That raises a question:
If one has a trailer manufacturered PRIOR to when break-away switches were required, is the current owner liable to modify the trailer to conform to all of the newest regulations that apply to NEW trailers (such as break-away switches)?
Without looking at each state/province's law where breakaway brakes
are required, I would say it's likely that the retrofit would be required for electric brakes because it is so much of an add-on system. The only messing with the original system is to tap into the blue wire on the trailer.
Ideally, the breakaway cable should be LONGER than the safety chains so it doesn't activate the brakes while the trailer is still attached, but the slack should not be hanging down where it can snag on something.
Gina, the friction sway control will just come apart (like it does when it slips in a hard turn) so it would be of little use as a connection between tug and egg, not much more than the electrical
cable between the two.
I can think of a situation where the WDH would be of no use -- Some kid comes along, unclips the pin between the ball mount and receiver and pulls the pin out. The WDH keeps the mount in the receiver until you get to a series of bumps in the road and then the flexing up allows the ball mount to pull out, taking the mount, ball, bars, coupler and all with it. Now you are instantly down to chains and brakes.
BTW, I drilled a larger hole in my pin and put a padlock through the hole to prevent the above and also to prevent theft of my ball mount and ball.
Re: Safety chains, some states are quite specific as to the fasteners to be used, so consult your home state laws regarding this. The S-hooks that come as original equipment on many trailers are not the best way to do it, esp if they have been applied incorrectly (the end of the hook should come UP through the hole, not down through it -- Fasten one hook one way and one the other then hit them both up a couple of times and see which comes unfastened...).