Weight distribution hitches are a popular tool used by RV and trailer enthusiasts to improve the stability and handling of their vehicles.
However, with the rise in popularity, many people are left wondering if a weight distribution hitch is required by law.
According to the latest statistics, up to 80% of trailers used in the US are equipped with weight distribution hitches, making it a common and widely used accessory.
Is A Weight Distribution Hitch Required By Law?
No, there is no single state in the United States, or anywhere on the earth to necessitate it by law.
Weight distribution hitch is a very old addition to the towing system.
But in the past decade or so, they have gained serious popularity.
Yet, no state or country has made it compulsory to use weight distribution hitches for towing.
What do the professionals say here?
In any part of the world, salespeople and dealers will strongly encourage the use of weight distribution hitches.
But it’s rare that they’ll give up the opportunity to make a sale just because the customer doesn’t have one.
On the other hand, this does not imply that they will not push quite forcefully that you obtain one. Now, why is that?
Because it ensures the safety of towing. It can potentially protect you from serious troubles.
They may even offer to provide customers a weight distribution hitch together with the vehicle or trailer that you purchase as part of a bundle package.
Is A Weight Distribution Hitch Necessary To Tow A Travel Trailer?
Towing a trailer or recreational vehicle is possible for anyone who possesses a hitch and a suitable vehicle to connect it to.
You can just connect it to a suitable vehicle and start towing.
In actuality, you will have many types of hitches other than the weight distribution hitches. So, any hitch will suffice here.
However, in many instances, it is possible to securely pull a trailer without using a hitch.
Ball Hitches of Industry-Standard:
The most popular kind of vehicle hitch is a normal ball or bumper hitch. It links to the vehicle’s bumper.
In addition to that, it is the easiest form of towing hitch to use.
It is a very simple way of towing. It attaches to the back of your car and works pretty well. However, standard ball hitches have limitations.
They are an excellent choice for towing lightweight trailers and recreational vehicles (RVs).
Simply, the pulled vehicle shall weigh less than fifty percent of the gross vehicle weight rating of the vehicle doing the pulling.
So, standard ball hitches are not enough for towing big trailers and recreational vehicles.
Custom Ball Hitches:
You may install a regular ball hitch and an adjustable ball hitch to your vehicle in the same way.
The procedure is as simple as attaching a normal ball hitch. But there is a primary distinction between the two.
The adjustable ball hitch may have its height changed. However, a conventional ball hitch cannot be adjusted in any way.
If you prefer something that is truly heavy-duty, then you can pick the adjustable ball hitches.
Normal ball hitches can never provide such heavy-duty integrity. As a result, adjustable ball hitches have greater towing capability.
In fact, a few of them even have a sway control system with them in-built.
But it, in no way, affects the weight distribution faculty. They will distribute the weight with 100% efficiency.
Fifth-Wheel Heavy-Duty Hitches:
Fifth-wheel hitch systems are for heavy-duty needs. These hitches are among the most robust and durable ones available in the market.
They also have different working measures compared to the ball or bumper hitches.
These hitches will not link to the back of your vehicle. Your truck will need to have enough space for these hitches.
They will sit on the truck bed and can attach the recreational vehicles or the gooseneck trailers.
Compared to the bumper hitches, you will get more heavy-duty materials in the fifth-wheel hitches.
The result? They are able to support significantly greater weight. The most remarkable factor about these hitches is their built-in sway bars.
So, you get less and more controlled sway with perfect weight distribution at the same time.
In order for them to function properly, you will need to have a gooseneck trailer or RV.
They are not functional with bumper pull rigs or other types of trailers.
When Do I Really Need A Weight Distribution Hitch?
Weight distribution hitches are not necessary, despite the fact that they are strongly advocated in almost all circumstances.
Except, of course, you are an expert in the field of towing who serves a firm or company.
When working for the firm, the firm will almost inevitably involve you to use a weight-distribution hitch regardless of what you’re hauling behind your vehicle.
