Contractor gives his trailer safety must-haves

Running 100 trailers on a fleet, Simon Williams of SW Hire needs to know everything is road-legal and safe and orders his trailers with certain key extras to make sure his hire customers are within the law.

We asked him what buyers of new trailers should add to their spec list to ensure their load-luggers comply with the law and make driving safe.

See also: In photos: Simple checks to keep farm trailers safe

Simon Williams’ trailer safety must-haves

  • Rear beacon – This helps make it clear to a car approaching from behind that the vehicle in front is slow-moving.
  • Dual tail lamps – LEDs for brakes, indicators and tail lights are backed up with bulbs, which mean there’s enough resistance in the circuit to highlight any faults on the tractor dash and if one fails hopefully the other is still working.
  • Side marker LEDs – These improve overall visibility, and also illuminate the trailer if a car attempts an overtake with the tractor turning right into a gateway.
  • Air-brakes with load sensing – Save tyre wear, make braking more controlled and, if the trailer becomes detached, it automatically locks the brakes on. Air-brakes are also now a must-have for resale values.
  • Hydraulic brakes – Not all tractors have air brakes. Richard Western now fits load-sensing to hydraulic brakes.
  • Commercial axles with 420x180mm brake shoes – Most new customers require these, and on anything over 14t they are a must-have for resale.
  • Flotation 560/60 22.5 tyres – Handy, with wet harvests now a permanent fixture and compaction a big focus.
  • Numberplate holders – Easier for customers to fit their plates and only a small cost on our part.
  • Mud flaps – Reduce stones and mud flicked up on the road.
  • Sprung drawbar – A must for resale, but I don’t think tractors and trailers would be safe at 50kph without them.
  • High-level lights – If more customers asked I would fit them without a question.