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OKRead

A small utility trailer filled with garden waste sat harmlessly on the road in a Manchester neighbourhood yesterday. However, the trailer was not so harmless earlier that day, when it became detached from its tow vehicle and crashed through the front door of a house, causing a gas alert. Could trailer training have prevented this accident?

The owner of the damaged house said she was in her kitchen when she “heard a big bang” outside. She rushed to the front of the home to discover the trailer had come loose, travelled across the road and crashed through her front door. She told the Manchester Evening News that she could immediately hear the ruptured gas line followed by the inevitable smell. She then went door-to-door telling her neighbours to evacuate as they waited for authorities to arrive.

News reports say the trailer became dislodged when the driver of the tow vehicle went over a speed bump. Not only did the trailer rupture the gas line, it also damaged the front wall of the home. The street was shut down for about two hours while the police and National Grid engineers did what they had to do. The ruptured line was eventually capped and residents allowed to return home.

Thankfully, there were no serious injuries or extensive property damage as result of the accident. Things could have been much worse as just a single spark could have levelled the entire street in an instant. As it is, the damage should be very easy to correct in the coming days. There is no word on whether or not the driver will be pursued for wrongdoing. Our question is whether trailer training could have prevented the accident.

Trailer Licence Rules

The law regarding towing in Britain is pretty straightforward. If you are towing a trailer of 750kg or less, and the combined weight of the trailer and tow vehicle is no more than 3,500kg, no special licence is needed. Anything above that will require at least a B+ E entitlement. Larger trailers and tow vehicles may need an even more advanced licence.

Having said that, the trailer in the Manchester accident likely did not require an enhanced licence. However, those who operate such vehicles would still be wise to undergo trailer training from time to time. Depending on how frequently a trailer is used, annual training is adequate.

Towing a trailer is by no means the same as driving a car by itself. Trailers add weight and length, make handling more difficult, and require greater distances for accelerating and braking. Trailers also need to be hooked and unhooked properly to maintain safe travel.

There is no way for us to know whether trailer training would have helped prevent the accident in Manchester. Nevertheless, it may help prevent an accident in your case. We urge you to be trained if you use a trailer of any sort. Training is an inexpensive way for you to be safe on the road.

Sources:

Manchester Evening News – https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/major-gas-alert-after-trailer-7926845

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