I always look at other people's trailer hitches when passing by and notice that many do not crisscross the chains. I was stopped years ago by a state trooper who told me that it was a law that the chains must be crossed incase the ball connection failed. Any comments.
I cross 'em.
One advantage of crossed chains is that it forms a cradle to catch the trailer tongue should the trailer slip off the ball for some reason...(ball shank break; nut holding the ball fall off, etc.)
Granted, "safe operating procedure" should never allow that to happen.
I'm with Bob, I cross them.
I too cross them. I never thought much about it, I just do it that way.
My pastor drove over a 1/2 mile with the tongue of his trailer supported in the crossed chains to get off a country road. Without them crossed the tongue would have dug into the road surface.
I cross them.
I would love to see any evidence of such a statute.
Have always crossed them too. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Adm. Regs. pertain to 'tow bars', the kind behind motor homes you see pulling along a vehicle in tow.
But this reg. is found in many states laws regarding towing trailers too.
(ii) If chains or cables are used as the safety device, they shall be crossed and attached to the vehicles near the points of bumper attachments to the chassis of the vehicles. The length of chain used shall be no more than necessary to permit free turning of the vehicles. The chains shall be attached to the tow-bar at the point of crossing or as close to that point as is practicable.
Here is a link by AAA that gives state by state requirements for trailer towing. The states vary all over the place, most require chains, many require the chains meet the tensile strength of the weight of the trailer.
One state calls out specifically for "crossed chains", and that is Pennsylvania
You are correct about Texas law. Found this on a TX law officer's blog, he is a supervisor.
The officer posted that there is no law, specific on 'crossing' chains, but chains are required, and many people do cross them, and line officers are people too and if they see un-crossed chains they might cite the owner.
The TX law has a 'wiggle' for such officer, as the law reads "unless safety chains of a type approved by the department are attached in a manner approved by the department"
Sec. 545.410. TOWING SAFETY CHAINS. (a) An operator of a passenger car or light truck may unless safety chains of a type approved by the department are attached in a manner approved by the department not draw a trailer, semitrailer, house trailer, or another motor vehicle from the trailer, semitrailer, house trailer, or drawn motor vehicle to the drawing vehicle. This subsection does not apply to the drawing of a trailer or semitrailer used for agricultural purposes.
(b) The department shall adopt rules prescribing the type of safety chains required to be used according to the weight of the trailer, semitrailer, house trailer, or motor vehicle being drawn. The rules shall:
(1) require safety chains to be strong enough to maintain the connection between the trailer, semitrailer, house trailer, or drawn motor vehicle and the drawing vehicle; and
(2) show the proper method to attach safety chains between the trailer, semitrailer, house trailer, or drawn motor vehicle and the drawing vehicle.
(c) Subsection (b) does not apply to trailers, semitrailers, or house trailers that are equipped with safety chains installed by the original manufacturer before the effective date of the rules.
(d) This section does not apply to a trailer, semitrailer, house trailer, or drawn motor vehicle that is operated in compliance with the federal motor carrier safety regulations.
(e) In this section, "safety chains" means flexible tension members connected from the front of a drawn vehicle to the rear of the drawing vehicle to maintain connection between the vehicles if the primary connecting system fails.
Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 30.113(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1357, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.
I first started crossing the chains was to shorten the chains, so it kinda stuck.
I am with Richard; cross them to shorten the chains so they donít drag on road.
Boy, Maryland is quite explicit.
It would appear that my U-Haul installed hitch, with the safety chain attach point on the hitch, would not satisfy the law:
" Every trailer and semitrailer equipped with a tow bar and any special mobile equipment being towed shall be coupled directly to the frame of the towing vehicle with 1 or more safety chains or cables, and the chains or cables shall be connected to the towed or towing vehicle and to the tow bar to prevent the tow bar from dropping to the ground if it fails.
Every camp trailer is required to be attached by a hitch and shall be coupled to the frame of the towing vehicle by means of a safety chain, chains, cables, or equivalent device which shall be of sufficient strength to control the trailer in event of failure of the regular hitch or coupling.
(Message edited by adave on May 14, 2016)
It would seem that unibody constructed vehicles wouldn't be permitted to tow anything under those statutes.
Here in Canada if the D.O.T. stops you and your chains are not cross you get a ticket unless you get one in a good mood a than you get a warning.
I cross mine. A simple safety thing.
Mine are bolted to each other below the hitch as well as welded to the trailer.
From a practical standpoint .....
Any law is subject to the discretion of the law enforcement officer who chooses to enforce it according to THEIR discretion - not yours.
You can always have your " day in court " but that is in the future and if an incident occurs far from home - can prove to be costly.
