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Advice on towing

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frensham View Drop Down

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Post Options Post Options   Quote frensham Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Advice on towing
    Posted: 02 May 10 at 6:15pm

Not strictly insurance, but I don't know where else to put it. For the last 5/6 years I have been happily towing boats (mainly a double-stacker Access trailer) for disabled sailors to take part in Open Meetings around the country. These boats are not owned by the sailors, but by the Sailability centre.This year, because of increased demand, and lack of towers/helpers, it has been decided that disabled sailors may now tow the boat they will use to these events. Whilst there is no issue with the towing, the disabled sailor is often unable to load the boats, and more importantly, lash them down. This is done by a helper, who will not accompany the driver to the event. My concern is that that helper becomes liable if anything untoward happens on the journey, when the driver can say the he/she did not secure the boats properly. The helper, of course, cannot know whether someone has altered the lashings, perhaps to add something, after the loading period.

I cannot see a way out of this without reverting to the position that the driver must lash the boats on himself, but this will reduce the available pot of drivers. Would you be happy to load/lash boats for someone else to tow ? Am I worrying unnecessarily ?


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Webmuppet View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Webmuppet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 10 at 6:28pm
I can understand the problem, however, wouldn't it be possible to contact the organising club to ask if they could designate a person to check the security of each boat / trailer before leaving the venue ?

I usually stop part-way along my route to check that the straps haven't loosened or slipped.....that wouldn't be very easily done on a double stacker if you trying to check from a wheelchair ?

I am the milkman of human kindness, I will leave an extra pint (Billy Bragg)

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radixon View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote radixon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 10 at 8:58pm
I understand what you are saying, the police take the view it is down to the driver to check the load.

I understand what the Access dinghies took like but never towed one myself on road. I would show the driver a couple of ways of checking them from a wheelchair, what do we guys check, personnally its if the straps are tight and the boats dont move. Why not give them a boat hook so they can test the top and bottom straps for tightness. Also make sure they understand where the straps go so they can advise the people loadig them thats what they would like doing, maybe with photographs of how its loaded.
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Stuart O View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Stuart O Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Sep 11 at 8:06am

Unfortunately Radixon is right VOSA and the Police take the view that the driver is responsible for the security of the load no matter how many checks have been carried out and but whom

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konvict View Drop Down

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Post Options Post Options   Quote konvict Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Sep 11 at 10:50am

Here are some important towing tips for increased safety and enjoyment in your RV travels. Know how to tow before you buy and every time you head out on the road. You will have less hassles, more fun and will help promote RV safety. Here are ten towing tips to get you started.

  1. Understand the basics:     Start at the beginning. Read our tips on managing RV weight. Understand the weight definitions and the importance of weight distribution in towing. Do this before you buy.
  2. Do the math:     Get the specific numbers for your prospective combination of RV and tow vehicle.

    Obtain and carefully read manufacturer’s manuals and product-specific towing tips. Make sure you understand their definitions of weight-related terminology. If you are planning to tow a trailer or fifth wheel, the major truck makers have Towing Guides that include model-specific details.
    Develop a realistic estimate of fully loaded weight, and do the calculations to make sure you end up with an RV and tow vehicle combination that will meet your needs. Don’t forget any options or accessories you had added (or plan to add). Remember to consider passengers, belongings, full water and fuel tanks. This is time well spent to avoid poor purchase decisions, costly repairs and unsafe travel.

  3. Distribute the Load:     Weight Distribution is critical.
    • Know your Gross Axle Weight Ratings (GAWR), obtain measurements of specific wheel position loads and set tire pressure appropriately.
    • Keep the center of gravity low.
    • Keep cargo secured to prevent shifting that could cause a loss of control.
    • Distribute weight between right and left and front to back per the specifications for your particular RV and tow vehicle. Trailer towing requires the right amount of tongue weight. Tap into the expertise of hitch and trailer specialists for towing tips on your particular configuration.
    • Determine if you need a weight distribution system (generally recommended for trailers over 5,000 lbs. fully loaded.)
  4. Hitching Your Wagon: Select hitches/tow bars that are rated to handle the load, in

    conjunction with the actual towing capacity of the towing vehicle. The maximum towing capacity is determined by the lowest-rated element in the chain of hitch components.
    For trailer towing, this chain consists of the trailer rating, the ball hitch rating, the hitch rating, and the towing capacity of the vehicle. The weakest, or lowest-rated, element in this chain always determines the maximum safe towing capability of the entire chain.
    For a motorhome towing a dinghy, the same principle applies. You must consider the towing capacity of the motorhome itself, as well as the ratings for a tow bar, cables, and connectors.

