EMERGENCY!

BREAKDOWN!


What to do if your hauling rig breaks down on the highway; plus, how to prevent it.


Breaking down on a busy road with a loaded trailer is something none of us likes to think about. But knowing what to do in advance can take the panic out of this stressful situation.


We talked to experts at USRider, a roadside-assistance company for horse owners. They gave us a list of critical do's and don'ts to use in the event of a breakdown. They also provided a rundown of what you can do new to reduce your chances of ever needing that "what to do" list, plus some tips on how to be fully prepared in case a breakdown ever does occur. Here's what they told us:



DON'T PANIC. If you find yourself disabled with a horse in tow along a busy roadway, take a deep breath, stay calm, and make a plan.


DO turn your emergency flashers on immediately.


DON'T stay in a dangerous location if you can still move your rig. If you're close to heavy traffic, try to get to a safer spot—such as the next freeway off-ramp. You can still drive with a flat tire; if you ruin the wheel, it's worth it to avoid getting hit.


DO pull as far right as you can, if you can't get off a busy road. If you believe you're in imminent danger of being hit, or if you have a human or equine health emergency, call 911. Otherwise, call whatever help is available.


DO be prepared to give precise directions to your location. If you have a GPS unit, use the "locate" feature for latitude/longitude coordinates.


DON'T unload your horse if you're still near traffic. The risk to both him and yourself of getting hit is too great. Don't let him stick his head out the window, either.


DO alert other motorists if you're still near traffic by placing flares around your rig. (Place the first about 20 feet behind your trailer, then place them in 50 - and then 100-foot increments to a distance of about 300 feet.) As an alternative, a friend, police officer, or passerby can alert motorists.


DON'T attempt to change a flat tire yourself if you have access to help. If you must do it, have a qualified mechanic re-torque that wheel as soon as possible.


BE-READY  STRATEGIES  -  What  to  do  in  advance  to  be  ready  for  a  breakdown.


Boost  visibility.  Apply  reflective  material  to  the  back  of  your  trailer  to  make  it  easier  to  see  if  you  lose  power.


Carry  a  spare  spare.  because  of  the  high  incidence  of  two  flat  tires  simultaneously  on  horse  trails.  USRider  recommends  that  you  carry  two  spares.


Protect  your  horse. Outfit  him  in  shipping  boots  and  head/face  protections.


Carry  necessities.  These  include  drinking  water  and  first-aid  kits  for  yourself  and  your  horse,  plus  flares.


Plan  for  help.  Consider  joining  a  membership  plan,  such  as  USRider (usrider.org), to be  eligible  for  roadside  assistance,  towing  services,  and  other  travel-related  benefits.



AVOID  THAT  BREAKDOWN


Here's  how  to  up  the  odds  you  never  experience  a  hauling-rig  breakdown.


In  general:


Maintain  your  rig.  Use  a  good,  ASE- certified  mechanic ("ASE"  is  short  for  the  National  Institute  for  Automotive  Service  Excellence)  to  maintain  your  tow  vehicle  to  the  manufacturer's  specifications.  Have  a  knowledgeable  professional  inspect  your  trailer (including  axle  bearings and  all  wiring)  every  12  months  or  12,000  miles.


Replace  tires  often:


Know  how  old  your  rig's  tires  are,  and  replace  them  every  three  to  five  years,  buying  from  a  high-volume  tire  dealer  to  avoid  tires  that  have  been  sitting  on  a  shelf. "The  number  one  reason  for  trailer  disablement  is  a  tire  issue,"  warns  Mark  Cole,  managing  member  of  USRider.


Just  before  a  trip:


Check  tire  pressure,  using  a  high-quality  tire  pressure  gauge.  Know  what  the  air  pressure  should  be  for  your  vehicle's  and  trailer's  tires,  and  be  sure  to  check  spares  and  the  inside  tires  on  dually  trucks,  too.


Inspect  the  hitch:


Make  sure  it  and  the  coupler  match  and  fit  correctly,  and  that  the  safety  chains  and  break-away  mechanism  are  secured  properly.


Balance  the  load:


With  a  straight-load  trailer,  place  the  heaviest  horse  in  the  left  stall (which  puts  him  on  the  "highest  side"  of  the  road).  When  hauling  just  one  horse  use  the  left  stall.


During  a  trip:


Stay  slightly  under  the  speed  limit,  and  drive  as  if  you  have  a  cup  of  water  on  the  floorboard.  Double  the  following  distance  recommended  for  passenger  cars.  DON'T  TEXT  OR  TALK  ON  A  CELL  PHONE!


 HORSE & RIDER   APRIL  2010


………………..


YOU  CAN  NOW  BUY  TINS  OF  "AIR  AND  SEAL"  FLAT  TIRE  LIQUID;  FOR  THINGS  LIKE  FLAT  TIRES  FROM  A  NAIL  OR  LEAKING  SIDE-RIM  TROUBLE.  IN  MOST  CASES  IT  WILL  GET  YOU  TO  THE  SERVICE  STATION  FOR  PRO  REPAIRS.


I  ALSO  CARRY  A  TIRE  INFLATOR  PUMP;  ANYWHERE  FROM  THE  OLD  BIKE  TIRE  HAND  PUMP,  TO  FOOT  PUMP,  TO  BATTERY  AIR  PUMP….. THE  LATTER  IS  NOW  WHAT  I  HAVE,  MAKING  SURE  YOU  HAVE  THE  BATTERY  FULLY  CHARGED  BEFORE  LEAVING  ON  A  TRIP.


Keith Hunt






BE-READY STRATEGIES

What to do in advance to be ready for a breakdown:

Boost visibility. Apply reflective material to the back of your trailer to make it easier to see if you lose power.

Carry a spare spare. Because of the high incidence of two flat tires simultaneously on horse trailers, USRider recommends that you carry two spares.

• Protect your he in shipping bo

AVOID THAT BREAKDOWN

Here's how to up the odds you never experience a hauling-rig breakdown.

In general: /Maintain your rig. Use a good, ASE-certified mechanic ("ASE" is short for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) to maintain your tow vehicle to the manufacturer's specifications. Have a knowledgeable professional inspect your trailer (including axle bearings and all wiring) every 12 months or 12,000 miles.

'Replace tires often. Know how   old your rig's tires are, and replace them every three to five years, buying

from a high-volume tire dealer to avoid tires that have been sitting on a shelf. "The number-one reason for trailer disablement is a tire issue," warns Mark Cole, managing member for USRider.

Just before a trip:

Check tire pressure, using a high-quality tire pressure gauge. Know what the air pressure should be for your vehicle's and trailer's tires, and be sure to check spares and the inside tires on dually trucks, too.

rInspect the hitch. Make sure it and V   the coupler match and fit correctly, and that the safety chains and breakaway mechanism are secured property.

Balance the load. With a

straight-load trailer, place the heaviest horse in the left stall (which puts him on the "higher side" of the road). When hauling just one horse, use the left stall.

During a trip:

Keep headlights on. This increases your visibility.

rDrive safely. Stay slightly under w    the speed limit, and drive as if you have a cup of water on the floorboard. Double the following distance recommended for passenger cars. DON'T text or talk on a cell phone!