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trailer know-how

From Habitat magazine - issue 11

Backing a trailer may be a bloke’s rite of passage but what else is there to know about these handy vehicles?

Got a load to haul, rubbish to dump or furniture to move? Trailers come in all shapes and sizes, and are readily available to hire.

Not many of us actually own trailers. For a start, we don’t use them regularly enough and then there’s the problem of where to store them when not in use. Hiring a trailer is often the best solution, and if you do so from a reputable outlet like Hirepool, the first few checks listed below will have already been made for you.

  • Check that your trailer has a current warrant of fitness and registration.

  • Check that all lights are in working order, and know that if your load obstructs essential lights you must fix temporary lights to comply with legal requirements.

  • Ensure the tow rating of your vehicle and the trailer coupling is sufficient for your load and compatible with the tow ball size.

These are guidelines only and we would recommend all users consult Land Transport NZ for their comprehensive guide to safe loading and towing. The ultimate responsibility for the trailer, vehicle and load rests with the driver of the vehicle.

Tip 1Tip 1: Ensure that the safety coupling and lights are correctly connected and in working order before starting to load your trailer.
Tip 2Tip 2: It is important to use the right trailer for your load, for example a car transporter is designed to distribute the weight of the vehicle without stressing the tow bar and will often feature mechanisms like tilting decks and winches to help the operator to safely load the vehicle. See for more information.
Tip 3Tip 3: To load your trailer safely, spread the load out evenly, with heavier items towards the bottom of the deck. Also position loads as close to the axle as possible. Ensure your load is securely restrained by lashings (webbing straps, ropes, chains) or clamps anchored to the trailer in the appropriate places.
Tip 4Tip 4: If your load is likely to blow around, for example garden waste, it should be covered.
Tip 5Tip 5: Remember that a load will try to move when you are breaking, accelerating, turning or negotiating speed humps so ensure it is secured against all directions of movement.
Tip 6Tip 6: If your load extends more than 200mm beyond the sides of the trailer or more than one metre beyond the front or back of the vehicle, you must attach a suitable warning device, like a brightly coloured cloth flag.

Words and pictures: Hirepool

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