Properly coupling a trailer can seem like one of the most basic components of trucking, but that also makes it quite easy to overlook. We wanted to make sure that our drivers were reminded to always confirm that your trailer is coupled properly to your truck before taking off.
One of our drivers recently had the unfortunate experience of dropping a trailer as soon as he left the customer lot. Without performing the proper procedure, this driver wrongfully assumed that the trailer was properly attached to his truck. He started driving and immediately dropped the trailer causing over $5,800 dollars in damages. We share this with you not at all intending to shame the driver, but because we wanted everyone to understand the cost that results from not confirming that your trailer is properly coupled.
We talked to Greg Sullivan, Senior Truck Technician, to reiterate the proper procedure steps:
1. Back up to the trailer making sure your height is at the correct level to couple up.
2. Keep backing up under it until you hear the fifth wheel latch.
3. Hearing the latch is not enough, make sure to get out and confirm that the fifth wheel’s release handle is fully engaged.
4. After this, it’s good practice to visually look up inside the fifth wheel to make sure the latch is secure around the fifth wheel pin.
5. After confirming the fifth wheel latch, make your trailer connections with the hoses and the airline.
6. Raise the landing gear up, and release all the brakes.
7. Pull forward slightly and pull down on the hand brake valve (trailer brakes) to make sure it is properly coupled.
8. Only after completing these steps should you attempt to start your haul.