Simple Scale Saves Lives

Weigh Safe Photo 1 II

Walking the aisles at the recent Las Vegas Specialty Equipment Market Association Show, an aftermarket showcase of just about every car and truck product known to man, we found a stunning new product that stopped us in our tracks. The idea is simple and will have pickup truck owners wondering why they didn't think of it themselves.

Called WeighSafe, the product uses a small, hydraulically based tongue-weight scale built right into the stock of a trailer hitch. Based on how much down force (or how little, because too little tongue weight is just as dangerous as too much) is being exerted on the ball mount, the scale will show you how much tongue weight (with a relatively small margin of error) is sitting on the back end of your tow vehicle.

The built-in scale was the brainchild of Kevin McAllister from Lehi, Utah, where, as he tells the story, his wife challenged him to invent something that could save lives. At the time the challenge was issued he happened to be studying some federal statistics on trailering accidents and found that more than 10,000 deaths and almost 350,000 injuries could be directly related to improper or unsafe towing.

The product varies in price and can be configured in many different ways. This was McAllister's first time at SEMA, where his new product won the coveted Best New Tools & Equipment Product award. We're hoping we'll see more towing inventions from him in the future.

For more information, call 801-820-7020 or go to www.weigh-safe.com.

Weigh Safe Tongue Scale II

 

Comments

Great idea. If it saves one life it will be well worth the money.

WOW, its about time, i wonder how scary this would be when most 1/2 ton owners hook up their 7-8K pound dry weight trailers and realize they are way out of range

Great idea! I'd be interested in purchasing one. How much do they retail for?

That's a good idea, hats off to the inventor! What might save just as many lives is if truck manufacturers would just include the curb weight of the truck and also the GCTWR on the GVWR stickers inside the door of the truck. That way, no second guessing, no fudging the numbers by trucks sellers, RV sellers or truck customers who claim, " No problem, my buddy has the exact same truck and it handles this trailer just fine!" Or, "No problem, I'll just install some airbags!"
Then all you have to do is show Joe Consumer that sticker and get him to agree that,"Even though he only tows once a year, and only on Sundays and only on level ground", etc. etc etc., that to tow that 15,000 pound Toy Hauler with a half ton pickup in order to save on fuel when he's not towing, is not only illegal but totally unsafe and idiotic! Woe to the jerk who runs a light at the bottom of a steep hill towing too heavy a load and wipes out my kids and grandkids or my wife in their car, when said "towing expert" can't control the overweight trailer and plows through them. A lawsuit will be the least of his worries!

This is a great idea. Check out their site and watch the short video.
http://www.weigh-safe.com/
Although that's an extreme case, it is amazing to see how easy it would be to have an under or over loaded tongue.

Now go and invent a weight distributing hitch that tells you the amount on your truck.

Half the people, or more, are too cheap or uneducated to use one.

I see the same old "good to 6,000 or 7,000 pound with trailers that are 7,8, 9 or 10,000 pounds, and they get that "oh, I have a 3/4 ton, I don't need weight distributing hitches" Or worse yet, the guy with the bent bumper, because he massively overloaded it's light weight rating.

Unsafe towing is more than tongue weight. sure it's pretty cool hitch but, IMO the bigger issues are idiots that have no business towing in the first place.

such as:
No lights
Bald and under inflated tires
Bent axles
Unbalanced loads
Hitch too high or low (putting more load on the front or rear axle)
People not using trailer brakes
Not maintaining trailer or brakes
Over loaded
Structurally modified trailers
and so on...

I can't count how many times I've seen a $50K+ truck pulling a trailer that belongs in a junk yard.

How often do are you required to calibrate the gauge?

It's a good idea, but how accurate will the gauge be in a few years?

Actually the problem is not the consumers towing more than they should, it is the automakers who lie to customers and lead them to believe that just because they bought such and such a truck they can tow anything their heart so desires.

Take the Toyota Tundra for example. Not to long ago there was that whole thing showing it tow the space shuttle and making a big deal about how it is capable of doing that. Of course no one would think of actually towing that much with their truck, it give the Toyota owners in inflated confidence about their trucks abilities. Shame one Toyota for misleading their customers!

@ Batman

I am critical of the Tundra at times but how dis inflate anyone's confidence in the trucks capabilities? You do know it comes with a SAE tow rating? You do know nobody looks at truck pulls on YouTube and thinks that's their capabilities?

Local Company called Towsafe has something similar simple gauge.
http://caravansplus.com.au/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=13779

I go to the cat scales unloaded when I first buy the truck after accessories are on.

Then with my heavier loads I go across loaded.

That is the best way as it gives you each axle.

But this device would be a good tool as well.

