Anyone who follows Upper Hutt Hire knows that we have a love for trailers. We have a preference for providing large items of equipment (like excavators), ready to go, usually on a dedicated twin-axle trailer. Most of the excavator packages weigh in at 2 MT plus, so you need a suitable vehicle to tow the trailered package.
The NZTA have some well-defined requirements for towing a trailer.
Firstly the tow bar needs to be rated to the correct weight for the intended load. Makes sense.
Secondly the trailer must not exceed 75% of the weight of the towing vehicle. If Grandmas Corolla weighs 1000kg, the heaviest weight for a loaded trailer is 750kg. Yeap, get that too.
Thirdly, and probably most importantly, a towing vehicle with trailer must be able to stop within 7 metres at 30 km/hr. That means if someone pulls out in front of you, you’ll need to pull to a stop at 30 km/hr within seven short meters.
This ability to stop is the summation of trailer weight, braking systems and the capacity of the towing vehicle to grind to a halt. It is literally a matter of where the rubber meets the road: bigger tow vehicles have bigger wheels and a greater contact rubber area with the tarmac.
The physics challenge is complicated by the move from 2500kg to 3500kg towing packages. Our new 2.5MT Kubota has been really popular but it weighs 3400kg all-up on a dedicated trailer. You certainly know when you’re towing the 2.5MT Kubota.
And that’s just the road rules. Have a quick look at the Health & Safety Legislation and you’ll see a Ute with a 3500kg towing capacity and a five-star safety rating starts to align quite nicely with the requirements for ‘reasonably practicable’ steps to ensure safety.
The current proposal to add a tax to heavy towing vehicles defies logic, especially as there isn’t a suitable alternative. Makes you wonder how many of the people making these decisions ever backed a trailer.