Much has been said and written about the UK and European regulations and directives regarding the requirement for towing trailers/cars behind Motorhomes.
At this juncture it is important to note, that a towed car is regarded as a trailer so far as the legal regulations are concerned.
Until recently, the regulations for towing with a motorhome have been rather relaxed, and subject to different interpretations. In some European countries, namely Spain and Portugal have exercised stricter controls, others however such as France and the UK attitudes have been more tolerant.
The next 10 pages could be filled quoting regulations and directives that have come down from European legislation’s. One thing is clear however, all European countries including the UK, have now decided to impose stricter controls on legal A-frame systems to comply with certain performance capabilities.
The summary of these requirements, for towing legally with an A-frame, boil down to the following important points:
1. A trailer under tow, over 750 kg in weight, must have its own brake assistance, which must have at least 50% braking efficiency.
2. The trailer under tow should be able to be reversed from the towing vehicle i.e. the Motorhome, without creating a drag; furthermore, such devices used for purpose, must engage and disengage automatically.
3. There should be provision to restrain and stop the trailer, in the event of a breakaway from harness.
It is hard to imagine, that mechanical overrun systems, (inertia braking systems) will be able to comply with the above requirements, as acting on a “Dead Peddle”, a great deal of force will be required to achieve the efficiency levels as required. There will also be a substantial drag on reverse, as when the Motorhome reverses the overrun inertia system will apply the brakes in the car. Furthermore, the absence of an independent braking capability, it will not be possible to stop the vehicle, under a mechanical overrun system, in the event of a breakaway.
It is important to note, the article which recently appeared on the “UK Motor homes.net”site, dated 24/10/2010.
“The current European type approval legislation for trailers, 71/320/EEC, is due to be rescinded in 2014 and replaced by UN ECE Regulations 13. Part of this regulation (Section 188.8.131.52.) stipulates that inertia braking systems will only be permitted on centre axle trailers. This may mean that it will no longer be possible to use inertia braking systems on A-frames”.
From the above one can already see the way legislation is heading!
THE UNIBRAKE SYSTEM COMPLIES
The Unibrake system complies with the current and forthcoming legislation for towing with a motorhome and offers more. Namely:
- It uses the towed vehicle’s own power brakes, the efficiency of which is as intended by the original manufacturer of the car. (i.e. as if the car is being driven)
- The car has its own independent braking capability and in neutral gear when under tow. It will only brake when the brakes in the Motorhome are applied, therefore it can reverse freely without drag
- In the event of breakaway, the Unibrake safety feature will come into play, as the ringed pin will pull out of the “breakaway control housing”, and the power brakes will automatically be applied
- Unibrake system provides more – Through the LED lights on the Motorhome control system, information is continuously relayed back to the driver, regarding the correct functioning of the proportional braking system. An audible alarm sounds in the controller when all is not well
For many people a Motorhome is a substantial financial investment. Most people buying Motorhomes are driven by their sense of freedom, adventure and independence. A small car towed behind the Motorhome adds to the sense of freedom, mobility and exploration.
For people considering towing a car behind a Motorhome, it is essential to research and understand various towing systems and towing methods employed which are available today, and choose one that provides effective, safe and confident towing, and one that complies with present and forthcoming legislation. We think that UNIBRAKE is that system!
If you have any questions regarding legal A-frame systems or towing legally with an A-frame, then please do not hesitate tocontact us, we will be more than happy to answer any questions which you may have.