First off, I'm going to credit the inventor for a great idea. However, I don't think it's going to be as effective as it could be because the people who don't tow a lot won't think they'll need it and the ones who tow all the time will *know* they don't need it. Only the truly careful ones will realize how valuable this tool will be.

On the comment about load-distributing hitches, I might point out that when my family started towing a camper, my father (being the only driver at the time) was taught well how to use the hitch. Over the course of about 15 years the towed travel trailers two- to four times a year behind a Ford LTD and later a Cadillac Coupe de Ville (that was when cars were still built strong).

However, after my spending 8 years in the military and hearing my dad complaining about how he had to replace the air shocks on the Caddy on a yearly basis, I discovered he had mis-remembered one of the rules and was loading all 750 pounds of tongue weight on the rear axle; he was hooking the load-bearing chains too loosely--in the third from the loose end of the chain instead of the third from the spring bar. When I tried to correct him, his very clear statement was, "I've been towing this trailer for years; I know how to hook it up!" Fortunately for the Caddy, he bought a Class A motorhome the next year.

The problem is, this anecdote is not a one-off. Every year during camping season I watch pickup trucks travel through my current home town towing travel trailers from 20' to 35' long with the hitch practically dragging on the ground. They've got the load leveling hitch with spring bars attached, but there is little to no weight on the springs themselves. This isn't something a hitch scale can fix.

@BAT... Exactly the problem is that guy we are all afraid of wont buy this hitch scale. That guy probably believes that if it can be hooked to a ball hitch it can be towed behind his truck. Think about, how many times have we seen people driving around with the tail practically scraping the ground and the headlights pointed into outer space with front suspension in full droop, but to be honest I am actually not afraid of that guy. Because at the point you know you are doing something wrong.
I am farrrrr more afraid of the guy with no towing experience who buys a brand new HD pickup to pull his brand new 5th wheel camper and while being under the combined maximum weight ratings, is completely beyond his capabilities as a driver, but thanks to the power wars can still scream down the highway at 70+ MPH. This scale isnt going to protect you from that guy.
The problem is most people dont even understand tongue weight, or weight distributed vs weight carrying or anything like that. My current truck can pull 12k from the bumper, but you read the fine print and it really can only pull 7k without a weight distributing hitch. Or even if it didnt need weight distribution one time I had to pull a trailer that had a 2 5/16" ball recently and went to a hitch store and said I am pulling a trailer that weighs around 11k and I need a 2 5/16" ball so he reaches into a box and whips out a ball but on closer examination the ball says its only rated to 7500, because the stud on the bottom is the same as a 2" ball. So I pointed that out and he was like, well you said 2 5/16 right? So then we found one actually rated for 12k but the receiver tongue they were going to mount it to again was only rated to 7500lbs even though it had the right size stud hole for the 12k rated ball. Long story short I finally got what I needed but I left a bit paranoid because most people just go to Uhaul and get the $40 one size fits all hitch and hit the road.

Yo! Batman! A Ford F-150, a Toyota Tundra and a Ram 1500 all pulled a Boeing 727 on Top Gear America this week! Of course, they didn't load the nose wheels into the bed, so the trucks were effectively carrying NO load, but still...

Great invention. My (unsolicited, I know) advice to Mr. McCallister would be to liscense this instead of trying to manufacture it himself. Let OEMs and aftermarket hitch makers just build this into their own products and pay him a fee of some kind. If he tries to sell it himself it will be tough to compete against hitches already on shelves with established brand names. Heck I don't even know who made my hitch, I just grabbed the cheap one at Wal-Mart.

Now, had it been at Wal-Mart and next to the cheap one, but this one said "built-in safety scale" in big letters and then something describing that it helps you watch your tongue weight, I would have been all over it.

Good idea but as many have pointed out, only conscientious drivers will buy it.
There are 3 phases to learning:
1. Unconsciously incompetent (you don't know that you don't know anything)
2. Consciously incompetent (You know you don't know anything and are trying to learn)
3. Unconsciously competent (You are skilled to the point where you don't need to think about what you are doing)

@ Big Al from Oz, calibration takes very little time and shouldn't be expensive some places may even let you do it at not cost for something like this such as a local trade/vocational school. it'd be well worth it after so long. It's just that most ppl likely won't take the time to figure our where to get it done.

Will this be available in other heavy duty hitches (Ex: Reese) for pulling RV's's that have a built in sway bar system where you attach two sway bar links to the hitch?



Post a Comment

Please remember a few rules before posting comments:

  • Try to be civil to your fellow blog readers.
  • Stay on topic. We want to hear your opinions and thoughts, but please only comment about the specified topic in the blog post.
  • Your email will not be shown.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Home | Buy or Sell a Truck | News | Special Reports

Powered by Cars.com. By using this site, you agree to our terms of service | © 2011 Cars.com | Privacy Statement | Contact Us

Visit our partner: MovingTruck.com