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Texas Toad towing


skpjose

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Someone on a RV Group stated that Texas requires "Breakaway Braking". Is that a requirement? We've had the M&G for years with out that feature. They do have so could add it. Where would I find the regulation if it is required? Required in other states?

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I have no idea about Texas law, or the law in any other state. However, I have to agree with Frank...having a break-away cable is a safety feature no different than having a brake on the toad, or having to wear seat belts. Just think what would happen if your toad should come loose while driving down a heavily traveled road without a break-away cable!

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Found the answer and a reference. Texas anything over 3000#, but varies by state. Reference: http://towingworld.com/

Required on trailers over 3000 lbs.

Where the question comes is in definitions. Does a motor vehicle being towed on a tow-bar fall into the definition of a trailer? I have never heard of any RV traveler being ticket or warned for towing a vehicle that way with no brakes and it is done quite commonly, often in transporting used cars for resale as well as behind a motorhome. I do not believe that you would ever run afoul of the law in TX, or probably in any state for not having brakes at all on the towed vehicle, or for the lack of a break-away.

 

To me the entire question is one of safety. The brakes are there mostly for an emergency stop and the break-away situation when the tow car gets loose from the motorhome. I once saw the result of a tow-bar failure between a motorhome and a car. The safety chains had done their job and prevented the loose car from getting out into other traffic, but they did not prevent that car from hitting the rear end of the diesel pusher that was towing it. I didn't speak to the owner, but was shown pictures by a friend who did and the failure took place while at highway speeds and in heavy traffic. Both the motorhome and the car had major damage by the time the two were stopped on the shoulder. I would never tow anything of much weight without both an auxiliary brake and a break-away! A properly attached break-away is connected to set the brakes on the tow care before it reaches the end of the safety chains so that the brake will set and not run into the rear of the vehicle towing it, should the tow-bar break.

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Safety out ways any sate law or definition. You have to remember that laws are written by lawyers and not engineers.

 

When we towed a dinghy behind the motorhome, we had auxiliary brakes and a break away system even though we were below the 3500# limit in Texas. Although you may be "legal" in your home state, you have to meet the towing requirements in the state that you travel through. This includes, maximum speed, safety equipment and maximum length.

 

Some states have a weight limit as low as 1500# for the brake requirement. As for definition of a trailer vs. a towed vehicle, the motorhome has no way to tell if the weight it is towing is a utility trailer with 3000# of rocks or a 3000# dinghy. The laws of physics apply to the weight regardless of what the load is.

 

I error on the side of safety and have all of the safety gear.

 

Ken

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You've got a good point there, not sure how the "trailer laws" are interpreted. I always thought the chains would do the job. I bought a 2950 GVW trailer in Tucson (under 3000#) did not require brakes. When I looked at the bigger trailers didn't see any breakaway brakes. Trailers were Big Tex, big time trailer brand. Have friends that have horse trailers will talk to them.

 

Did have an experience that made me connect the aux brakes ALL the time. Have the MnG. Usually only connected them when I was going a distance. Was in Amarillo at an Elk's Lodge and was taking a short trip to another park close by. Have a routine that I use for connecting the vehicle and checking out the coach. Never vary. Not exactly sure what happened this time but when I was slowly pulling out on the street one on the pins on the car pulled out and I observed the car going to one side in the mirror. I put on the brakes in the MH but the car kept coming, hit the rear of the coach, no damage to the coach, but it bent the stinger on the tow bar. Cost me $150 to replace. Made a believer out of me, now I connect it all the time.

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........ I put on the brakes in the MH but the car kept coming, hit the rear of the coach, no damage to the coach, but it bent the stinger on the tow bar. Cost me $150 to replace. Made a believer out of me, now I connect it all the time.

 

You must have been living right that day! ;)

 

 

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Some additional investigation and info. Called Big Tex Trailers in AZ, they have break away on trailers 3000# and over, use a small battery on the trailer. Called M&G (Braking) they said Texas law requires break away. Did the same with Blue OX. I've been concerned with having the system activated while not towing the vehicle.

 

I questioned the folks at our present RV park, about half have assisted brakes and only one has a break away.

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We have a Blue Ox system for our Jeep with an InvisiBrake for brakes. We have the two extendable tow bars, two safety cables, and a break-away switch. The only problem we've had with the system is that some of the wires going to the electric plug on the coach somehow came loose/broke which left us with nothing going to the Jeep. Since the InvisiBrake is powered by the Jeep's battery, though, had it broken loose the InvisiBrakes would have applied the Jeep's brakes.

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Pulling with my Foretravel, I never feel the need for brakes on the tow'ed, pulling with my Lazy Daze I always want the extra brakes. But, I ALWAYS use a breakaway device. Ready Brake sells a simple device that will apply the tow'ed brakes in a breakaway situation, it's simple, cheap, and doesn't require any other braking system. It works with any other system, or no system at all.

 

http://www.readybrake.com/store/p5/ReadyStop™_Towed_Vehicle_Emergency_Break_Away_Kit.html

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M&G makes a break away that's around $200. Asked them to send me the installation instructions. From what I've read there is a small aux air tank that actuates the brakes. They said set the break away wire longer than your chains (makes sense). I was concerned that if there was air in the tank and my wife was out and someone pulled the pin it would lock the brakes. Not sure if there is a release valve for dumping the air after the brakes are locked. Said they would send me the stuff to review.

 

Would be interesting to have a poll (maybe there has been) on who has aux brakes and a who has a break away or both. I've done a mini survey, no aux brakes is winning.

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They said set the break away wire longer than your chains (makes sense).

Interesting as my brake instructions said to set the break-away cable length to where it would trip just before the car reached the end of the chains so that it would lock the car break if it came loose to prevent it from hitting the back of the motorhome, similar to the case that I mentioned in post #5. The purpose is so that you drag the car to a stop, rather than using the back end of your motorhome as a bumper stop.

 

On the poll idea, I agree it would be interesting so why don't you start one?

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We have M&G, and added the $200 break a way kit. Easy to do, and makes me legal everywhere. Not sure why anyone would risk all they own, and might ever have for such a simple way to both be legal and avoid a possible lawsuit.

 

The M&G system has a removable fuse, mine is under the hood, so that you can get your toad going again, if someone pulls the pin out of the switch at the front bumper of the toad. You could also get a replacement break a way plug to carry to get going again.

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