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Old 09-15-2021, 12:34 PM   #1
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When the Stuff Hits the Fan, Have a Good Brake Setup on the TOAD

We were driving north on 31, from Indy to Winona Lake, IN (we're from Nashville). It's a divided two-lane. The car in front saw a yellow light and slammed on their brakes. He was almost under the light, and I donít even know how he saw it turn yellow.

We were right behind him at an appropriate following distance, but the obvious thing to do was keep going. Even if the car hadn't been there, I would have had to brake heavily to get it stopped. I was really surprised when he slammed on his brakes.

I began to brake aggressively but wasnít sure if Iíd make it, so I elected to swerve from the slow lane to the fast lane to either go by himÖor have another 30-40í to stop.

At the last second I saw a car emerge from my blind spot. He was going to go through the yellow, too, which we all should have done.

Meanwhile, the car in front of me saw me coming and began to move onto the shoulder, but not really far enough.

I brake even harder, intending to swerve into the fast lane as soon as the car on my left passes by.

It was all split second instincts. I fly airplanes and helicopters and taught racing (sponsored by Kawasaki), but I have enormous respect for these big old busses and the weight and lack of handling characteristics. (Iím in a í21 New Aire 3545 w/ the 450hp.)

Barely missed the car in the car in front. Barely missed the passing car on the left. My wife Julie is screaming and holding onto anything she can. Weíre both wearing seatbelts. No time for the hornÖnot that it would have accomplished anything. Afterwards, she said, in tears, ďIím not sure how you missed both.Ē Me neither.

I donít blame anyone. The car in front of me was driven by a very old man who was very conservative about stop lights and Iím sure he felt terrible. The car next to me was doing what normal drivers do. I wouldnít do anything different, either, except not assume anything.

I guess Iím glad I was paying attention. I would guess that I was doing 45-50 mph at the time. The RV brakes locked for a second (the rear, anyway). I stopped and looked over everything and waived to the older fellow, who had stopped to change his pants, I suspect.

Hereís the kicker. I was towing a 2018 Wrangler Rubicon with a Blue Ox Avail setup (10k lbs) and an AirForce One controller. Iím pretty certain that an improper setup would have ended in disaster. For example, thinking you can get away without a braking system in your TOAD, or not setting it up correctly, or using a lame product. (Iím not suggesting that my setup is the only good one.)

The week before, I decided to test something. I have a 2019 Dodge RAM LImited w/ the Cummins. I think it weighs 8,000 lbs or maybe a little less. I hooked the Jeep up to it, with that same setup, and towed it around on our remote dead end street (we live in the country). I did some heavy brakingóthe lights work, but of course the brakes donít in the Jeep. In both cases, it activated the ABS on the truck. Slowing that much weight overwhelms the pickup. I was just curious.

Granted, a 38,000 lb MH towing a 4,500 lb Jeep is way different, but the margin of error is not worth playing with. And when you are swerving WHILE braking, having a big weight pushing your tail to one side is not a good idea.

Braking systems on a TOAD are there for a reason.

Iím not a card carrying member of the safety police, but we do a lot of these things for the very occasional chance encounter like this, and it can make a difference in just catching your breathÖor a lot of lost money, time, and some serious heartache.

This was at a stop right beforehand.
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Old 09-15-2021, 12:52 PM   #2
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Thanks for the post and good information others should read. My feeling is NEVER go without a breaking system on your toad.
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Old 09-15-2021, 01:25 PM   #3
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WOW! You are one lucky guy!
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Old 09-15-2021, 01:35 PM   #4
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You are correct. A toad should never be without a breaking system.

I am however going to scold you. Since you got into that situation, you were already going to fast. As a truck driver, driving instructor, and insurance adjuster in my resume, you should have anticipated that other drivers might act stupid.

My boss use to ride with me in my company car and got frustrated when driving down a street with the right of way, stop signs for the oncoming traffic, I would slow as I approached an intersection. "they have stop signs, you have the right of way" he would say. Then one day, as I slowed at an intersection, a car blew through a stop sign at 50 mph and I stopped, because I had slowed for an intersection where I had the right of way. He had to change his britches. Over 2 million miles under my foot and this has never failed me.

Glad you got out of it and hope you learned something. Never assume another driver will do something, and always anticipate the worst.
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Old 09-15-2021, 01:45 PM   #5
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You raise an interesting question. What stops in less distance? A MH weighing 38,000 with 5,000 in load or the same MH weighing 38,000 with only a 4,000 unbraked toad?

Iím also curious if you cover the brake in your MH as I was taught is several MSF courses. Yes, I do it in the MH just like in the bikes. Anything to cut reaction times.

Iím thinking that a person covering the brake would stop in a shorter distance even with an unbraked toad than another in an equally loaded MH with a braked toad who has to move between pedals.

Iíd like to see MHs set up so left foot braking would even be easier. University of Iowa study showed stopping distance using left foot braking can be 70 feet shorter. Total reaction time of 2.2 seconds. Average driver BEGINS lifting foot from accelerator almost 1 second after recognizing the need to brake. (Older drivers probably even more time). That one second is 102 feet in distance traveled at 70mph. Thatís 102 feet shorter stopping using your left foot.

