Good Electrical Connections
you are towing, much of your driving safety depends upon how good
the electrical connections are between the towing vehicle and the
trailer or towed vehicle.
Have you checked
upon the integrity of the wires that connect your towing vehicle
to your towed vehicle lately? What condition is your umbilical cord
in? Snowbirds often pass through areas with the potential for severe
salting. Electrical connections are especially prone to corrosion.
I've seem connections where the wire was corroded away completely
at the screws or crimped connections creating a situation where
there was no current to the signal lights, or brakes in the towed
vehicle or RV.
replaced my umbilical cords using molded cords and connectors made
by Bargman. The sealed unit removes the possibility of corrosion
at the wire connections, although there may be some on the terminals
of the male/female plug-in connectors themselves. The connectors
come with a long length of wire enclosed in plastic so that the
actual connection to your own wiring can be done away from contact
with the salt spray. Make sure the cord you purchase stays flexible
in cold weather or it may have enough flex resistance to work its
way out of the plug-in receptacle. Ask before you buy.
Have you installed a good breakaway switch between your tow vehicle
and the load? Check to see if it works. Is it weather proof? Road
salt spray can create problems within the switch causing it to fail.
It may refuse to work when the pin is pulled out, or it may suddenly
engage the towed vehicle's brakes.
Although breakaway switches on 5th wheel-trailers are not legally
required in some regions, it still makes good sense to install one.
If the owner of the 5th wheel that I saw in the ditch at the bottom
of a 10% hill in Big Bend National Park had been using a breakaway
switch the trailer would likely have stopped shortly after pulling
loose from the truck box, and would not have run backward down the
hill. It was fortunate that no one was following closely behind.
It takes a little more effort on our part to make sure that we tow
safely. Every time we hook up we should be checking to make sure
everything is as it should be.
For more than four decades James Stoness has travelled
the roads of North America, photographing and writing about what he has
seen. His travel articles and beautiful pictures have been published in
several magazines and newspapers. He is also the author of five western
In the “Touring North America” scenic tour series, James brings a new
concept in Scenic Travel Books. The premise that several Minitours can
be created so they interlink, makes it possible for the potential traveller
to chain several Minitours together to make a longer trip. The maps, coloured
photographs, and descriptions help you plan your trip, and enjoy your
progress along the route.