USRider Calls for Improvements on Trailer Wiring
Lexington, Ky. (Feb. 9, 2006) - USRider urges manufacturers of horse trailers to improve their wiring practices. Trailers flex and move constantly when being towed, so it is imperative that proper wiring techniques be used to ensure the proper and continual functioning of a trailer's electrical systems.
USRider manages the Equestrian Motor Plan, a unique roadside assistance program designed especially for those who travel with horses. In addition to this program, the organization is heavily involved in the issue of Large Animal Emergency Rescue as its adopted philanthropy. Through these endeavors, representatives with USRider have observed a trend of wiring failures among horse trailers.
USRider Managing Member Mark Cole has attended the numerous Large Animal Emergency Rescue training sessions that USRider has sponsored. One aspect of this training involves having emergency responders right an overturned horse trailer.
"Most people never see the underside of their horse trailer. But this is essential for examining the wiring," says Cole. "Through this training, we've had the opportunity to inspect numerous brands of trailers, including some that were brand-new. It is a unique perspective from a wiring standpoint, especially since we have yet to see one with good wiring practices."
Based on his firsthand experiences with inspecting trailers, Cole notes these examples of wiring deficiencies:
- Wires coming into contact with sharp metal edges
- Improper materials used to secure wires
- Wires fastened to trailer flooring
- Minimal or no use of convoluted protective tubing
- Underrated or incorrect wiring
- Poor routing of wiring, e.g. wire installed in loops or left hanging, or length of wire is so short that it often disconnects with the slightest movement
Cole is further convinced of the need for improved wiring systems based on the number of service calls USRider receives due to wiring issues. While not the leading cause of roadside troubles, wiring issues do generate numerous service calls from USRider members.
"In simple terms, we are encouraging improved protection of wiring through better wiring practices at the manufacturing level," says Cole.
In addition to pushing for horse trailer manufacturers to improve their wiring practices, USRider urges consumers to be more aware about wiring issues. Regardless of a trailer's age and condition, USRider encourages owners of horse trailers to have their trailers thoroughly inspected for inferior wiring by a competent professional.
"Every trailer that I have inspected has had multiple wiring issues," says Cole. "We have even seen some trailers where good practices were used in areas that consumers could readily view, only to find poor wiring practicing in areas out of view. Generally, horse trailers are plagued with wiring problems. Hence, from our perspective, it is not a matter of if, but rather a matter of when the wiring will fail. Regretfully, most horse trailers on the road right now, at minimum, need some attention, or, at worst, a complete re-wiring."
It is vital to have all lighting functioning properly on a horse trailer. When wiring fails, the chance for tragedy is very high. Adding reflective material on the back of a trailer is a good safety consideration, so even if the lighting fails, the trailer will not become invisible in the dark.
If the wiring that controls lighting malfunctions, it could also affect the lights on the tow vehicle as well. As Cole says, it is very scary, not to mention dangerous, to be on the road at night with lighting problems. However, wiring problems are not just dangerous at night. Lacking the ability to properly signal turns and stops puts owners and their horses at great risk for being rear-ended by another motorist, since most horse trailers travel at slower speeds than other vehicles. In addition, if the wires connected to the brakes malfunction, the brakes could lock, causing an accident or a disablement.
Of course, it is always dangerous to be on the side of the highway with a horse trailer for any reason, and certainly something that one wants to minimize the possibility of occurring.
"Owners have a responsibility here as well," says Cole. "They should always check proper function of marker lights, turn signals, brake lights and other electrical connections prior to trailering and periodically during trips."
For a list of trailer maintenance recommendations, visit the Equine Travel Safety Area on the USRider website at www.usrider.org.
USRider Equestrian Motor Plan is a nationwide member-based organization providing roadside trailering assistance, including towing and roadside repairs for tow vehicles and trailers with horses, emergency stabling, veterinary referrals and more. For more information, visit www.usrider.org or call 1-800-844-1409.