Safety Checklist for Trailers
Horse trailers need regular checks and preventative maintenance to keep them in the best road safety condition. Below we have compiled a list of the key checks that you as the driver should carry out regularly. We would even recommend every time you hook up take 10 minutes or less to perform a trailer safety check. Following these guidelines will help ensure you and your livestock are safe and pose no danger to other on the road.
Keeping your horse trailer road worthy
Some horse trailer insurance policies have a clause that invalidates the insurance if the trailer comes unhitched from the towing vehicle in transit. Please do check with your broker have the clause retracted. The use of a safety chain will also technically keep the trailer attached to the tow vehicle.
Trailers are equipment with brakes. Make sure the connection are securely connected and in proper working order.
Keep these clean at all times, secure, correct color and positioned correctly. Reflectors should be mounted between 15" and 60" from ground level. It is standard that all trailers should display 2 red reflectors mounted at the rear of the trailer, keep these as far apart as possible.
Front and rear lights
Check all lights are working, clean and securely mounted to the trailer frame and the connection to the tow vehicle is secure. Minimum requirements are 2 rear stop lights and indicators. Additional lights can be mounted to side of the trailer to help other see your trailer when in transit.
Exterior spare Wheel
Make sure there is a spare tire onboard and it is inflated to the correct pressure. The tread should be at a minimum 1.6 mm. All tire weight ratings must be adequate for the axle and load weight of the trailer.
Vehicle to trailer coupling
Check that the breakaway chains is correctly and securely fixed and will not snag if called into action.
Check all doors and windows for any signs of wear and tear. Take note that the state of these can act as a deterrent to any would be thief. All mud guards and fenders should be checked for any sharp edges as this is both dangerous and prohibited by UK law.
Check all towing mirrors are clean and mounted safely to the towing vehicle. They should not vibrate when in transit.
VIN and Paperwork
All trailers must have Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) which must be physically verified against supporting paperwork.
You should also consider taking out specific horsebox breakdown cover just in case of a problem when on route to your destination. The cover is available for horsebox and tow car and horse trailer.
For a printable checklist the University of California has made a list available at this link.