Many people do not think about horse trailer safety when they are trailering a horse, but only think about getting the horse onto the truck and arriving at the destination in a timely fashion. When trailering a horse, the first priority should be horse trailer safety, which involves practicing cell phone safety.
Cell Phone Safety
An increased reliance on cell phones has led to a rise in the number of people who use them while driving. A survey released by the Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company in January 2007 found that 73 percent of the 1,200 drivers interviewed talk on cell phones while driving and do not think about cell phone safety. Unfortunately, countless others use cell phones to read and send text messages while driving.
Talking on your cell phone — or worse, texting — while trailering a horse spells danger when it distracts you from driving. Horse trailer safety demands close attention. Not only do you need to watch what you’re doing, but you also have to keep an eye on other drivers and on road conditions. To do this, you must focus on driving.
Use extreme caution with cell phones when driving, especially when trailering your horse. Make every effort to move to a safe place off the road before answering an incoming call or placing an outgoing call. In an emergency, use your best judgment based on the urgency of the situation.
On the road, your driving requires special precautions. Loaded horse trailers are heavy. The extra weight puts more strain on the tow vehicle and stopping distances are longer. Also, you won’t be able to accelerate as quickly. These problems will be emphasized if you’re close to your maximum towing capacity. A good precaution is to drive at least five miles-per-hour under the speed limit, keep a good distance behind the vehicle in front of you, and don’t dart into traffic. Some states have a separate speed limit for those hauling trailers. Don’t let other drivers push you to drive faster. You’re bigger than they are; let them deal with it.
– Neva Kittrell Scheve, Equispirit Trailers
All-Weather Floor Mats
Here’s how to safely use all-weather floor mats.
Use dealer-approved mats. Stay with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) approved floor mats, available from dealers. These mats have been designed and manufactured to the manufacturer’s specifications to work safety with your vehicle.
Check fit and stability. When you install your floor mats, make sure they fit securely in the floorboard well and stay in place. If your floor mat moves around, it can cause an unsafe driving situation.
Check accelerator. Make sure the driver’s floor mat does not interfere with accelerator-pedal operation in any way. While you will rarely fully depress the accelerator, the floor mat should not interfere with the accelerator’s movement, even at its full length of travel.
Keep the mats clean. Occasionally, clean the dirt and debris from all-weather mats to ensure safe vehicle operation.
Keep the floorboard clean. Keep your vehicle’s floorboard clear of refuse and debris, especially in the driver’s foot well and the area under and behind the driver’s seat. If you brake hard, something as simple as a tissue box or crushed-up soda can could slide forward and become lodged under the brake or accelerator, keeping a pedal from being fully depressed.
Sticky Accelerator: 3 Steps to Control
The news is awash with stories of drivers encountering sticking accelerators. While sticking accelerators have been recently been pegged to Toyota vehicles, this can happen to any vehicle for a variety of reasons, ranging from a broken motor mount, an improper floor mat, to a system glitch, so it is best to be prepared.
First, don’t panic. Your first instinct will be immediately to turn off the engine. But beware; if you do this in many vehicles, you will lose your power steering, power braking, and turn-signal functions.
Instead, follow these steps:
Step 1: Shift into neutral.Immediately shift your vehicle into neutral. The engine will continue to rev (that is, the crankshaft will continue to revolve) and may rev even higher since the vehicle is now out of gear. However, unlike vehicles made prior to the 1980s, modern vehicles have rev-limiting devices built in to protect the engine from over-revving, which would cause permanent engine damage.
Step 2: Pull over.Find the nearest, safest place to move off the road out of the way of traffic, then turn the engine off.
Step 3: Get a tow.Do not attempt to restart your vehicle. Have the vehicle towed to the nearest dealer for your vehicle brand. Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) dealers have the latest information and Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) for their vehicle brand, plus diagnostic equipment designed specifically for that vehicle. Additionally, they will be most likely to be aware of issues affecting that particular vehicle.
Signal for Safety
Although the turn signal lever is conveniently located within mere inches of the steering wheel, countless drivers fail to use it. This is unfortunate for other drivers on the road.
Appropriate turn-signal use is important for alerting other drivers of your turn, when changing lanes and when merging onto a freeway to avoid collisions. Clearly state your intentions with turn signals, especially when trailering your horse.
Turn-signal safety tips:
• Make sure all signals are in good working order. Have a friend check your lights from time to time. Don’t pull your trailer if the turn signals aren’t working properly.
• Turn on your signals before you make a turn or maneuver, not during the turn or maneuver.
• Get into the habit of using turn signals all the time, not just when other drivers are present.
• Be an aware driver. Turn off turn signals when you have completed your turn or maneuver.