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Old 12-01-2019, 08:35 PM   #1
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Do I need aux brakes on my toad ?

I just got into this RV thing in August and have made three short trips pulling a toad. I'm having trouble getting info on what is legal or not. Is there a weight limit as to when the toad needs brakes. My car weighs only 1650 pounds. It's a Geo Metro convertible. I don't even know it's there unless I look at the backup cam. So far we have only been in Montana but would like to get into Idaho next spring and it would be nice to know the rules.


Ken.......
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Old 12-01-2019, 09:26 PM   #2
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Heres a link with some general info. Since laws vary a lot from state to state the conventional wisdom seems to be to use a braking system so you are legal anywhere.

https://www.readybrake.com/state-towing-laws.html

From this site:

“Dinghy towing, 4 wheels down and flat towing are different ways to say that you are towing an automobile behind a motor home or RV. Some people call the towed vehicle a toad. No matter how you say it, in order to tow a vehicle behind a motorhome or RV legally in any State or Province you must have a base plate bracket installed on the "toad" to connect a tow bar to, you need a tow bar and safety cables, a supplemental braking system, a break away system and a light kit to display stop, turn and running lights on the toad.”

Then theres this:

https://rvibrake.com/pages/flat-towing-law

And this:

https://m-gengineering.com/resources/state-brake-laws/

I think some of the confusion comes from varying definitions of a trailer. In some states you are towing a 1650# car. In some you are towing a trailer.

Clear as mud? I know there have been other discussions on this here, because I started one about 6 months ago and it wasn't the first.
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Old 12-01-2019, 09:42 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info. It looks like I'm legal in my home state anyway.


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Old 12-01-2019, 09:50 PM   #4
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Doesn't matter if you're legal in your home state. Once you cross into another state you are subject to their laws.
BTW: don't believe ANY of those brake laws charts. My experience is that they come directly from AAA and are not accurate.
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Old 12-02-2019, 12:26 AM   #5
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Ken,
Here's the deal. You can go out and purchase one of the cheapest and yet, very reliable auxiliary braking systems for your lite toad. It's the Ready Brake system. If you're not sure of what it is, you can look it up. It's used by many, many RVer's including myself, years ago. Once that unit is installed, you're covered IN ALL 50 STATES! Then, you no longer have to think or worry about whether or not you're legal. Yes, even though your little lite toad may not need to assist your coach in braking, it's pure legality we're talking about here.

And, in many cases, the description of what's needed is not related to weight per say (i.e. what your toad weighs), it's about stopping distance of the vehicle towing. A vehicle with a given weight, is to stop in a given distance from a given speed. Increase that weight, i.e. add a toad, and the stopping distance is extended. But, the law states it's still to be able to stop in the said time frame. So, this is why it's kind-a important to add auxiliary braking so that, the toad at least tries to assist in stopping.
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Old 12-02-2019, 12:30 AM   #6
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You need an auxiliary braking system.

Assume your toad becomes unhitched for whatever reason. An auxiliary braking system will stop it right away, hopefully before it kills someone.
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Old 12-02-2019, 12:32 AM   #7
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In a word

YES.

protect yourselves and everyone else out there.

Push does come to shove.

Cheers

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Old 12-02-2019, 01:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by givemeaboost View Post
I just got into this RV thing in August and have made three short trips pulling a toad. I'm having trouble getting info on what is legal or not. Is there a weight limit as to when the toad needs brakes. My car weighs only 1650 pounds. It's a Geo Metro convertible. I don't even know it's there unless I look at the backup cam. So far we have only been in Montana but would like to get into Idaho next spring and it would be nice to know the rules.





Ken.......


The simple answer is if your toad is over 3000# curb weight then yes, as far as other states in ever state you have to have a controlled stop within 40í going at a speed of I think they said 20 mphs. There are trailers that people load with Lawn mowers and stuff that weighs more then 1650 # going down the roads daily without any auxiliary braking system at all . Itís true your trailer hitch and your 2 safety chains would have to fail for it to get away, I think I my whole life time I heard of 1 that it happened to, but that was from bad welds someone in there garage installed and never checked. In all states itís either over 3000#s and or the control stop, itís up to you, but by law no for 1650#s . It is not required, thatís the legal answer.
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:28 PM   #9
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I don't have an aux brake on my 2800#, 2003 Chevy tracker. From a practical point of view you don't need one for help in braking your RV.

Your two point towbar and two safety chains would all have to fail to fully disconnect. How likely is that?

Remember, even with brakes a toad that disconnects is very hard to predict where it will end up and is just as likely to cause an accident with another vehicle. All that will happen with a toad with brakes is it will stop sooner, but not necessarily where you wish it did.

But your call. An awful lot of trailers and toads have no brakes, contrary from what you hear here.

I have never heard anywhere of an injury or death due to a toad disconnect.
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:52 PM   #10
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Thereís legal but then thereís moral. In Oct 2015, we were sb on I-75 through KY. Two lanes sb, two lanes nb with a wide grassy median. I noticed several cars on the edge nb. Got closer and saw the backend of a car that had hit a tree. A quarter mile or so down the road was the mh with no toad. It had come detached crossed the median and both nb lanes. Appeared to miss all nb traffic. Could just as easily hit a family head on.

A brake system sure doesnít guide it to a safe stop but it slows thing rapidly and should avoid a head on.
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Old 12-03-2019, 03:16 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by awol50 View Post



But your call. An awful lot of trailers and toads have no brakes, contrary from what you hear here.

I have never heard anywhere of an injury or death due to a toad disconnect.
Yeah I thought the same thing until i was in a campground in ME and a MH comes limping in. Jeep torn up front. They looked back saw no Jeep. Had no idea where it was. No brakes. Broke away and they didnt even know it. Wound up against the guardrail. Could have ended up different.
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Old 12-03-2019, 03:50 AM   #12
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yes,

if you have a wreck and the weight of your combined unit is related to the severity of the wreck.... which it most likely will be...

and if

you don't have a braking system, then it sounds to me like you have increased the severity of your negligence...
if you decide or are told by an officially smart rver that you don't need one. then call your lawyer and ask him. or better yet, call your insurance and ask them.
do i need a machine that will help me stop in the event of an accident?
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Old 12-03-2019, 03:53 AM   #13
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A car in tow is a trailer. The only exception I found to the auxiliary braking requirements is when a disabled car is being towed by a tow truck. Your RV does not qualify as a tow truck in so many ways.
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Old 12-03-2019, 03:57 AM   #14
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A car in tow is a trailer.

The only exception I have seen in investigating state codes is that a disabled car being towed by a tow truck does not need an auxiliary brake system.

You RV does not qualify as a tow truck is some many ways.

The ultimate requirement is the the break-away braking.

Some states start as low as 1500 lbs.
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