Obviously brakes on a toad are important, just looking for ways to stop even shorter.
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Old 09-15-2021, 01:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amosnandy View Post
You are correct. A toad should never be without a breaking system.

I am however going to scold you. Since you got into that situation, you were already going to fast. As a truck driver, driving instructor, and insurance adjuster in my resume, you should have anticipated that other drivers might act stupid.

My boss use to ride with me in my company car and got frustrated when driving down a street with the right of way, stop signs for the oncoming traffic, I would slow as I approached an intersection. "they have stop signs, you have the right of way" he would say. Then one day, as I slowed at an intersection, a car blew through a stop sign at 50 mph and I stopped, because I had slowed for an intersection where I had the right of way. He had to change his britches. Over 2 million miles under my foot and this has never failed me.

Glad you got out of it and hope you learned something. Never assume another driver will do something, and always anticipate the worst.
Excellent points.
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Old 09-15-2021, 01:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amosnandy View Post
You are correct. A toad should never be without a breaking system.

I am however going to scold you. Since you got into that situation, you were already going to fast. As a truck driver, driving instructor, and insurance adjuster in my resume, you should have anticipated that other drivers might act stupid.

My boss use to ride with me in my company car and got frustrated when driving down a street with the right of way, stop signs for the oncoming traffic, I would slow as I approached an intersection. "they have stop signs, you have the right of way" he would say. Then one day, as I slowed at an intersection, a car blew through a stop sign at 50 mph and I stopped, because I had slowed for an intersection where I had the right of way. He had to change his britches. Over 2 million miles under my foot and this has never failed me.

Glad you got out of it and hope you learned something. Never assume another driver will do something, and always anticipate the worst.
I agree totally. It's not like you can pull the stick back, bring her back up and circle around for another approach.
Having driven accident free for 61 years I call it defensive driving.
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Old 09-15-2021, 02:10 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by dbircky View Post
You raise an interesting question. What stops in less distance? A MH weighing 38,000 with 5,000 in load or the same MH weighing 38,000 with only a 4,000 unbraked toad?

Iím also curious if you cover the brake in your MH as I was taught is several MSF courses. Yes, I do it in the MH just like in the bikes. Anything to cut reaction times.

Iím thinking that a person covering the brake would stop in a shorter distance even with an unbraked toad than another in an equally loaded MH with a braked toad who has to move between pedals.

Iíd like to see MHs set up so left foot braking would even be easier. University of Iowa study showed stopping distance using left foot braking can be 70 feet shorter. Total reaction time of 2.2 seconds. Average driver BEGINS lifting foot from accelerator almost 1 second after recognizing the need to brake. (Older drivers probably even more time). That one second is 102 feet in distance traveled at 70mph. Thatís 102 feet shorter stopping using your left foot.

Obviously brakes on a toad are important, just looking for ways to stop even shorter.
As a former driving instructor for Class A driver, and a short stint teaching auto instruction, this theory comes up a lot. My father was a policeman and claimed that when he was taught to drive a squad car they taught left foot breaking. There are a lot of issues with left foot breaking. First, in a Class A truck, you have a clutch to deal with. Which are you going to do? Push the clutch in or hit the break? The second is, left foot breakers have the problem of where do you keep your foot? Hovering over the brake? Which tends to lead to riding the brakes causing undue wear, overheating, and indecision. The third is, left foot breakers ten to be more aggressive, take more chances, and in general think they have a better handle on the situation.

#1. In a class A truck you should engage the clutch and the break at the same time. How many feet do you have? But okay, lets go to automatic transmissions. Many trucks and virtually all motorhomes have an automatic. So can you break faster with the left foot than the right. The data shows the idea is pretty much inconclusive. In reality, you should have your right foot off the accelerator ready to brake when you are close enough to any hazard that MIGHT require breaking.

#2. Are you going to hold your foot in the air over the brake pedal the entire time you are driving? No. You are either going to set it on the floor, which will require as much or more time to move your foot and apply the breaks, or you are going to rest your foot on the pedal, which as you can see provides its's own set of problems.

#3. If you are driving breaking with the left foot, you are thinking you have an advantage, which tends to make you drive more aggressively. Sorry. That is just the sub-conscience mind working you don't even think about.

The correct, and safest way is to remove your foot from the accelerator and be ready to brake with your right foot. Yes, you can find a study somewhere that will "prove" any theory you might have. But here is a good explanation of the pros and cons of left foot breaking.

https://speedsecrets.com/the-pros-co...n%20the%20data.
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Old 09-15-2021, 02:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amosnandy View Post
You are correct. A toad should never be without a breaking system.

I am however going to scold you. Since you got into that situation, you were already going to fast. As a truck driver, driving instructor, and insurance adjuster in my resume, you should have anticipated that other drivers might act stupid.

My boss use to ride with me in my company car and got frustrated when driving down a street with the right of way, stop signs for the oncoming traffic, I would slow as I approached an intersection. "they have stop signs, you have the right of way" he would say. Then one day, as I slowed at an intersection, a car blew through a stop sign at 50 mph and I stopped, because I had slowed for an intersection where I had the right of way. He had to change his britches. Over 2 million miles under my foot and this has never failed me.

