Better weigh that camper before the road trip

You can have your vehicle weighed free of charge at any government weigh scale, often at any time of the day...

One of my friends stopped to visit last weekend and showed me his truck and camper.

You should write about this because people need to know how to be safe, he said.

He had switched from a one-ton truck with single rear tires to one with dual rear tires. It made a big difference in stability and gave him a larger margin between the actual weight and the maximum weight allowed for the vehicle.

He had done his research because he knew that he had to weigh the fully loaded unit and then make sure that the weight on each axle and the total weight could not exceed the amounts shown on the vehicle’s capacity decal.

He also knew that there was a maximum weight shown on the sidewalls of his tires and that the axle weights must not exceed the tire capacities.

You can have your vehicle weighed free of charge at any government weigh scale, often at any time of the day, whether the scale is open or not.

Simply position the front axle on the scale pad, record the weight, repeat for the rear axle and then add the two figures for the total.

An RV dealer warned me once that camper manufacturers often under-reported the unit’s weight and all of the food, water, camping equipment and other supplies added more weight than people realize.

Using a scale is the only way to be sure.

Vehicles that fail to obey weight rules will be ordered off the highway by police or Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement personnel.

They must be unloaded sufficiently to comply before they may proceed again. There is also the possibility of fines in addition to the removal order.

For more information on this topic, visit www.drivesmartbc.ca. Questions or comments are welcome by e-mail to comments@drivesmartbc.ca. Tim Schewe is a retired RCMP constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. His column appears Thursdays.