<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> The case for RV use of a supplemental braking system
NOTE: While this is designated as an ARCHIVE FILE, it is retained despite the date of first publication because it offers information of continuing current interest and/or for its historical perspective. Please be guided accordingly.




By: Bob Gummersall

[Ed Note 10/2011: A true archive file here -- but here are the facts of why you really do want to have a supplemental braking system.]

The most significant difference between driving a automobile and a motorhome that weighs more than 10 tons is getting it stopped. There are many miles of driving a motorhome when you don't even touch the brake pedal, even descending steep mountain grades while using an exhaust brake and starting at the proper speed at the top. But when you need to do an emergency stop, it takes 200 to 300% more distance to get a coach stopped compared to a car. That's one of the reasons that safe drivers double the following distance behind traffic, even though cars typically fill up that space and you then have to slow a little more. Adding 10 to 20% more weight to stop, that is a 2500 to 4000 lb. Toad, only makes safe stopping significantly more difficult.

States and Provinces of Canada limit the un-braked towed weight to from 0 lb. (North Dakota) to 10,000 lbs. (Massachusetts) with most limiting to 3,000 lb. Most of these authorities also require a "Break-Away Brake" as well. I do not know of any state that is currently citing motorhomers for violating these limits, but that does not mean that they won't start in the future. Most of you remember that British Columbia started to issue citations for any towed car over 3,000 but was forced by pressure from the tourist board to raise the limit to 4400 lb. I hope we can be responsible enough so that we don't have to have "Big Brother" further limiting our freedoms.

Which one of you really wants to risk serious personal or property damage for the want of a device that costs around $1000 installed? I strongly recommend that everyone towing a vehicle behind a motorhome without a supplemental brake, reconsider the safety of that choice. I have read recently that Insurance Companies are considering giving a discount for toads with brakes. I hope they do so that we will be further influenced to get with the safety program, and get a brake for each and every toad out there.