Glad you got out of it and hope you learned something. Never assume another driver will do something, and always anticipate the worst.
I'll have to disagree with you, about the speed or the following distance. I will say that the mistake I made was this, listed in my post: "I wouldnít do anything different, either, except not assume anything."

In other words, assuming he would stop.

If we're honest, we make 20 near bad decisions in a 500 mile driving day, and every once in awhile they catch up with us. This one didn't, but it easily could have.

My post wasn't meant to scold people or beat them up: just emphasize the importance of a supplemental braking system, installed and maintained properly.
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Old 09-15-2021, 02:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbircky View Post
You raise an interesting question. What stops in less distance? A MH weighing 38,000 with 5,000 in load or the same MH weighing 38,000 with only a 4,000 unbraked toad?

Iím also curious if you cover the brake in your MH as I was taught is several MSF courses. Yes, I do it in the MH just like in the bikes. Anything to cut reaction times.

Iím thinking that a person covering the brake would stop in a shorter distance even with an unbraked toad than another in an equally loaded MH with a braked toad who has to move between pedals.
That's a really interesting point. I hadn't thought of it. My sense--just a sense, and not scientific--is that there would have been an accident if we had been fully loaded (water, luggage, people, sewage, gray water, etc.).

I don't cover the brakes. It's a bad idea, I think.
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Old 09-15-2021, 02:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amosnandy View Post
As a former driving instructor for Class A driver, and a short stint teaching auto instruction, this theory comes up a lot. My father was a policeman and claimed that when he was taught to drive a squad car they taught left foot breaking. There are a lot of issues with left foot breaking. First, in a Class A truck, you have a clutch to deal with. Which are you going to do? Push the clutch in or hit the break? The second is, left foot breakers have the problem of where do you keep your foot? Hovering over the brake? Which tends to lead to riding the brakes causing undue wear, overheating, and indecision. The third is, left foot breakers ten to be more aggressive, take more chances, and in general think they have a better handle on the situation.

#1. In a class A truck you should engage the clutch and the break at the same time. How many feet do you have? But okay, lets go to automatic transmissions. Many trucks and virtually all motorhomes have an automatic. So can you break faster with the left foot than the right. The data shows the idea is pretty much inconclusive. In reality, you should have your right foot off the accelerator ready to brake when you are close enough to any hazard that MIGHT require breaking.

#2. Are you going to hold your foot in the air over the brake pedal the entire time you are driving? No. You are either going to set it on the floor, which will require as much or more time to move your foot and apply the breaks, or you are going to rest your foot on the pedal, which as you can see provides its's own set of problems.

#3. If you are driving breaking with the left foot, you are thinking you have an advantage, which tends to make you drive more aggressively. Sorry. That is just the sub-conscience mind working you don't even think about.

The correct, and safest way is to remove your foot from the accelerator and be ready to brake with your right foot. Yes, you can find a study somewhere that will "prove" any theory you might have. But here is a good explanation of the pros and cons of left foot breaking.

https://speedsecrets.com/the-pros-co...n%20the%20data.
I think you are exactly right. When racing a motorcycle, you'd keep your right hand and left foot ready to activate, proportionally, but you do NOT keep them there unless you are anticipating the need.

Good points.
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Old 09-15-2021, 02:50 PM   #12
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Iím afraid I still have to worry about following distance in this case. I know there has been some rather Ö heated Ö discussion about this in the past. Nevertheless I tend to allow *much* more distance between me and the person in front of me than most people do. I basically drive ad if that person might slam on their brakes with zero notice. Would things have been different (or at least more relaxed) in this case had you been allowing more room between you and the person in front of you?

Just another facet of defensive drivingÖ
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Old 09-15-2021, 02:54 PM   #13
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Iím afraid I still have to worry about following distance in this case. I know there has been some rather Ö heated Ö discussion about this in the past. Nevertheless I tend to allow *much* more distance between me and the person in front of me than most people do. I basically drive ad if that person might slam on their brakes with zero notice. Would things have been different (or at least more relaxed) in this case had you been allowing more room between you and the person in front of you?

Just another facet of defensive drivingÖ
That's a fair question. I'll say that such an approach has diminishing returns, though. Leave a lot of space and another car will pull in front of you, halving that extra space.

We all make driving decisions based on our skill and our aptitude for risk. It's a valid approach to leave waaaaay more space in front of you. I'm not going to criticize someone who takes that approach. In this case, I was at an appropriate following distance and speed and the driver did a very unexpected thing. I could go around assuming that every driver in every car will do a very unexpected thing, and that sounds really smart, but in real life there are tradeoffs.

I could assume that there's an airplane above and behind me that just ran out of fuel and I should leave room for them to set it down on the interstate in front of me, but that's not how life works.
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Old 09-15-2021, 02:59 PM   #14
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Sorry, all. Guess I used a bad word (rhymes with hit as in I hit a forum rule roadblock). A mod edited it out. Didn't mean to offend anyone.
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