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Old 06-27-2016, 10:03 AM   #1
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Toad Faux Pas - Be Careful

We stopped off for fuel yesterday and saw this. Not good for the Toad but thankfully no one was hurt.

A Class A was disconnecting their Toad and apparently failed to place the car in gear/park, or apply the emergency brake/chocks. The car rolled back over a moderate downhill slope, zipped over a road, sideswiped a tree (with driver side door open) and stopped after rear ending into a pine tree approximately 50 yards away.

As we get busy with Summer travel this serves as a reminder that we should check twice and follow prescribed steps when loading or unloading equipment, etc.
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Old 06-27-2016, 10:10 AM   #2
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Like to see how the insurance co handles this.
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Old 06-27-2016, 10:49 AM   #3
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My toad is a front-wheel-drive Honda Fit with automatic transmission. I don't ever disconnect the towbar until after I've started the engine, put it in Park, and engaged the parking brake.

When I worked for the Corps of Engineers, from time to time I had to perform accident investigations. It was axiomatic that all accidents are the result of at least one unsafe act and one or more unsafe conditions or other unsafe acts that reinforce the other unsafe act. One unsafe act alone will not cause an accident, which is why so many people can say, "I've been doing it this way forever, and never had a problem," right up until the one time they do have a problem. One unsafe condition alone will not cause an accident, because you can always compensate for the condition and still perform tasks safely.

We also learned to evaluate every accident we encounter, to see if lessons can be learned from it. So here is my evaluation…

In this case, there was clearly one unsafe condition— sloping ground where the RVer unhitched the toad. In fact, he or she should count themselves lucky that the ground sloped to the rear. If the ground had sloped to the front, the toad would have rolled forward after being disconnected, possibly pinning the hapless RVer between the toad and motorhome, resulting in broken bones at the very least.

Coupled with that unsafe condition were at least two unsafe acts: failure to take the vehicle out of Neutral, and failure to apply the parking brake.

If you remove even one of these two unsafe acts or the unsafe condition, the accident would not have occurred. Putting the toad in Park would have kept it from rolling. Applying the parking brake would have kept it from rolling. Unhitching the toad on flat terrain would have kept it from rolling. Doing all three would have really kept it from rolling.

The lessons to be learned from this? The RVer in question clearly wasn't working from a checklist, mental or written, or he wouldn't have skipped two crucial steps. Also, the RVer clearly had no situational awareness to enable him to recognize the sloping ground as a hazard requiring extra care.
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Old 06-27-2016, 02:41 PM   #4
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As Homer would say, "Doh!"
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Old 06-27-2016, 03:05 PM   #5
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"Comedy of errors" comes to mind...


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Old 06-27-2016, 03:16 PM   #6
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Ouch.


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Old 06-27-2016, 05:14 PM   #7
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AAWW That'll buff out.

On the bright side, it could have been a lot worse; the rear being the best of both ends to have damage.

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Old 06-28-2016, 01:48 PM   #8
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Having spent a number of years as a commercial pilot for a private company, I am reminded of the recurrent training many pilots receive at Flight Safety International. FSI places great emphasis on the use of written and oral check lists and teaches that every accident occurs at the end of a "chain" of errors. Often the chain starts with mental distraction followed by loss of situational awareness going on to errors in judgement and/or action. That is why nearly every aircraft accident is blamed on pilot error. The same principles apply in everyday life whether towing or mowing the lawn.
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