Stop taking unnecessary risks. Safety Chains will protect you from vehicle damage and personal injury.
Safety chains are common equipment in the towing industry and everyone knows they should use them, but do you? Many towers donít. They say they are too busy or too rushed to get the next call to use them. Many feel completely confident in their equipment and hook-up procedures and feel that thereís no need for safety chains. Some simply forget to use them. Still others say itís just a hassle donít use them at all. These towers are running a serious risk by not using their safety chains. These chains are your second-line of defense Ė a way to prevent a vehicle from running away in case your tie down straps, tow chains or other type of attachment fails while towing. Without safety chains you run the risk of causing damage to your customerís vehicle or your truck. You may even cause injury to pedestrians, other motorists or yourself.
Itís the Law
Safety chains are required by federal regulations as well as by city and state laws. In many instances, tow truck and equipment manufacturers supply safety chains with their newest models. Safety chains shouldnít be confused with tie down straps or regular tow chains. Those types of tie downs are your primary retaining system while safety chains are your secondary or backup system in case the primary system fails. You should always use both a primary and secondary tie down system every time you tow Ė whether itís a long trip cross-country or just a short trip around the corner.
Using safety chains is easy
Many towers say that using safety chains is too much of a hassle and takes too much time. Itís true, it will take a few extra minutes to attach them, but imagine the inconvenience and problems youíd have if a towed vehicle did break away from your truck and cause an accident. With the right equipment and a little practice, attaching safety chains can be both quick and easy.
First of all, make your safety chains accessible. Hang them in a toolbox or store them in a separate bag so you wonít have to dig for them. Make your attachment points on your truck reachable. Attachment points that are too high or too hard to reach wonít get used. Solve this by storing your safety chains in steel storage boxes on the back of your truck. The safety chain stays permanently attached in the box while the box also serves to protect your chains from damage and weather. Many manufacturers supply trucks with these boxes as standard equipment. If not, you can retrofit your truck by welding your own boxes to the back. Then itís just a matter of pulling one end of the safety chain out of the box and attaching them to your customerís vehicle. Or you may want to weld grab hooks or chain latches like our DK6 to various locations on the back of your truck. So that no matter what the situation youíll have a safety chain attachment point handy. Making safety chain use easy encourages their use. Itíss that simple.
Safety Chains are Safety Chains Ė thatís it!
Donít use your safety chains as tow chains or recovery chains. Keep one set of chains for towing and a separate set for safety tie down. This way, if you damage your tow chains and they fail, at least youíll know your safety chains have not been compromised. Remember safety chains are your backup system should your tow chains fail. You want to know that they will perform in an emergency situation when needed. Always use two safety chains and always attach them independently from your towing equipment. In other words, attach them to the tow truck Ė not to the tow sling or wheel lift. Attach one end to a sturdy point on the tow truck such as a D-ring or T-slot. Then attach the other end to a strong spot the towed vehicle such as the axle or frame. Make sure that you leave enough slack in the chain to allow easy turning but that they donít drag the ground or bounce loose.
At least once a week, you should inspect your safety chain link, by link looking for stretched links, knicks or other damage that can cause safety chains to fail. Replace the chains if necessary. You donít want to rely on ďquestionableĒ equipment in an emergency situation.
Replacing safety chains is simple
If you donít currently have safety chains or if you need to replace damaged ones, check your equipment manual to ensure youíre buying the correct size. Most light duty trucks will use 5/16Ē chains while most medium duty trucks use ĹĒ and heavy duties handle 5/8Ē size. Most safety chains are available in either Grade 40 or Grade 70. Be sure to choose the appropriate size and grade of chain for the load you are tying down. Make sure that the WLL (Working Load Limit) is the same or higher than your primary tie down system since it will have to hold the load should your primary tie down system fail. Remember, a higher grade of chain (Grade 70 or Grade 80) with a higher WLL allows you to use a smaller size and lighter weight chain.
So, stop risking potential damage and injury by using safety chains. Follow the law and use them for every towing situation you encounter. Make using safety chains a habit and encourage your employees to do the same. Make it convenient and easy to find and attach safety chains and they will be used more frequently. Only use your safety chains as safety chains. Donít substitute them for towing chains or recovery chains. That way youíll be sure you have chains that are always in good condition and are always safe to use.