Here's Why You Never, Ever Use A Trailer Hitch To Pull A Stuck Truck

Truck YeahThe trucks are good!

Recovering a stuck truck is serious business; there’s a lot of weight and energy at work and if you don’t take safety seriously you can end up like these idiots: dodging a flying steel projectile for dear life.

So what exactly went wrong here?

From the beginning the situation looks pretty standard; a newer Nissan Patrol appears to be bogged in sand, an older Nissan Patrol is hooked up to it with (what appear to be) snatch straps.

Now snatch straps are designed to work with some spring-style motion. The moving car gets a little momentum built up to hit the stuck car with a blast of kinetic energy and whip it out of a quagmire. Hence the “snatch.”

As you can guess, this puts extreme strain on the strap itself and whatever it’s hooked up to on both vehicles.


That’s why you can’t use “any old rope” for the job and you must be extremely careful about what you use as a recovery point.

Since everything moves so quickly in this clip it’s hard to call with 100 percent certainty, but I’m almost positive the dudes we’re watching here threw the snatch strap over the rescue-car’s trailer hitch ball which sheered clear off and turned into a deadly missile.

“But the trailer hitch holds a trailer while towing, why would it break here,” you ask?

The hitch ball is capable of carrying a lot of weight, but not when it’s delivered as a rapid blast like this. Like all aspects of off-roading, speed is the mother of destruction and if you’re not completely sure of what you’re doing I’d recommend you move as slow as possible, as fast as necessary.


And maybe take some tips from our winch-line safety demonstration!

Don’t live off luck like these guys.

Jalopnik Staffer from 2013 to 2020, now Editor-In-Chief at Car Bibles

Share This Story

Get our newsletter


Rickster3rd ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

That guy has the reflexes of someone who grew up in a war torn country.