If you have ever had a trailer break loose off your trailer hitch before you will relate to my story. Today was my first and hopefully only experience with this. I have been pulling trailers for many years and have always hooked up the trailer and checked all of the safety chains and alike. Yesterday evening I rented a U-haul to help one of my employees� move some house hold items and the U-haul representative hooked up the trailer to my Suburban. I looked at the chains and everything looked good. I traveled 90 miles to pick up her belongings and returned last night without any problems. I parked the trailer still hooked up to the Suburban last night and this morning I was returning it back to Venice. I did not even think of rechecking the trailer when I departed, which was the first time and the last I will ever do that again. It was raining and is still raining from a tropical depression passing over.
I was just a mile from my destination to drop off the trailer and in heavy traffic driving in the left lane traveling at 45 mph on a curve when I hit a bump in the road and the trailer let loose. The trailer was swinging back and forth and rocking my Suburban bad. I could only think that this is going to be a bad accident. I knew it was just a matter of seconds before I heard the crashing sounds and the uneasy feeling of loosing control of my vehicle. I held on tight and remarkably nobody got hurt. Cars where scrambling all over the highway while they were breaking to avoid my unfortunate situation.
The trailer rolled forward into the back of my Suburban and then bounced back before the trailer brakes took hold. I had my vehicle in the median and I finally came to a stop. My heart was pounding and I was getting the shakes when I stepped out to see the damage. I looked at the traffic to see if anyone was involved. After that I looked to see what happened and why the trailer broke loose. This is what happened. The ball lock was unscrewed. I knew right then that I made a big mistake by not checking the connection before I left.
I have learned a few things about trailer brakes today. One, the brake chain or cable needs to be shorter than the safety chains for it to work if the trailer breaks loose. Secondly, if the trailer is loose and is not heading in the same direction as the tow vehicle when the brakes are activated the ability to control the tow vehicle is just about gone.
I will always make my own connection and will never trust my safety in the hands of someone else without double-checking.