tongue off the road and a stop was made in the middle of the desolate road. No damage to the tow vehicle or trailer. Only had to re-connect this one and continue the trip making sure this time that the coupler was latched. This one was being towed by a Dodge Dakota Pickup.

                Bottom line is that the crossed chains DID work in my case and they did work at highway speed.
                1988 Sea Ray Seville 16 BRO w/1997 Mariner 115
                My build thread
                My upholstery thread

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                • #53
                  Re: Texas state law, CROSS YOUR TRAILER SAFETY CHAINS!

                  Originally posted by j_martin View Post
                  If you take a quick look at the geometry, crossed chains also allow the chains to be shorter (with better control) without binding when turning.
                  sigpic
                  MY FISHIN BUDDY
                  East Texas Redneck
                  SEMPER FI
                  USMC '67 - '70

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                  • #54
                    Re: Texas state law, CROSS YOUR TRAILER SAFETY CHAINS!

                    Originally posted by smokingcrater View Post
                    thanks for doing it for me! After reading through the thread, I was about to post a one sentence post. Crossing your chains is pointless!

                    Here is an experiment you can try if you have a lighter trailer. Cross the chains, unhook it, and then pull the trailer back away from the vehicle. (much like the normal drag would anyway) On MOST trailers, the tongue will simply fall through the crossed part and hit the pavement.
                    Reading your post made me go out into the driveway and have a look at my hook-up. As I suspected, it is not rigged or designed to have the chain cross-point act as any sort of cradle to keep your tongue off the pavement in the case of a trailer that comes loose.

                    . . . and that doesn't surprise me.

                    As my dad many years ago explained to me, the chains are there only to provide some control in the unlikely event that your trailer gets loose from the hitch. What is most important is that you don't want your trailer careening off on its own to possibly collide with other vehicles, pedestrians, etc.

                    Protecting the trailer tongue or even the towing vehicle from the resultant damage I would say is of lowest priority.

                    I doubt if I would ever have thought to cross my chains, but do it because my dad taught me that it was important.

                    LOL, just the other day, on my first outing with my rig (grown daughter in the car), we pull out of the driveway, and I hear this sort of chirping sound (Daddy also taught me to listen carefully during the first mile or so, and to stop after the first five or so to re-inspect the hook-up . . . he did it religiously). I stop to have a look, and, duh, I hadn't hooked up the chains at all - what a dope!!

                    There is something to say for that parent-child relationship - not that one can't learn these sorts of things on ones own, or from someone other than a parent, but, as I read this and other threads, it strikes me how much of what we do is because Mom or Dad taught us or just always did it that way.

                    Food for thought.

                    Caruso

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                    • #55
                      Re: Texas state law, CROSS YOUR TRAILER SAFETY CHAINS!

                      Just had an incedent where the trailor came off the hitch ball (was sitting on top of the ball) and the chaines were the only thing that kept me from wrecking the boat.

                      Fortunatly I was going slow (35mph) an had just made a turn and hit some rough pavement. The chains kept the trailor from hitting the ground and I was able to correct the problem so they work if installed correctly.

                      PS: chains were crossed

                      Steve
                      "Things seldom are as they appear to be especily when thay have to do with money"

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                      • #56
                        Re: Texas state law, CROSS YOUR TRAILER SAFETY CHAINS!

                        For me crossing the chains was lesson No. 3 in towing/driving...Dad wouldn't let anyone drive anything on the road or farm without knowing this. DOH!

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                        • #57
                          Re: Texas state law, CROSS YOUR TRAILER SAFETY CHAINS!

                          I'm 36, I've owned a boat for about 8 years and pulled a trailer for lawn mowing for about 8 years.

                          I've never heard about crossing chains. I'll start today, thx for the post.
                          1997 SeaRay 175
                          3.0LX Mercruiser
                          Alpha 1 Gen 2

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                          • #58
                            Re: Texas state law, CROSS YOUR TRAILER SAFETY CHAINS!

                            I have always crossed mine, but never really knew why until I read this thread. I thought it had to do with keeping the trailer straighter if it came off the ball. Never thought of the chains catching the tounge.
                            sigpic

                            2000 Crownline 180BR - Lil Red

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                            • #59
                              Re: Texas state law, CROSS YOUR TRAILER SAFETY CHAINS!

                              Originally posted by JimKW View Post
                              I have always crossed mine, but never really knew why until I read this thread. I thought it had to do with keeping the trailer straighter if it came off the ball. Never thought of the chains catching the tounge.
                              The important part is the chains cannot be too long. I was interviewed on a similar topic although it had more to do with ensuring the trailer didnt come unhitched.

                              If you know your trailer won't come unhitched, the chains are for peace of mind.

                              The link to my interview, the video is on the right column...I was a local celeb for about a week in MN whoohoo! I thought it was really cool cause I had just bought the boat and I made it on the news. (Just glad it wasn't on a day I was playing hookie).

                              http://www.kare11.com/news/news_arti...51991&catid=14
                              2003 Glastron SX175 3.0l Mercruiser

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                              • #60
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                                Re: Texas state law, CROSS YOUR TRAILER SAFETY CHAINS!

                                Well, I guess the final analysis is that people are gonna do what they're gonna do. As someone's signature says on here ( paraphrasing ) it's amusing to what extent they'll go to justify what they want to do.
                                For those who want to be legal, it is easy enough to check the laws.
                                For the folks that either don't care or don't want to educate themselves, maybe rereading the original post in this thread will show you the light.

                                Safe trailering.
                                Last edited by HappierWet; July 27th, 2010, 08:06 AM. Reason: edited for content and spelling
                                Why does a round pizza come in a square box?

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