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Old 06-03-2016, 09:42 PM   #1
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Toad brakes and the LAW

I keep seeing in various posts mixed info about toad brakes and the law. Depending on what post I'm looking at, its law everywhere, or only if the toad is over 3000 lbs, or if you're in Texas, or ...ect

Does this mean that I need active working brakes or just an emergency brake-away system in place? And any hard evidence of what the rules and regulations or laws are in each state or all states or anything beyond assumptions?

The reason I ask is that my class C has a curb weight of 9200. A gross weight of 12200. and my toad's curb weight is just about 2000.

Add about 1000 lbs of stuff and people, that puts me at right about gross for the motorhome. In theory the brakes should be able to handle that alone right? I searched around pretty hard for a light weight toad just for that reason

Then I started researching hitching the car to the RV. Thats when I started seeing all this about aux brake systems needed. That being said is there such a thing as just a brake-away for a toad?

Aux brake systems are quite expensive. Im new to RVing and toading trying to keep my expenses low.

After all is said and done, between baseplate, towbars, aux brake system, and all the little nickle n' dime stuff that goes with it, I could end up spending over 3x as much on the tow setup than I spent on the toad.
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Old 06-03-2016, 09:53 PM   #2
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Here's a quick overview from towing world,not sure how up to date it is, but it gives you an idea:

Towing World Official Website
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Old 06-03-2016, 10:01 PM   #3
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That's why I and others elected to go with tow dollys.

Mine came with surge, disk brakes, breakaway funtion and can pull most front wheel drive cars.

It does add 400 lbs to the equation but only cost me $1,600.

There seems to be many who don't use brakes on their towed cars but when close to max capacity, in a Class C, I would recommend them.
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Old 06-03-2016, 11:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tominvegas View Post
Here's a quick overview from towing world,not sure how up to date it is, but it gives you an idea:

Towing World Official Website
Full of holes all over the place and I certainly wouldn't depend on it. It's totally wrong for WA and OR, for CA they did get it right.

The big thing is that there is NO reciprocity between the states on equipment laws like there is for drivers licenses and insurance. If you travel into a state that requires toad brakes or a breakaway system then you must have them. It doesn't matter what your home state does or doesn't' require.
In WA, OR and CA towing a motorized vehicle behind a motorized vehicle changes them to a "combination vehicle" and you must stop in XX feet from XX mph. WA and CA are the same with OR being stricter. WA also requires a breakaway system that can hold the towed for 15 min on any normal highway grade.
So, basically you must have brakes and a breakaway device if you want to be legal wherever you go.
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Old 06-05-2016, 11:11 AM   #5
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This is a tough question to answer, since state regs vary greatly and toads are NOT subject to the same rules as trailers in most states. The towing tables often are not accurate for toads vs trailers, plus some contain outright errors.

The inescapable law is the law of physics and you can always stop in a shorter distance with towed vehicle brakes (whether dolly, flat bed, or 4-down towing). A shorter minimum is of no importance at all until the day comes when you really need it. Then it is nearly priceless!
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Old 06-05-2016, 11:57 AM   #6
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The inescapable law is the law of physics and you can always stop in a shorter distance with towed vehicle brakes (whether dolly, flat bed, or 4-down towing). A shorter minimum is of no importance at all until the day comes when you really need it. Then it is nearly priceless![/QUOTE]

So true, it's a no brainer, the more weight you have going down the road, the more distance it will take to stop with the same braking capacity or the more braking capacity it will take to stop in the same distance with more weight. Not to mention I think that without toad brakes there is more stress on the tow bar and you wear out your motorhomes brakes more quickly. In other works, there is no free ride!
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Old 06-05-2016, 11:58 AM   #7
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Here's our take on this. We live in a litigious society and the "letter of the law" may not trump what a jury sees as personal responsibility. Any time a bigger vehicle such as an RV is involved in an accident you can be sure that someone is going to try and make it the RVs fault even if it clearly wasn't by looking for that " personal responsibility" factor.
We may not like this but it is, in our opinion, how it is. Our choice would to never travel without one
So make your own decision.
Also, are you willing to avoid those states which require you to have it?
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Old 06-05-2016, 12:33 PM   #8
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What I've always wondered about is why an axle lift wrecker is not required to add a braking system in a vehicle that is being towed. Rented a dolly from U-Haul when I first drove the coach home from South Carolina to Virginia. No brakes on the dolly or even a brake away device. Are wreckers and dolly's exempt? Most of the state laws use "trailer" in the various laws and make little or no mention concerning towing a motor vehicle. As such legally speaking since a motor vehicle, as titled, is not a trailer and as such the towing brake laws might or might not apply.

Beyond what I think the law might be I am fully in the "get a braking system for your toad" side of any discussion concerning if it is needed/required or not. If I can safely add 4000 pounds to my coach and not increase the stopping distance that would be a good thing.

Also unlike operators licensing reciprocity, when safe operation of a vehicle is concerning, what might be legal in your home state might not be legal when you are listing other states. Canada included.
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Old 06-05-2016, 01:20 PM   #9
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Buy a ready brute elite tow bar for about 1400 dollars . It has every thing you need to tow. It is one great surge brake system.
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Old 06-05-2016, 01:28 PM   #10
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What I've always wondered about is why an axle lift wrecker is not required to add a braking system in a vehicle that is being towed.
That is already covered by the laws in WA, OR and CA by changing the designation to a combination vehicle, see post #4 for more info.
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Old 06-05-2016, 03:30 PM   #11
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Towing a trailer is different than towing a vehicle with a tow bar and pulling with a tow bar is different than pulling with a dolly. All three are covered in the Texas transportation code. Generally, if it weighs more than 4000 lbs and travels at highway speed it has to have brakes.
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Old 06-05-2016, 07:32 PM   #12
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We've been towing a 6000 pound Chevrolet Silverado for almost 5 years and have a proportional brake system that works with the air brakes on my coach. It also has a break away system that will stop the truck if the hitch fails. The size and weight of the truck really dictated a need for this system.

Last month, I bought a second toad, a 2013 Honda CRV. We're heading out on a long trip and I didn't want to tow the truck. The CRV weighs about 3500 pounds and my coach, with front disc brakes, tag axle with brakes and a two speed engine brake, are plenty to stop the CRV without any help. The law in California requires that I be able to stop the entire rig in 50' from 20 mph. Not an issue, but there was no break away system. I decided to spend the money and buy a second unit for the CRV so that I would have the break away system.

RVing is expensive and sometimes you have to bite the bullet on certain items to have a safe experience for both you and others on the road.
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Old 06-09-2016, 10:10 AM   #13
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I towed a 2700 lb 1989 Honda Civic behind a 12,000 lb motor home for 23,000 miles without a toad braking system. I never felt like there was a problem braking. I am now towing a 3700 2003 Jeep Wrangler behind a 22,000 motor home. It didn't seem like the toad affected my braking but I decided to install a toad braking system just to be legal. A motor home is the most expensive way to travel.
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Old 06-09-2016, 01:13 PM   #14
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Bill n Karen, since you bring up the law please look into the actual weights on your coach. Just looking at the 2 weights you mention is not really enough. One presumes you mention GVWR and GCWR. There is also axle weights. While on the subject, 1000 lbs. for people and "stuff" is next to nothing. This may be listed on your rig as CCC, OCCC or some other variant.
Read up on the physics of towing. It is a sticky on the site under:
The Physics of Towed-Vehicle Braking
Best of luck and please be safe out there. Lives are at stake
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