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November 11, 2010
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Smart trailering is safe trailering

In September a vehicle pulling a horse trailer caused a tractor-trailer carrying cattle to slaughter to overturn on Interstate 15 just north of Helena, Mont. The driver of the tractor-trailer swerved to avoid the vehicle with the horse trailer, which was making an illegal turn in the median. No humans were injured but four of the 41 cattle being hauled in the tractor-trailer died in the crash.

Apparently the driver of a pickup with a horse trailer missed her exit and tried to turn around in the median reserved for emergency vehicles. The horse trailer blocked the traffic lane that the tractor-trailer driver was using, and the tractor-trailer driver veered off the road to avoid a collision.

This was an unfortunate incident that couldíve been avoided had the driver towing the horse trailer been more careful. Noting a significant number of similar trailering accidents recorded in its database, USRider reminds horse owners to keep in mind that their horse trailers require extra space when making such maneuvers and they should use extra caution.

USRider offers these additional tips for safe trailering:

  • Is the lighting system on your trailer adequate? Consider updating your lighting to the newer, brighter LED lights. Or consider buying a newer trailer for enhanced safety.
  • Drive with your headlights on at all times.
  • Make sure that your brake lights and turn signals are working properly.
  • Try not to make sudden moves and stops, lane changes or turns without allowing enough space and signaling properly. Other drivers cannot read your mind and the consequences can be tragic and result in human or equine death in an instant.
  • If you need to make a stop, make sure you can pull your vehicle and trailer completely out of the lane of traffic.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and other vehicles at all times. Make sure that your mirrors are adequate and are properly adjusted.
  • Above all, do not make illegal U-turns. The road engineers have made them illegal for a reason. Go to the next exit, or to proceed to a safe place to make a turn.


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