Crossing chains probably would not make a difference if a trailer would become disconnected from the tow vehicle at highway speed
The trailer would quickly destroy the jack - it is not manufactured or engineered to act as a " rudder " or " tiller " to keep a trailer on a relatively straight path until it can be stopped.
In theory - the braking system on most trailers towed by car owners has an electrical breakaway switch that applies full 12VDC current to the brakes & locks up the trailer.
This breakaway switch is supposed to be operational and have an independent power source.
In most instances - the trailer brakes are not functioning properly and/or the breakaway switch is not functioning properly - which means you have no functional emergency brake system.
What makes more practical sense is to have stout safety chains adequately fastened to the trailer frame & secured to the tow vehicle frame independently of the tow vehicle hitch.
It is a choice of having your trailer staying attached to your tow vehicle in an emergency so you can hopefully navigate a relatively safe stop versus your trailer detaching and becoming an unguided missile for other drivers to deal with.
I had a ball break the mounting bolt. This happened in some curves in the middle of a large city at night. Large trailer loaded with furniture. Borrowed tow vehicle and trailer. I had the chains crossed so it dropped on them and was able to pull the trailer about 4 city blocks and got it fixed. Scared the living crap out of me.
Not only will crossed chains help cradle the tongue, they will tend to keep the trailer tongue from swaying side to side if it becomes disconnected. If they are parallel, the tongue can sway as far as the chains are long. They also can be a lot shorter and still have plenty of slack for making tight turns as one side of the chains won't get tighter and the other looser in a turn, to a certain extent.
Royce, chains should never be welded to anything solid. They are far more prone to break because that link can't pivot and if the chain is high strength, the weld will have an adverse effect on the strength of the link. It's by far better to weld a clevis type connecter or something similar that will allow the chain link to pivot freely. I've seen it happen many, many times in my past life as a welder. That being said, I have done it myself before I learned not to. JMHO Dave
Also cross the tie-down straps too. It will keep the car from banging the sides of a flat floor enclosed trailer as you drive if the latches get a little loose. The hub caps dig trenches in the sides of the trailer :~(
Good point Frank. Dave
It's those little open ended chain hooks that crack me up.
Well,I well remember replacement ball hitches having do not weld wrote on them along with do not use top holes for mounting. But the last 1 I put on a trailer had welding instructions.
Welding a chain is not a good idea. Makes a brittle spot on the chain.
And if it had any plating on it, that makes for a crappy weld anyway.
I've bought half a dozen trailers in the past thirty years. Every one has come new with the chains welded to the trailer tongue.
I had always heard crossing is so the chains do not bind in a tight turn.
Richard, Me too. I replace the hooks with the chain link that has a nut that you screw down to close the loop. Use them both on trailer chains and hold down straps.
Yes Royce, I've seen that too. Doesn't mean it's a good idea though. It's just faster and easier for them. Dave
Bet this guy was fortunate his safety chains were strong and fastened well
The picture above doesn't show the 40 foot drop in front of, or below, the front of the pickup.
But the advertisement said i could haul 10,000 pounds with my 4,000 pound truck!! It's what's up front that counts!! Bud.
I must respectfully disagree.
It's much more important, in my humble opinion, to have a tow vehicle that has the mass and stance to control the trailer in an emergency than it is to have a big engine. I prefer both, but if forced I would always choose heft over power so as to increase the odds of maintaining control in an emergency and avoid situations like that depicted in the post above.
After I posted my note I see that I misunderstood your note.
With a more careful read of your note, I believe we may be singing from the same song sheet.
Timothy,We are but the way i word things plus with my spelling who know's?? We bought a used 2015 F-250 crew cab and i'm happy as a clam with it.Bud.
I would also bet that poor guy had to change clothes when he was recovered from the truck.I had saw that picture a few years ago and often wondered how they retrieved the truck and if they did any more damage? I am surprised the tongue of the boat trailer held up that well.
I've always crossed safety chains, didn't know about the law but it just makes sense. My brother tows a small Aliner camper, was out west with him camping and I "taught" him to cross, and he liked the reasoning. My sister saw the chains and came up saying "there's something wrong, your chains aren't on right", thinking the crossing was wrong!
Cross the chains and have a hefty tongue weight. Donít ask me how I know!! Ron
30 years ago, a friend and I were going to a national aaca meet in Norfork Va. We both had open trailers at the time. My friend hit a large pot hole. The trailer came off, broke the chains and went to the side of the road hitting a group of road signs. The car was a 1911 T torpedo. The front fenders and radiator was damaged.
He had failed to lock the ball,did not cross the chains and the surge brakes failed to work.
I always cross the chains and make sure the four wheel electric brakes are working,also the break away is working.
When you are pulling a enclosed trailer at 60-65 mph, you don't need any excitement.
Royce, I have owned three open trailers and three closed trailers. They all had the chains welded on the tongue.