    Hitch up and unhitch a few times to get the steps down. Use a towing tip checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything.
    Hook up and un-hook on smooth level surface.
    When towing a dinghy, manufacturer towing tips often state that the receiver hitch of the motorhome should never be more than 4 inches higher than the baseplate attachment points -- use an appropriately sized and rated drop receiver. Most trailers and tow vehicles should be level (parallel to the ground) during travel. Check for manufacturer towing tips and instructions to correctly set up your combination of vehicles.

  5. Built for Two: When you connect a towing and towed vehicle, you need to make sure that the two can operate together effectively, safely (and legally in some cases).
    • Brakes - Many states require a separate braking system on towed vehicles with a loaded weight of more than 1,000 - 1,500 pounds. Legal reasons aside, a separate functional brake system for towed vehicles is recommended for increased safety. Include a breakaway option, in the event the trailer or toad is separated from the towing vehicle.
    • Lights The law also requires that the towed vehicle have operable lights. The brake lights, tail lights and turn signals of the towed vehicle must operate in sync with the towing vehicle.

  6. Oh say, can you see?     Make sure you have adequate mirrors to give you the visibility you need for safe RV driving and towing. If your mirrors aren’t adequate, change them. If you are towing a trailer, you should have extended side-view mirrors to see rear and side-approaching traffic.
    Rear-vision cameras may be included in your motorhome, with a monitor in the driver’s cockpit. These provide a view of the dinghy and immediate roadway in back, and help when passing or changing lanes. They are available as an after market add-on, and there are rear-vision cameras that work with towable RV applications.

  7. Ready, Set, Go?:     Well, maybe not yet. Another good towing tip - practice first. Before you head out on your first trip, practice driving, turning, stopping (and backing up for towable trailers) in an area away from heavy traffic. Make sure you know your roof clearance. Try out your mirrors.
    • Driving: When starting out, accelerate slowly and steadily. The addition of a trailer or dinghy adds weight and length. More weight means more time. Determine how long it takes you to accelerate and come to a stop. Allow extra time for changing lanes, stopping and passing other vehicles.

      Pass on level ground with plenty of clearance. Avoid sudden moves. When turning, allow room for the towed vehicle to clear.

      Get in the habit of looking ahead – a good rule of thumb is to look as far ahead as you will travel in 12 – 15 seconds. Obviously, this distance will vary depending on how fast you are going. Give adequate notice of your intentions with turn signals. If you are going to come to a stop, a few taps on the brakes might give a clue to the driver behind you. Watch traffic signals and anticipate light changes so you can stop in time.

    • Backing: For motorhomes, don’t try to back up with a dinghy attached. The key towing tip here is to avoid getting into a spot where you have to back up in the first place. Or disconnect the dinghy before backing.
      For towable trailers, back up slowly, with someone spotting near the rear of trailer to guide you. It’s a good idea to agree on a set of hand signals beforehand, so you can communicate clearly with the spotter. Move the steering wheel in the direction you want the trailer to go. Make small steering movements so you can get the hang of it. Slight steering movements result in much greater movement in the rear of the trailer.

  8. Swaying in the Breeze:    Hopefully not. Appropriate attention to weight limits and distribution in setting up your tow configuration will help avoid problems with sway. Sway control options are available to help with trailer sway, and a weight distributing hitch system is recommended for large towable trailers.
    If you do experience trailer sway from a gust of wind, downgrade or draft from a passing truck: remember to gradually reduce speed, steady the steering wheel and only apply the trailer brakes. Do not slam on the brakes since jackknifing could occur. Do not try to steer out of a sway, increase speed or make sudden moves – it will only make things worse. Do not tow a trailer that continues to sway – determine what is wrong and correct the problem

  9. No passengers:     You should never ave passengers traveling in a towed trailer or dinghy.

  10. An Ounce of Prevention:     Avoid serious problems by adopting a “checking it twice” mindset. Use towing tip checklists as handy reminders. Before long trips, make sure your maintenance is current on both the towing and towed vehicle. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance on your towing apparatus. The first time you tow, a general towing tip is to stop after 50 miles to check towing connections, tires, etc. Make regular stops to stay fresh at the wheel and during these breaks, check around the RV and tow to make sure all is well. General advice is a stop every two hours
  11. Online GED

Edited by konvict - 29 Sep 11 at 1:48pm
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