Why do I need A Braking System
How do you stop a stick of dynamite? If you tow a vehicle behind your motorhome, that’s not a rhetorical question — at highway speeds, the momentum of a 3,000-pound towed vehicle (say, a Ford Focus) has the kinetic energy of a quarter stick of dynamite (425,000 foot pounds of force). A 6,000-pound Jeep Grand Cherokee has the kinetic energy of a half stick of dynamite (850,000 foot pounds of force). And, a 10,000-pound Chevy Silverado has the kinetic energy of three-quarters of a stick of dynamite (almost 1,500,000 foot pounds of force).
That’s according to the law — the second law of motion.
Like every other law of physics, the second law of motion — “force equals mass times acceleration” — isn’t open for debate. “Mass” (the weight of the towed vehicle) times “acceleration” (65 miles an hour, in the examples above) equals “force.” Always. Which creates, in effect, a 3,000- to 10,000-pound battering ram aimed directly at the back of the coach.
The laws of physics don’t recognize state boundaries. So it doesn’t matter whether you’re towing in Texas, Massachusetts or British Columbia — there’s no getting around the long arm of the second law of motion. Or, for that matter, the third law of motion — “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction” — every time you hit the brakes.
So it’s not surprising, then, that safety is the number one reason most people add a supplemental braking system. Supplemental brakes take the load off the motorhome, and the motorhome and the towed vehicle brake in tandem, taking significantly less time and distance to come to a controlled stop — approximately 34 percent less, according to a study* by ROADMASTER (see the “Test Results at 50 mph" chart).
Safety notwithstanding, there are several other compelling reasons to add supplemental brakes…
It’s required — To one degree or another, every state and province in North America has recognized what the second law of motion implies. Which is why supplemental brakes are required in virtually every state and province. The majority of states, plus many Canadian provinces, specify 3,000 pounds as the maximum weight which can be towed without supplemental brakes, according to the American Automobile Association.