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Old 08-21-2020, 09:25 PM   #1
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Safety chain

Does an escape 5th wheel require safety chains when pulled with Anderson hitch?
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Old 08-21-2020, 10:43 PM   #2
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In Texas the answer is yes, the requirement in state law makes no distinction regarding type / brand of hitch (bumper-pull, gooseneck, 5th wheel, all require 'safety chains' for RV trailers).

Methinks you'll find that's true in many if not most jurisdictions.

Please note I'm not commenting on the 'efficacy' of 'safety chains', just legal requirements, which may vary state-to-state.
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Old 08-22-2020, 06:27 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Centex View Post
In Texas the answer is yes, the requirement in state law makes no distinction regarding type / brand of hitch (bumper-pull, gooseneck, 5th wheel, all require 'safety chains' for RV trailers).
I do not believe this is entirely correct. To the best of my knowledge, a true 5th wheel hitch does not require safety chains anywhere in the USA, including Texas. The term 5th wheel hitch means coupling DIRECTLY to the kingpin. The Andersen hitch modifies the kingpin in essence to be a ball and coupler, and regardless of what Andersen might claim, it is not a true 5th wheel hitch and does require safety chains. Chains, however, are only a small inconvenience if one wants to use the Andersen system. If the clanking of chains is a concern, there are companies who market vinyl coated coiled safety cables that can be used in lieu of chains.
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Old 08-22-2020, 06:38 AM   #4
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While donít own or tow a 5th wheel ask your states DPS. I talked to one while emptying me wallet at the gas pump and he said yes they are required in Texas.
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Old 08-22-2020, 03:22 PM   #5
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Carl explained the situation well. The safety chain (or cable) requirement is typically not dependent on the specific trailer, or even whether the trailer is hitch conventionally (behind the bumper) or roughly over the truck's axle; it depends on the type of hitch. The Andersen Ultimate is a ball (and socket) hitch, and in typical regulations only fifth-wheels are exempted from the safety chain requirement.

The issue is that if a ball-and-socket hitch is not latched properly, the driver may pull away and not notice, risking that the trailer bounces off of the ball over a bump or in an incident. In contrast, if a fifth-wheel hitch is not latched the trailer falls out of the hitch when the driver pulls away, so the problem is noticed before dangerous speeds are reached.

For years Andersen incorrectly insisted that safety chains were not required with their Ultimate hitch; however, they eventually conceded that they were at least legally required and more recently they have offered the chain hardware as a normal part of the configuration.

The safety chains can be difficult to reach over the truck box sides, but a common solution is to leave the chains attached to the anchors down on the floor of the truck box when unhitching, and to instead unhook them from the more easily reached coupler location.
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Old 08-22-2020, 06:20 PM   #6
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I find the chains very easy to use. I have the attachment plate in front, where I keep the chains permanently attached. Then i just click them on the king pin adapter and make sure everything is locked down.

I have the king pin adapter stored in a lock box that allows for the chain loops to stay on. The whole system is slick and easy.

I just hauled some firewood. Now there is a state wide fire ban.
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Old 08-22-2020, 11:21 PM   #7
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While don’t own or tow a 5th wheel ask your states DPS. I talked to one while emptying me wallet at the gas pump and he said yes they are required in Texas.
I would have to go with the DPS officer on this one. I looked up the applicable Texas law and it states ALL trailers towed by a passenger car or light truck have to have safety chains unless for agricultural purposes.

https://texas.public.law/statutes/te...ection_545.410

I've looked everywhere and can't find an exception. Semi tractor / trailers are not light trucks so don't count.
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Old 08-23-2020, 06:05 PM   #8
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I looked up the applicable Texas law and it states ALL trailers towed by a passenger car or light truck have to have safety chains unless for agricultural purposes.

https://texas.public.law/statutes/te...ection_545.410

I've looked everywhere and can't find an exception. Semi tractor / trailers are not light trucks so don't count.

That's a bizarre requirement, without a fifth-wheel exemption. I wonder if there is a legal fifth-wheel and light truck rig operating in the state? I've certainly never heard of anyone using safety chains with a fifth-wheel.
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Old 08-23-2020, 06:44 PM   #9
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For peace of mind, the extra expense for safety chains is worth it ($190 CAD at Trademasters in Chilliwack).

I have a similar setup as Tim: chains fastened to the bed rails where the Andersen tripod is mounted and hooked with latches to the eye bolts of the Andersen coupler on the trailer. And as Tim also shows, this arrangement allows you to secure the trailer with the yellow Ft.Knox Lock (https://ftknoxlocks.com) when not hooked up to the truck.

Peace of mind when towing, and peace of mind when parked.

