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Open Roads Forum  >  Dinghy Towing

 > Towing a toad without using brakes?

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rmmpe

Northeast PA

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Posted: 01/11/12 07:52pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

With Anti-lock brakes, who's to say a vehicle stopped within the stipulated distance? Measurement of skid marks is all but obsolete.
You can cite all the laws of every state but it'll be a decision of whether the driver that rear-ended a vehicle used due caution or exercised good judgment. Especially when that same driver is at a disadvantage in most states because they did not employ all the caution available to him/her and/or they are generally automatically found at fault.
Me? I'd rather err on the side of common sense.
Which is to say nothing about a vehicle that breaks away from the tow vehicle.


Bob (Squidly Down Under) & Peg
"In God we trust"
2013 Ford Focus pushing a 2011 Phoenix Cruiser 2552S
Carry on, regardless...............

MPond

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Posted: 01/11/12 09:33pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

rmmpe wrote:

...Me? I'd rather err on the side of common sense...


I love this argument. "Common sense"... Going back to my previous point about 7-1 weight ratios:

MPond wrote:

This is where the "laws of physics" argument comes in. My 5,000 lb Jeep has about the same effect on my 35,000 lb (+/-) DP my old 1,000 lb flatbed trailer had on my 7,000 lb Duramax dually. Those are both 7 to 1 weight ratios. And nobody argues the need for trailer brakes on the 1,000 lb trailer.


Let's take that one step further: If you're driving a compact car (VW Golf, Ford Focus, etc...) which is in the 2,800-3,000 lb range, and allow two adult men (220 lbs each) get in with you, you've just added the same relative weight to your compact car that my Jeep adds to me DP - 7 to 1, and that will have the same relative effect on your brakes - the compact car will take a little longer to stop with the added weight. Does that mean that your compact car needs supplemental brakes if you take on 2 large passengers?

Of course I'm being silly here, but only to make a point: a lot gets touted on theses forums as "common sense". Truth be told, every rig is different, and while some definitely need Aux brakes for a toad, others may not benefit enough from them to make a noticable difference. That's why a number of states have adopted the performance standards, rather than an arbitrary all or nothing rule. The performance standard allows each rig to be evaulated on it's own capabilities.

For my DP, how fast I drive and how much space I leave in front of me will have a much greater impact on stopping performance than adding/removing aux. brakes on the toad. But I do need aux. brakes when I tow the toad behind my 3/4-ton Suburban.

Now break-away brakes - that's a different story. I'm not sure why states like CA & MT have decided to allow toads behind RVs that meet the performance standards to go without the break-away brakes. Is it possible that the occurrance of this is so low that it's statistically insignificant? Sure - we hear lots of doom and gloom comments on the message boards about this happening, but how often does it really happen? Then again, I'm just thinking out loud.


2003 Country Coach Intrigue, Cummins ISL 400
Toad: 2006 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (LJ) toad, with just a few mods...

Other rig: 2005 Chevy Silverado 3500 Duramax Dually / Next Level 38CK Fifth-wheel Toy Hauler w/ quads, sand rail, etc...

rmmpe

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Posted: 01/12/12 06:35am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My argument is based on an experience I had a number of years ago when aux. braking was not readily available. I was driving my MH & TOAD (w/o aux. brakes) south on I-15 in UT. Evidently there was an accident ahead and, of course, everybody suddenly hit their brakes hard. Someone decided to go from the middle lane, angled into my lane sideways and stopped. Fortunately, there was a shoulder to my left, which I took. When I was finally stopped, the front end of my MH was about 3 feet forward of the next MH's rear and a foot to its left side.
I was lucky that time and know that nobody can be both stupid and lucky all the time. So I decided to always have auxilliary braking and remove stupid from the equation.

rmmpe

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Posted: 01/12/12 09:46am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Are MH/TOAD combinations inspected/verified to comply with those performance standards?
Will the MH/TOAD combination be able to verfiy compliance after a collision?

