What rhymes with chock

Safely to the destination - coupling and uncoupling of a trailer

In cooperation with Humbaur / Werbung

Safe coupling and uncoupling of a trailer should not only be mastered in the driving test for class BE, but also in handling a trailer and especially when a ride on the horse is imminent.

I would like to describe all the important steps and helpful tips to you in this blog post.

Check up

Before I start coupling or maneuvering the car on the trailer drawbar, I make sure that the trailer is found in a proper condition. The first inspection leads me to the back of the trailer with a view of the license plate:

  • the trailer is approved and therefore insured
  • there is a currently valid TüV sticker

If the two points apply, I will check further points:

  • are the tires OK (profile, pressure)
  • I can rule out damage to doors, ramps, support surfaces, walls

Maneuvering

When hitching a trailer, there are a number of important aspects to consider that are responsible for safety. First, the towing vehicle is maneuvered as straight as possible and at a slow pace on the trailer drawbar. The already extended trailer coupling should come under the anchorage of the drawbar as best as possible. A second person is an advantage here, who can show me the exact distance to the tiller using the exterior mirrors with hand movements.

If you have to rely on yourself, a fixed look at a certain point helps me to keep track of how much distance I have already covered. Here, too, it is better to get out too often to make sure how much distance is still missing.

My tips for maneuvering the towing vehicle on the trailer drawbar are straight and centered approach at a steady and slow pace.

Coupling

If the vehicle is right in front of the trailer, I go through the following steps:

  • Secure the tear-off rope
  • Stow wheel chocks on both sides
  • Release the handbrake
  • Crank the support wheel upwards
  • pull the handle of the anchorage so that the coupling engages
  • Establish electrical connection

If I am not sure whether the anchoring of the coupling is securely engaged and holding, I carry out the cross-check. To do this, the support wheel is cranked in the opposite direction and it is observed whether the car can be lifted up using the force of the support wheel.

The cross check is useful to check whether the trailer is securely anchored to the coupling.

Testing

After coupling, I go through the last points to check the functionality of the electrical connection and the brakes. For the light test, I ask a second person to confirm that the following lights are working:

  • Turn signal right / left
  • Hazard warning lights
  • Reversing light
  • Brake light
  • Daytime running lights
  • Rear fog light
  • Light above the license plate
  • Brake test

For the brake test, I drive about a meter forward, brake abruptly and see whether the so-called "accordion" has compressed.

Before setting off, make sure that all objects in the trailer are secured and that the roof is free of snow and ice, especially in winter.

Uncoupling

  • Pull the handbrake
  • Place wheel chocks on both sides
  • Remove the safety rope
  • disconnect electrical connection
  • Crank down the support wheel
  • Release the anchorage by pulling on the handle

If the trailer is safe and free from the car, I drive about a meter forward, swivel in the trailer coupling and attach the anti-theft device to the trailer drawbar.

The trailer is allowed to stand for two weeks in public parking lots and a warning parking sign is attached to identify it.

driving licence

In order to be able to drive a trailer from 750kg to 3500kg, a driving license of the driving license class BE is required. The driving license is set at 5 compulsory hours if you have a class B driving license (3 overland, 1 motorway, 1 night). The duration and thus also the price of the driving license depends individually on the learning process of the respective person. On average, the pure trailer license costs are between € 400 and € 600. The examination fees of around 100 € are also billed via the TüV.

 

You can find the third part of our series ‘Cashman’s Best on Tour by Humbaur’ on this topic on our YouTube channel.

This post shows my personal experiences and handling of a trailer. I assume no liability for the correctness of the content or the sequence.