Lanyard Breakaway Switch Safety Alert.

All caravans and trailers over 2000kg should be checked for correct lanyard installation with regard, correct connection of the breakaway safety switch.

Safety switch lanyards are generally 120cm long and usually attached to the tow bar with a dee shackle.

Safety chains are commonly 64cm long.

In extreme circumstances, it is possible for the caravan or trailer to become detached from the tow vehicle and NOT engage the electric brakes for the minimum specified period of 15 minutes.

Couplemate recommends the following inspections by owners and inspection stations.

  • Lanyards are shortened or connected to ensure they are shorter than the caravans safety chains.
  • Ensure breakaway switches are affected by water ingress thereby causing failure when the pin is pulled.
  • Pull the pin on your breakaway before every journey.

Breakaway Pins

Breakaway pins are subject to UV degradation and should be replaced during testing should breakage occur.

Copper Contacts

Breakaway switches must point forward for the pin to be pulled effectively during detachment.

As a result, switches contacts can collect dirt and grim thereby causing failure during testing in some circumstances.

Test Failure

With your chains connected and jockey wheel on the ground, push your caravan so that your safety chains are at full stretch.

If your pin fails top pull, measure the slack lanyard and shorten.

If your breakaway switch fails after being pulled, we recommend switch replacement and be sure you include a rubber boot to help prevent future water ingress.


Breakaway switches are designed to engage electric brakes if the trailer or caravan becomes detached.

During excessive sway, caravans can become dislodged. When dislodged, the brakes should immediately be engaged thereby stopped the sway and braking the caravan to a stop.


Breakaway Switch incl Waterproof Rubber Cover

Lanyard Breakaway Switch Safety Alert

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