Top 10 Questions We Get About the Safety Hitch


Because we use an unusual hitch with our fifth wheel, we get a lot of questions from other RVers, truckers and general onlookers. Heck, we’ve even had our picture taken a few times. (How weird to think that time we got chili dogs at the truck stop might be in some stranger’s photo album.) Driving around with the Automated Safety Hitch incites a lot of rubbernecking. We are safer for using it, but I wonder, is it causing others to be distracted on the road? Someone will have to fund a study to learn about this.

But my main point is, if you do buy a Safety Hitch, be prepared to answer a lot of questions everywhere you go. So, if you happen to see us on the road and want to know more about the Safety Hitch, let me save you the trouble of knocking on the RV door and interrupting the assembly of our peanut and butter and jelly sandwiches. Here are the top 10 questions we get and our typical responses:

1. What is that thing?

Answer: “That is an Automated Safety Hitch and we use it instead of a typical truck bed attachment. It’s like a drop-axle customized for a pick-up truck and RV combo.”

2. How does it drive?

Answer: “It drives great! We’ve gone 25,000 miles with it over field and stream, mountain and desert. So far, we like it!”

3. Why are you using it and not a regular hitch?

Answer: “Frankly, we would be pushing the weight limits on our truck axles as well as the truck’s braking capacity. The Safety Hitch uses a 2-ton axle and adds on an extra set of heavy duty hydraulic brakes. We are almost 25,000 pounds total and we need the extra stability and braking power. Plus we get to store a bunch of junk in the truck bed.” [points to piles of junk in truck bed as proof]

4. How does it connect?

Answer: “It’s pretty simple. You just attach the two safety chains to the truck and then use the built-in winch to pull the hitch to the receiver hitch. It automatically locks into place. It’s so easy a baby could do it!” (Disclaimer: Babies should not attempt to attach an RV to a truck using any sort of hitch or be involved in any activity that involves metal, engines, chains or winches.)

5. How does it turn?

Answer: “You would think because it adds length that the turning would be harder, but, in fact, it’s easier because under 35 miles per hour the axle is steerable. When you turn the truck, it actually pulls the RV to the outside of the turn. We can steer through anything.” (Note: When I say anything, I’m not talking about the time we got stuck under the roof at the gas station in Truckee, California. The Safety Hitch will not magically make you less than 13 feet tall as we learned the hard way.)

6. Is it stable while driving down the road?

Answer: “Well, we’ve never been knocked around the road by winds or big rigs. Lane changes are a breeze. With the extra wheels on the ground, you are infinitely more stable.”

7. How is the braking?

Answer: “The braking is the best part of the Safety Hitch. What most people don’t realize is that if you don’t get your trailer brakes professionally adjusted regularly, there’s a good chance they’re not even working and you won’t find out until you’re about to plow into a cow, a Ford Festiva or, if you’re in Amish Country, a good size cornfield. That is NOT when you want to find out that your brakes are inadequate for the load you’re hauling. Aside from the trailer brakes, the braking on any pick-up truck is usually inadequate for stopping any good sized load. Unless you have super-beefy brakes that are constantly adjusted, you are probably setting yourself up for a bad accident during an emergency stop.”

8. Is it hard to back up?

Answer: “There are pros and cons. You can see much better while backing up because the RV sits farther back from you. You are longer, which is a challenge, but once you lock the steerable hitch into a locked position, it’s no different from backing up any fifth wheel.”

9. Where did you get it?

Answer: “There’s the website painted on the hitch. You can learn more there.” (Thank goodness there is a website address on the hitch! We are too lazy to do anything other than point and say “go there.”)

10. Does that little wheel stay down while you’re driving?

Answer: “No, it doesn’t. It’s a landing wheel like in an airplane. It automatically comes down when you detach and automatically go up when you hitch up again.” (Why people always ask about this wheel is hilarious to me. It is cool, though.)


Becca January 3, 2011 at 8:55 pm

I remember the first time you and your husband first hooked it up and pulled that rig out of the yard. All the neighbors were looking out the windows. The kids eyes were all big. And you guys just pulled on out, like old pro’s. Now I’m pretty sure that isn’t what it felt like inside the cab ^.^, but it did seem pretty easy all in all.

Melanie January 5, 2011 at 12:29 am

Boy, I’ll never forget that! I didn’t think it was possible that we could drive this thing around the country. We are tens of thousands of miles into the journey now!

I forgot to mention that we met our mutual friend from the YMCA, Kelly and her girls, in Williamsburg, VA last summer. We had a picnic lunch and toured the town. How surreal it was to know her on the West coast and then hang out with her on the East coast!

Austin Boyd July 12, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Hello, we have been looking into getting one of these. Thank you so much for your input on the safety hitch. Is it really a great product? I have only read the pros, what would you consider to be the cons? Is it hard to hook up to the 5th wheel? Where do you store it while in a RV park?
Thank you so much for your time, hope to hear from you soon!
Take care and may GOD bless you many travels.

Troy August 15, 2013 at 12:18 am

I don’t intend to hijack a question for Melanie. I wound up buying a Safety Hitch after seeing their rig at Pecan Park in San Marcos. That was almost 2 years ago. Only con I can think of is that it takes the weight off of the rear axle of the TV. That caused concern when I was leaving Palo Duro Canyon state park in 100 degree heat. Blacktop road, 10% grade with switchbacks and two wheel drive. Not much traction. I now have 4WD. Easy to hook up. It stays hooked up to the 5th wheel at the park. You just need to be a little more picky to get a more level pad.

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