Recent traffic accidents in New Brunswick involving vehicles towing trailers should be a wake-up call to those not outfitting their RVs with the necessary safety equipment, says an industry official.
Dave Dobson, past president of the Atlantic Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association and the general manager of RV World in Mangerville, New Brunswick, said two recent accidents involving trailers probably could have been prevented had the vehicles been outfitted with a weight-distribution system, according to the Frederickton, New Brunswick, Daily Gleaner.
A weight-distribution system takes the weight off a trailer and distributes it evenly across a tow vehicle.
Without one, a trailer’s weight can lift the front wheels of a tow vehicle off the ground and increase the likelihood of an accident.
“One of the accidents, without knowing much about it, I would say it might have been a weight-distribution issue, and the other one was definitely a weight issue, where the customer was towing it without weight distribution equipment,” he said.
“These accidents are a reminder, and I actually wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it sometimes, but once the vehicles leave our yard, we don’t know what happens after that.”
Weight-distribution systems are considered an extra with most RVs, Dobson said, but he always reminds customers at his store of their importance and requires customers who don’t outfit their RVs with one to sign waivers.
He said if it were up to him the equipment would be required by law.
“We have had a number of discussions with the motor vehicle department in regard to what the needs may be for towing, and I certainly wouldn’t be against regulations,” he said.
Derek Dobson, vice president of the association and the owner of Leisure Time Sales in Rothesay, New Brunswick, agreed.
He said a few hundred dollars for a safety hitch is almost always a wise investment.
“What I usually tell people is that you can go with the minimal amount of hitching and drive safely with that nine times out of 10, but it is that one time out of 10 that your additional hitching will come in very handy,” he said.
“That time will pay for it tenfold.”
While hitches and other weight-distribution equipment can prevent some accidents, they aren’t always the answer, said Gary Clark, general manager of Patterson Sales in Miramichi, New Brunswick.
He said in his experience most accidents involving RVs are caused because drivers aren’t aware that their trailers or RVs are too heavy for their vehicles.
He said in light of recent accidents, motorists should check their vehicles manual to see the maximum weight they can safely tow.
“There are different weights for every vehicle and that is the main thing,” Clark said. “You have to pay attention to the weight your vehicle is OK to haul and then get the proper hitch for the amount of weight you will be hauling.”