There is a maximum towing capacity that your vehicle company advertises.
In the technical specifications, you may get to know about it.
To get the maximum capacity, the manufacturer may suggest the use of a weight distribution hitch in situations.
It is possible that your vehicle’s handbook has a section on towing that stipulates you must utilize a weight distribution hitch in some circumstances.
So, for further details, please refer to your towing handbook.
The thumb rule:
Clearly, the law doesn’t force the use of a weight distribution hitch. However, there are situations when it becomes almost obligatory to use one.
If the weight of the object you are towing begins to exceed the weight of your truck by more than one-half, you will want a weight distribution hitch.
That comes out to around 2,501 pounds for a vehicle that weighs 5,000 pounds.
Safety And Convenience:
Why bother going to obtain a hitch that distributes weight? It’s that easy, and it makes things safer.
When the weight-distributing hitch is installed correctly, the load you are hauling is dispersed uniformly across all of the axles of the trailer.
Consequently, hitches improve both stability and maneuverability.
It makes driving easier. It’s not just unsightly, but also potentially dangerous when a truck and trailer are hooked together incorrectly.
If your tow vehicle and trailer are squatting, there can be serious issues.
Steering and brakes won’t respond as quickly. Also, headlights won’t shine as brightly.
Even the smaller dips and bumps will give you serious trouble. It would be easier to hit rock bottom.
This will give the trailer more leeway and sway with the body roll.
Weight-distributing hitch utilization is minimal but should be substantially higher.
Your truck may not be able to “handle it” in an emergency or harsh weather without one.
A weight distribution hitch is beneficial to have for a number of reasons, including those pertaining to insurance and liability.
For instance, a towing vehicle is capable to support only half of its maximum gross weight.
Now, imagine the scenario in which you are pulling an RV or trailer that crosses that weight limit barrier significantly.
Unfortunately, to facilitate the argument, you haven’t used any weight distribution hitch.
Let’s imagine as a part of the argument that your vehicle has an accident right away.
The potential causes of such accidents could be uncontrolled sway or unregulated towing. Who will suffer the burn now?
Not likely the insurance company.
The insurance company will dive deep into investigating the accident.
They will discover that you were towing without a weight distribution hitch.
There is a possibility that they won’t pay the damages.
They will eventually be a decision that there should have been a hitch in place for the specifics of your scenario.
They have the authority to do this if they might demonstrate that you were acting in a reckless manner.
Or, they can show that, when the accident took place, you haven’t exactly followed the prescribed towing techniques.
If you are in an accident with any other vehicle or the accident you are in involves another vehicle, there is a risk of criminal liability.
There could be bodily or mechanical damage as a consequence of the accident.
There is a risk that you may be held accountable for those offenses.
It is incorrect to suggest that the accident took place solely due to the fact that a weight distribution hitch was not in place.
On the other hand, if there is even the slightest possibility that the absence is the cause, you are done!
If the absence played a role, you will be in trouble with the liability of the accident as well as face criminal penalties.
FAQs about a weight distribution hitch being required by law
Why Use A Weight-Distributing Hitch?
This gadget reduces bumper stress during heavy towing.
That protects your car investment. Safety and maneuverability follow.
Can I Increase My Towing Capacity By Using A Weight Distribution Hitch?
To put it simply, no.
The safety hitch’s main goal is to, well, make things safer.
So, towing more than the rated for is extremely dangerous and foolish.
What Is The Price Range For These Hitches?
They are advertised for $200-$1,00.
You should absolutely check the hitch’s weight capacity before making a purchase.
So, it is very obvious a fact that the attachments of weight distribution hitches have been shown to significantly improve towing safety.
But if you ask “is a weight distribution hitch required by law?”.
There are presently no rules that mandate the use of weight distribution hitches.
However, to pull a larger travel trailer or recreational vehicle, you will need a tow vehicle that has an enhanced towing capacity.
If you utilize a weight distribution hitch, your car will have this capability.