Chippewa Valley sees increase in trailer hitch accidents - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Chippewa Valley sees increase in trailer hitch accidents


Eau Claire (WQOW) - An increase in trailer hitch accidents had area experts giving tips to prevent hitch hiccups during the holiday weekend.

A boat falling off a trailer in Jackson County and two crashes in Chippewa County were just a few of the recent trailer hitch accidents.

"We've been fortunate with the nature of the crashes that no one's been injured seriously," Chippewa County Recreation Officer Chris Thibado said. "We've been seeing more of them, especially with the music festivals going on. We had a number of them that came unhooked outside the music festival from not being properly secured."

Thibado said luckily this time, no one was hurt, but it could have been much worse with heavy trailer bouncing a vehicle back and forth.

Ken Brownell, owner of Union Trailer Sales and Service has been in the hitch business for decades, and has seen many people make trailer hookup mistakes, but like any expert, he learned from making one of his own.

"I hooked the trailer on a ball," Brownell said. "A neighbor came over, it was kind of an emergency. I come back, thought I was done, jumped in the truck and headed out the driveway. I didn't get very far down the road, and it come down on the chains because I didn't have it coupled, and I said 'boy, I'll never do that again,' and I never have."

Brownell said the most common mistakes are not having matching ball and coupler sizes, missing a safety pin, or wrongly hooking chains. Having working lights is another crucial part of trailer safety. That means having brake and blinker lights on your trailer.

Experts said the worse danger is an uneducated driver. Brownwell said he receives numerous call asking how to properly hook a trailer, and encourages those who have questions to do the same.

Not having properly hooked hitches can cost you an almost $200 dollar ticket if caught by local law enforcement.

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