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Things Go Wrong!
In life, when things go wrong, they can spiral into a disaster. Recently while towing our 24ft Travel Trailer, we had an oops; the entire hitch on one side of the chassis came loose from the camper. The Travel Trailer quickly lost the connection to the truck and dropped down to the road, seeing this in the rear view mirror I quickly dropped our speed and maintained control of the vehicle with 2 hands firmly on the steering wheel. Not knowing what to expect, I put on the flashers and exited the vehicle. Checking the hitch ball it was still firmly attached to the tow bar, which was now bent to one side and slammed under the back of the truck. I used the jack to return the tow bar to a usable state and backed the camper off the highway.
After the initial shock and awe, we examined what had happen. It seems that the bolts on one side of the hitch had come loose and gave way. It could be someone had tried to steal the hitch in the past, or the vibration of the road had caused them to come loose over time. I was able to unhook the trailer and run to the hardware store for some new bolts. I replaced them on the side of the road and we made our way safely to our destination.
If I had inspected the entire hitch housing including the attachment to the vehicle, I would of noticed the missing bolts and would have not risked the life of myself and my family. After this event, I swore to myself, “You need a pre-flight checklist!” and from that moment forward, I have a very detailed checklist before the trailer moves from the spot. This has allowed us to discover issues with wheels, lights and more.
It doesn’t have to be complex. Simply having a list of categories and specific items to inspect with a checkbox will do.
Here is a quick example:
- Wheels –
- Left Front – Inspect Tire, Check air pressure.
- Left Back – Inspect Tire, Check air pressure
- Right Front –
- Right Back –
- Hitch –
- Sway Bars installed? Pin on bars?
- Break-away line attached?
- Electric Plug installed and locked?
- Lights –
- Running Lights
- Emergency Lights
Use this as a place to start and add specific items for your needs. Or download our starter checklist for fun!