Ron
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Old 08-23-2020, 07:45 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by tdf-texas View Post
I would have to go with the DPS officer on this one. I looked up the applicable Texas law and it states ALL trailers towed by a passenger car or light truck have to have safety chains unless for agricultural purposes.

I've looked everywhere and can't find an exception. Semi tractor / trailers are not light trucks so don't count.
Well, I finally did find it, in Texas Administrative Code, Title 37, Part 1, Chapter 21, Rule 21.5 (the Rule enacting the Statute):

>>>
(a) A person may not operate a passenger car or light truck while towing a trailer, semitrailer, house trailer, or another motor vehicle on a public highway unless safety chains of a type approved by the department are attached in a manner approved by the department from the trailer, semitrailer, house trailer, or drawn motor vehicle to the towing vehicle.
(b) Exceptions.
......
(4) Does not apply to fifth wheel or gooseneck semitrailers.

>>>

I'll leave y'all to argue (pardon, "discuss") where the 'hybrid' Andersen 'fits' in that Rule language .

I know that if I ever end-up with that rig, I'll run with chains ... it's not a "discussion" I want to have with a LEO
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Old 08-23-2020, 07:50 PM   #11
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Key word on the exceptions is semitrailers, the big boys hauled by semi trucks
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Old 08-23-2020, 07:53 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
Key word on the exceptions is semitrailers, the big boys hauled by semi trucks
Good catch, Thanks!
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Old 08-23-2020, 09:46 PM   #13
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Good catch, Thanks!
A 5.0 TA by virtue of design IS a semitrailer!
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Old 08-23-2020, 10:00 PM   #14
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Please note I'm not commenting on the 'efficacy' of 'safety chains', just legal requirements, which may vary state-to-state.
the crossed safety chains saved my E21 from a total disaster when the ball came off the tow bar in the middle of BF Arizona. the chains, and judicious application of manual brake control, and I was able to bring it to the side of the road with ZERO DAMAGE. now sure, not a 5th wheel, a conventional hitch towed trailer.

YMMV. Never want a repeat of that incident.
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Old 08-24-2020, 01:01 AM   #15
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A 5.0 TA by virtue of design IS a semitrailer!
I don't think so. A semi-trailer by definition is approximately half carried on its own axles and half by the truck. (Similarly, a "full trailer" has two sets of axles so it can be pulled by a drawbar that carries none of the trailer weight). Like other recreational fifth-wheels, the 5.0 has only a small fraction of its weight on the hitch.

The listed exemption was likely intended to include any trailer hitched over the truck bed rather than behind the bumper, although that makes no physical sense for safety chain use. Unfortunately regulations are sometimes written by people who don't understand the technology being regulated.
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Old 08-24-2020, 07:03 AM   #16
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the crossed safety chains saved my E21 from a total disaster when the ball came off the tow bar in the middle of BF Arizona. the chains, and judicious application of manual brake control, and I was able to bring it to the side of the road with ZERO DAMAGE. now sure, not a 5th wheel, a conventional hitch towed trailer.

YMMV. Never want a repeat of that incident.
That must have been frightening! You were lucky to have brought your rig to a stop before damaging SOMETHING! Not to mention skillful!

Here is another thing to consider. Once you have chains you don't have to worry about it. Just clip them in and let everyone else figure out what your truck is classified as. The last thing I want is a disagreement with a state trooper in the middle of nowhere.

If that trailer ever comes off the king pin while traveling, you got a first class wreck on your hands. I don't intend to become an expert on that one. I can see the pin mount pushed in all the way in my rearview mirror. So I can see the pin is in place while driving.
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Old 08-24-2020, 08:13 AM   #17
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I look at safety chains this way if your trailer some how comes unhitched. They not only give you a peace of mind but they can save your trailer, your life and other lives if it becomes detached then traveling all over the road where others can hit causing major damaging and injuries. It only takes seconds to hook them up. Travel safely and wisely.
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Old 08-24-2020, 10:14 AM   #18
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Does an escape 5th wheel require safety chains when pulled with Anderson hitch?
In case it got confusing, the answer to your question is yes, the Anderson requires the use of chains.
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Old 08-24-2020, 11:54 AM   #19
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In case it got confusing, the answer to your question is yes, the Anderson requires the use of chains.
Thanks Bob for answering - sometimes the forum gets caught with the minutiae so much, we forget what the original question was.
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Old 08-24-2020, 03:27 PM   #20
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i use chains at the time i got the Anderson there was a great deal of differing opinions- but in the end whether required or not i decided it was safer. i too have them attached in the bed so its easy to hook them without climbing in the bed of the trailer (deal breaker for me). i have pulled out without my ball all the way properly attached when i first got my trailer i caught my error but if i hadn't the chains would have decreased to negative consequences.
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