Too many uncertainties and opportunities for litigation for me to take a chance.

wny_pat

Western NYS

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Posted: 01/11/12 09:41pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

T-Rex wrote:

So the final legal rule appears to be...For a MH with a toad, as long you can stop within 50 feet while going 20 mph, you're legal.
Well, that would be one way to interpret it, but another would be if you can't stop with in the required distance, you need supplemental brakes that will help stop you with in the distance. And I sure would not want to find that out after I rear ended someone.


“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”

MPond

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Posted: 01/12/12 09:35am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

rmmpe wrote:

My argument is based on an experience I had a number of years ago when aux. braking was not readily available. I was driving my MH & TOAD (w/o aux. brakes) south on I-15 in UT. Evidently there was an accident ahead and, of course, everybody suddenly hit their brakes hard. Someone decided to go from the middle lane, angled into my lane sideways and stopped. Fortunately, there was a shoulder to my left, which I took. When I was finally stopped, the front end of my MH was about 3 feet forward of the next MH's rear and a foot to its left side.
I was lucky that time and know that nobody can be both stupid and lucky all the time. So I decided to always have auxilliary braking and remove stupid from the equation.


So it sounds like your RV needed the toad to have aux brakes. My previous DP definitely needed them too, as the brakes were very marginal compared to the DP I have now. In fact, with the old DP, I chose to upgrade my brake controller for my cargo trailer because it needed as much braking from the trailer as possible.

All I'm saying is that every rig is different, and while there are many rigs out there that do need the toad to have aux brakes, a one-size-fits-all rule doesn't really make sense. And I think that's why a number of states have gone to the performance standards instead.

I'm definitely not sitting here trying to advocate that people should not use them. I just don't like the way people are looked down upon if they have a rig that really is safe without them. So often I seen posts like "well if you see me on the highway, stay away" or "keep out of my state", things like that, from people who really have no idea whether a rig is or is not safe. And those comments weren't even directed at me.

mowermech

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Posted: 01/12/12 11:15am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Can anybody give us any FACTS? (no, not statistics, FACTS!)
During the last 2 years, how many failures were there of hitches, towbars, or baseplates?
How many total breakaways were there of towed vehicles?
How many injuries resulted?
How many fatalities?
Of ALL the failures, how many of the towed vehicles had braking systems?
What percentage of towed vehicles have braking systems?
How many accident-free miles were traveled during those two years, with towed vehicles?
Remember, I am asking for verifiable FACTS, not guesses or opinions.
Without FACTS, there can be no real estimate of risk!


CM1, USN (RET)
2002 Fleetwood Southwind 32V, Ford V10
Toad 1: '06 PT Cruiser, Kar Kaddy dolly
Toy (and Toad 2): 2001 Dodge QC SWB, 360 Magnum, Auto, 4X4
"When seconds count, help is only minutes away!"

mowermech

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Posted: 01/12/12 02:02pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

rmmpe wrote:

When's the last time you were involved in an accident?

(About 15 years ago. I can't remember the last time I had to make a "panic stop". I do know I have NEVER had to make one while towing my Jeep.)

Do you have insurance?

(Yes, of course, as required by law!)

YOU estimate the risk; I'll use a braking system.


Good. WHEN you rear-end me, I will prove in court that your rig did not comply with applicable safety regulations, your braking system is not approved for use on the highways by U.S. or State DOT, or ANY testing laboratory, and YOU were negligent, and I will own everything you have and ever will have!
Yessir, I can play that "I'll sue" game as well as the next guy!
and it makes just about as much sense!

Still waiting for FACTS!

rmmpe

Northeast PA

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Posted: 01/12/12 01:04pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When's the last time you were involved in an accident?
Do you have insurance?

YOU estimate the risk; I'll use a braking system.

MPond

Thousand Oaks, CA

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Posted: 01/12/12 10:17am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

rmmpe wrote:

Are MH/TOAD combinations inspected/verified to comply with those performance standards?
Will the MH/TOAD combination be able to verfiy compliance after a collision?

Too many uncertainties and opportunities for litigation for me to take a chance.


No, they're not inspected, at least not in California.

Interesting point about verifying compliance after collision... In a perfect world, the burden of proof would be on the other party to prove the RV was not in compliance - that whole innocent until proven guilty concept. But I've seen too many lawsuits go the other way because the attorney convinced the jury otherwise.

I'll have to give that one some thought.

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