Compliments of:
William James Stoness

If 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....

Good Electrical Connections

If 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.

I 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.

Happy RVing!
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 novels.

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.

RV Gazette