Dump trailers are very useful tools, and like any other tool they can also be dangerous if not used correctly. There are some common mistakes that dump trailer operators can make, which can lead to severe damage or injury.
For instance, some people have used dump trailers to haul livestock or horses – or had people ride in the dump trailer. This is obviously dangerous for numerous reasons and should never be attempted. A dump trailer is specifically designed for hauling cargo that is to be dumped. That’s all.
What other hazards are associated with dump trailers? Here are 10 of the biggest:
- OverloadingThis is probably the easiest way to damage your trailer, your tow vehicle, or even yourself. Never exceed the GVWR of your trailer and never exceed the tongue weight rating of your tow vehicle.
- Improper Weight DistributionJust like overloading, improperly distributing the weight of your load – whether side to side or front to back – can put unnecessary stress on both your trailer and your tow vehicle, possibly leading to loss of control and accidents.
- Modifying or Altering Dump ControlsYes, this is actually something people do. It’s very easy to make a mistake, and a malfunctioning dump trailer can be very dangerous. Don’t do it.
- Not Dumping from a Solid and Level FoundationDumping on uneven or soft ground can cause your trailer to tip while dumping, which means very bad things for any person or object on the wrong side of it.
- Not Fully Opening Rear Doors When DumpingIn the middle of dumping your load is not a good time to be hurried or lazy. Always be sure that the rear doors are open and secured before dumping.
- Getting Under a Raised Dump BodyThis one’s pretty self-explanatory. What if someone decides to lower the body suddenly? Or what if the hydraulics suddenly fail? Don’t take the chance.
- Not Using, or Improperly Using the Body PropAgain, this is no time to get lazy or cut corners. Understand how to and always use your body prop.
- Modifying or Altering Hydraulic ComponentsNever alter or substitute any hydraulic system component. An altered or component substituted hydraulic system, may malfunction and cause the dump body to fall without warning. Not good.
- Jerking the Trailer, or Hydraulics, to Loosen the LoadSudden jerks – particularly on a loaded trailer – can put a tremendous amount of stress on your trailer, and particularly the hydraulics. A raised, loaded dump bed suddenly crashing down because of a hydraulic failure is not going to make your day better.
- Trailer Contacting or Coming Near Overhead Power Lines When Body Is RaisedAlways be sure the area around and above your trailer is free of any obstacles before raising your dump bed. Overhead power lines are very easy to overlook when you’re busy. Don’t do it. Also, make sure you never drive with your dump bed raised.
There are many other hazards associated with improperly using a dump trailer, but these are the ones most commonly encountered. Be smart, stay safe, and your dump trailer will be an amazingly helpful tool for many years. Cut corners or get careless and things can get very bad very quickly.
Here’s to hoping for many years of safe dumping.