Braking Requirements

  • All brakes must be operable from the driver’s seat of the towing vehicle except for over-run brakes.TRAILER PLANS Trailer Brakes and Safety
  • Flexible hydraulic brake hoses used in a hydraulic brake system must comply with ADR 7/00, ‘Hydraulic Brake Hoses’. Brake hoses that are marked SAE J1401 are acceptable.
  • All air, vacuum or hydraulic brake tubing or hose, other than those covered by ADR 7/00 must conform to British Standard Specification (BSS), Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc (SAE) or other approved standard appropriate to such tubing or hose.
  • All tubing or hose must be fitted to the trailer so as to prevent chafing, kinking or other mechanical damage under normal movement of the parts to which they are attached.
  • Trailers over 750kg ATM must be fitted with an efficient braking system. For trailers NOT over 2 tonnes GTM*, an efficient braking system is considered to have brakes operaTRAILER PLANS Trailer Brakes and Safety on the wheels on at least one axle. Every trailer OVER 2 tonnes GTM must have brakes operating on ALL wheels.
  • Over-run brakes may be used on trailers up to 2 tonnes GTM.
  • Every trailer over 2 tonnes GTM must have a brake system which will cause immediate application of the trailer brakes in the event of the trailer becoming detached from the towing vehicle (breakaway brake). Under these circumstances the brakes must remain applied for at least 15 minutes.

(summarised from National Code of Practice – Building Small Trailers)

Safety First

Building a trailer involves working with metal, drilling, welding, grinding, painting, heavy lifting and other potentially harmful activities. Ensure that you are familiar with safe working practices of your equipment before attempting this project. Ensure that you use suitable protective gear such as leather gloves, welding helmet, safety goggles, hearing protection and protective clothing. Find a suitable location to build your trailer – such as a shed or garage. Ensure you have sufficient space for the construction activities. Remove flammable materials and ensure that other people – especially kids – are well aware to stay clear of the project area. If in doubt about any safety issues, seek advice before you start. Where possible, enlist the help of a friend to help you lift and manoeuvre heavy parts & assemblies.

Safe Towing of Trailers, Caravans and Campers

TOWING GUIDE (NCRV): Towing any type of trailer involves more than attaching a towbar to your vehicle and hitching up. It adds another dimension to your driving and there are a number of considerations you should take into account.

  • The towing capacity of your vehicle;
  • The type of tow bar you should fit to your vehicle and the maximum load capacity of the coupling;
  • The type of trailer you are towing and whether it complies with all the regulations governing trailers in Australia;
  • The type of equipment you may need to fit to increase the trailer’s stability when being towed;
  • Whether your trailer is correctly loaded;
  • The ways in which towing can affect your driving;
  • The safety checks you should make prior to and during your trip; and
  • The type of insurance most suitable for your caravan or trailer.

SAFE TOWING GUIDE (QLD Government): Towing is very different from everyday driving – it requires additional driving skills and safety precautions. As a driver, you have a legal responsibility to drive to suit the conditions. This also applies when you are towing a trailer or caravan. Also, the towing vehicle, trailer and its load must meet all legal and safety requirements.

This Safe Towing Information Booklet provides information about how to ensure the vehicle and trailer are correctly equipped and how to drive a vehicle and trailer combination safely.

Note: The guidelines in the safe towing information booklet relate to Queensland regulations. The object of the relevant Queensland regulations is to provide road rules that are generally consistent with road rules elsewhere in Australia. If travelling outside Queensland, check the relevant legislation of that state or territory.

Trailer Safety Check-list

The are a number of items on a trailer that need to checked on a regular basis to ensure that the trailer is in safe and serviceable condition for use. The checks will vary a lot from trailer to trailer depending on size, type, load, construction etc and may well include items not listed here.

  • Check trailer lights and reflectors
  • Inspect and/or clean electrical connector
  • Inspect safety chains
  • Check trailer brakes (if fitted)
  • Inspect hitch/coupling bolts or welds
  • Lubricate hitch/coupling receiver (or as per manufacturer’s instructions)
  • Test breakaway switch (if fitted)
  • Check tire pressures, inspect for wear
  • Check wheel nuts for tightness & correct torque
  • Check trailer wheel bearings regularly