The dangers of not properly securing a trailer

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Sioux Falls, SD On Saturday a farmer was cited for pulling two trailers and a pick up behind his tractor, without a proper safety chain.

The pickup became disconnected and crashed through a Sioux Falls parking lot, damaging three vehicles and crashed into Jimmy Johns on East Benson Road.

Now that summer is here, many people are hauling campers, boats and other trailers, but without the proper connections and safety precautions, all of those items can become a major hazard.

“I looked outside and I saw our delivery driver's car right up against the window, and it was really loud of course because it hit the building,” Jimmy Johns employee Austin Van Bockern said.

Employees inside Jimmy Johns when the vehicle struck said this crash could have been much worse.

“We were just finishing up a delivery for our delivery driver, and just a couple of seconds more he would have been out that door on that delivery, and he would have been right where the accident occurred,” Van Bockern said.

“If they're not properly connected, you run the risk of them becoming disconnected from your vehicle, and running into oncoming traffic where they can cause a serious accident,” Sgt. Jerry Winters with the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Department said.

South Dakota has several laws that require the proper use of safety gear when towing.

“If you're hauling cargo down the road in a trailer, you're responsible for that trailer,” Winters said.

“This is probably one of your most important piece of your safety of towing a trailer,” Curt Olson with Prairie Wind Trailers said.

Safety pins are generally a free item that come with everything you tow and they make a huge difference.

The safety pin goes through you coupler here to make sure your trailer stays on your ball,” Olson said.

Safety chains are the next level of protection when securing your trailer.

“If your trailer ever does come unhooked from your truck, you have something holding that to your vehicle still, so that it doesn't just go crazy all over the road,” Olson said.

There's even a third level of protection to prevent your trailer from flying down the road.

“The break away cable is actually a safety feature, so if your trailer comes unhooked from your truck, it will bring your trailer to a stop,” Olson said.

Law enforcement say you should also make sure the breaks on your vehicle are working properly before towing anything. If you're hauling something over 3,000 pounds, the trailer is actually required to have a breakaway battery that will activate the trailer breaks.

Authorities say one of the biggest dangers of a disconnected trailer is how unpredictable it can be.
It can take off at any speed, in any direction, including into oncoming traffic. That's when some of the most serious trailer accidents occur.