There have been several cases lately - including one very BIG one in California where someone was killed and the cause was found to be a person towing in an unsafe manner. The rig in question exceeded the gross COMBINED weight rating assigned by the tug's manufacturer. The result (currently under appeal, last time I checked) was a verdict such that the driver of the over-capacity rig was found guilty, and faces up to to 20 years in prison. The family of the person killed was awarded in excess of a million dollars in damages in the subsequent civil suit.
Let me be very clear on this. I am NOT a lawyer, and even if I were one, my views would not likely be considered to be binding - BUT
If a car/truck manufacturer says the maximum tow capacity is "X" and you exceed that, you do so at your own risk and your own peril. Your insurance company will move heaven and earth to get out of paying claims.
When giving advice to people on "Can I/Should I tow THIS with THAT", there are also other factors to be taken into account such as
What is this person's driving experience?
What is this person's TOWING experience?"
What condition is "THAT" proposed tow vehicle in?
Under what conditions will this person be towing ?
The fact that a member of this site has consistently broken laws with impunity for many years may very well be a testament to their skills and experience as a driver, (or sheer, dumb luck!) and has nothing to do with any safe/unsafe practice.
Just because there are people who have towed in excess of their tug's capacity does not mean that it should be advocated. I cringe when I see advice given on here that amounts to "Don't worry about what other people consider to be safe practice, I've been towing WAY in excess of my tug's legal max for "xx" years.
True, but I do notice there is a sad lack of contrarian views from those who have been killed doing it!
Same thing applies to discussions about using trailer brakes
SO: Here is my view - directly opposed to yours:
In selecting a tow vehicle/trailer combination for safety ALL of the following MUST apply (no exceptions)
The wheel base of the tug must exceed the distance from the hitch ball to the axle
of the trailer (front axle
in case of multi-axles) AND
The tug must weigh a minimum of the weight of the trailer AND
In no case should the trailer exceed the manufacturers towing rating AND
In no case may gross combined weights be exceeded AND
All trailers in excess of 500 lb MUST be equipped with functioning brakes
All trailer brakes
MUST have fully-functioning breakaway packages
YES, I realize that part of the function of this site is to encourage the use and enjoyment of Fiberglass RVs and that promoting their preservation makes it possible for all of us to continue to be able to find parts, service and sources of modifications as seen fit.
HOWEVER, this "duty" must be balanced with an appropriate degree of caution in the promotion of them.
Let's make up an example:
"Hi - my name is John and this is my wife Jane and I am18 years old and she is also 18. We have a child on the way. I just got my driving license last week and I bought a rusty 1982 Honda Civic with 300,000 miles on it. Jane and I want to go to the mountains for a vacation, so I want to buy a Casita 16 footer that I see for sale locally. Can I tow it? Will I need to install brakes?"
Based on what I have seen in terms of advice, there would be a dozen or so versions of "Welcome to FGRV" and "You will LOVE your Casita" and "While you are in the mountains, be sure to stop at xxx"
Poor John & Jane will then be on their own in terms of the advisability of their proposed course of action. They will read this forum, use a search function and determine that it seems to be entirely possible to take that car, hitch it to that trailer, and that brakes may or not be needed, and so because money is tight.... . After a while someone will say "Whatever happened to John & Jane" and a moderator will note that they don't seem to be on here any more - last activity was 2 years ago.
Perhaps some one on here will note a picture of the horrible crash on highway XX and lament the loss of a perfectly good FG trailer.
Meanwhile, Norm and others will continue to advocate Toys R Us as a suitable place to obtain a tow vehicle for pulling a 25 foot Bigfoot
through the mountains.
If I were the owner of this site, I would take pains to ensure that moderators did, in fact, always take a moderate view and promote a moderate course of action, and further that moderators instantly jump in to delete (or disavow) any messages which may be conceived to promote or condone potentially unsafe practices.
Instead, I now find that one who habitually condones such practices IS a moderator.
So - a couple of observations:
I belong to several sites on various topics such as Fifty 5,6 & 7 Chevys, F100 Fords, hotrods in general, Volvo 1800's, Modified Round-fendered Volvos , Diesel pickups, full size pickups, and GM pickups. This is the ONLY site where moderators are not identified . Every other site has the word "moderator" after the person's name.
A moderator speaks for the site. If a moderator condones potentially unsafe practices, then, as the "voice of authority" it may be said that the site condones such practices.
One of the sites I belong to was recently involved in a lawsuit. The owner of the site was being sued for an 8 figure amount, because a member posted something that an outside party considered to be harmful and moderators failed to step in and censor (or disavow) the messages. Thus it was said that the site condoned the viewpoint. While the suit was ultimately unsuccessful, (not because it was without merit, but because one of the litigants went bankrupt) it was the various lawyers for both sides who were the real winners.
Norm - you maintain that towing a trailer the size and weight of yours, with your Honda is perfectly safe. You say so over and over. Is it safe for the hypothetical "John & Jane" ? Are you willing to categorically say so?
Does this site's owner agree?
Inquiring minds want to know......