Before you start each trailering trip, you must always hitch up. Even if you leave your hauling rig hitched most of the time, at some point you had to connect the hauling vehicle and the trailer together. Safety is a major concern during these hitching activities.
Remember to make certain the area between your tow vehicle and trailer is clear of people, especially children. Hitching up has probably become routine to you, especially if you travel on a regular basis; therefore, it is easily approached with a relaxed attitude.
The very first time you hitch up your towing vehicle, you checked out the size of the ball and coupler you were connecting together. (Each coupler has the required ball size written or stamped onto it.) After making sure you had the correct ball on your vehicle, you lightly greased the ball and dropped the coupler in place.
These things have now become a series of steps you go through without much thought. This is when things get serious; you must think about the safety of the people and cargo involved in your towing expedition.
You must take extra care to be sure the coupler is completely seated and locked on the ball – whether you are connecting a gooseneck or a bumper pull – each time you hitch up. If you have safety chains, attach them. Also connect the emergency breakaway switch (if applicable) and the wire plug for your lights to the towing vehicle. An often forgotten – and very important – task to remember is to raise the jack leg. If you forget this, you can create a noisy, embarrassing and dangerous situation.
Always check your trailer lights before you start out. It will help you avoid problems down the road. Look for burned out bulbs and wiring problems. The compatibility of your truck and trailer plugs is something you have probably determined long ago, but you must always keep an eye on them.
Tedious as it may sound, hitching up is one of the most important things you will do. Hitching problems and poor hitch maintenance are two of the most common causes for accidents when towing trailers. Remember to take your time and think about what you are doing when you hitch up.