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Old 05-02-2006, 08:27 PM   #15
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Very scary! Glad they are ok.

On our 6 hour drive home from our trip this weekend the thing that surprised us most was the motorhomes. The semis were all pretty well behaved, but several times we were passed (we were doing around 65) by the HUGE motor homes, doing WAY in excess of the speed limit, just going scary-fast. Something about the shape of those seems to give us the worst push, and because our tow vehicle isn't particularly aerodynamic either, I think the van almost get's pushed worse than the airstream!

All those points are great advice, and we also have a check list and both of us double check it - though this time we still managed to attach the sway control but forgot to tighten it - but it seems to me there is no setup that can protect you from getting pushed by the air coming off another large vehicle moving that fast.
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Old 05-02-2006, 08:47 PM   #16
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Sorry to hear about your friends. I hope they are ok.

I can certianly identify with this. One my way out to Montana I had several trucks pass me at high speed. As the came up on the middle of the trailer it would push the truck towards the lane of the passing truck. I quickly got in the habit of looking my left rear view mirrow and anticipating the movement.
This was happening with a truck that weighed almost as much as the trailer.
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Old 05-02-2006, 11:24 PM   #17
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A high speed differential is probably more of an asset in cases like this. The real culprit is the lack of distance between the vehicles. Some truckers just like to skim trailerists to see what they can do but with wide vehicles and narrow lanes and a bit of surprise, the venturi effect can really ruin a day.

This is one case where trying to speed up to straighten out is probably not the best idea as it keeps you alongside the other vehicle longer. It is also not a good idea to put too much into keeping a straight line, either when just staying in lane is good enough and usually safer.

Glad to hear they were able to survive a high speed crash. It is indeed a tragedy that the incident will make it difficult to get back into the RV lifestyle.
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Old 05-02-2006, 11:34 PM   #18
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Where in California is this miricle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by uwe
California has a 55mph speed limit for towing vehicles, and trucks.
I often cursed this, as 62mph is a much more comfortable speed for me, but at the risk of getting a speeding ticket. Now after reading this story, I am very glad that we have this speed limit. It keeps the big rigs under 70mph, usually, with less impact on innocently towed travel trailers.
I am glad that the couple towing the Airstream is ok, but sad at teh same time that it would have to end their RV fun. Can't blame them, though. This is scary stuff.
We live in Northern California an hour east of Sacramento. I traveled US50, I80 and I5. If a big rig is traveling below 60 he is in slow heavy traffic or having mechanical problems. Cars and trucks travel I5 75-80 routinely.

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Old 05-03-2006, 01:16 AM   #19
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SW US is FAST!!!!

Neil -

Your experince is also mine. The traffic is CRAZY at 75 or 80+ MPH. That is when the HP is out giving tickets like candy....

When they aren't around, it is 'all bets are off' !!!!!!!!!

We have I25 running into town just east of here and after a long slog up into Sedillo Hill west of here, the trucks, RV's and cars 'just let it fly' on the downhill grades.... Been passed by Class-A's with toads at 95+!!!!

There are even 'special haulers' that are doing 85+ when they come through here.... The "wide load" cars/trucks need to get the heck out of the way when they come down these grades!

I turn in licence numbers and call numbers listed on the rigs every trip into town! HP knows me on every call!!! Proud to be known! Nail the bas*ards! We have speed limits for a reason.... Even the Wally rigs roar through here!

Probably have a reputation over at Wal-Mart - No LOW prices for him since he is costing us $'s with all his calls....

Not trying to sound like a ninny here but... This stretch of highway is one of the higest fatality stretches in the US per vehicle mile driven. It gets closed down every week, at least once for fatal accident investigation. In fact, they have institued a 'safety corridor' along here to try to reduce the speeds.... See 2nd and 3rd sentances above.

Good luck!

Yeah right. You would think with gas/diesel at near all time highs, that there would be moderation. NO DEAL. If anything, it is the opposite. "I believe I can fly..."

Look for me in the slow lane, with either corporate or SHP on the line. Figure I am contributing to a safer tomorrow. I'll wave as I pass you sitting there with the flashing SHP lights in your rear view.... You probably won't see me.

Peace

Axel
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Old 05-03-2006, 05:26 AM   #20
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I hope I spell this right...but run a google search for the "Bernoulli Principle" it shows how when a large object like a truck passes you there is a cushion of air that pushes you away, but then there is a vortex/vacumn that will suck you back towards it. Might give some insight into what is happening.

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Old 05-03-2006, 10:10 AM   #21
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I've noticed that with motorhomes, too. yikes! speeding tractor-trailers don't seem to have the same effect. I can only guess its because motorhomes and coach-style busses actually have a larger profile. the sides of a mh pretty much match the height of our rigs, as they have the same amount of ground clearance, more or less. But a T-T's trailer (typically) is actually 4' or more off the ground. there's alot of air under there that can be sucked into the venturi created when we're side by side with them; Much less space under a MH from which to suck air to relieve some of that vaccum, so the suction pulling the rigs together is even higher.
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Old 05-03-2006, 11:17 AM   #22
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I have never towed before... We just ordered a new rig with a Hensely Hitch. Do any of you use one? Does it prevent these types of problems discussed in this thread?
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Old 05-03-2006, 11:43 AM   #23
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My opinion is nothing can prevent these disturbances, because no matter what the airflow issues are there. However a good hitch can probably help you recover more safely. Most important is to go at a speed you're comfortable with, watch the traffic around you so you don't get surprised, and give yourself room for corrections.
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Old 05-03-2006, 12:26 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zombyw00f
I have never towed before... We just ordered a new rig with a Hensely Hitch. Do any of you use one? Does it prevent these types of problems discussed in this thread?
I believe it does prevent this type of sway. From what I understand from reading their literature and from the manager of the local Airstream dealer, David Tidmore (dtbw on this forum) is that the design of this hitch moves the pivot point of the truck/trailer combo from the ball to the rear axle of the tow vehicle. When travelling in a straight line you essentially have a fixed connection between the tow vehicle and the trailer making sway impossible. One of his rigs is a 2002 19' Bambi towed by a Ford Sport Trac with a Hensley and on one trip caravanning up to Colorado I was behind him running speeds in the 75 to 80 mph range. His rig was solid as a rock. I was towing my Overlander using the Reese dual cam with a F250 and I ended up having to slow up because my rig was getting pulled and pushed a little. The hitch is pricey but from what I've seen and people that I've talked to, it pays for itself in the long run.
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Old 05-03-2006, 12:32 PM   #25
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Old 05-03-2006, 12:47 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zombyw00f
I have never towed before... We just ordered a new rig with a Hensely Hitch. Do any of you use one? Does it prevent these types of problems discussed in this thread?
Zomby,
Yes several of us use the Hensley. If you do a search for "Hensley" you will find many posts about the hitch.

I travel I-81 alot with our Overlander. I agree that the big square mohos "push" more air than the semis. With the Hensley I can feel the moho comming, but the Hensley takes all the sway away.
So, as far as preventing sway, you will love your Hensley.

Welcome to the forum!!!
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Old 05-03-2006, 01:15 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 62 Overlander
I believe it does prevent this type of sway. From what I understand from reading their literature and from the manager of the local Airstream dealer, David Tidmore (dtbw on this forum) is that the design of this hitch moves the pivot point of the truck/trailer combo from the ball to the rear axle of the tow vehicle. When travelling in a straight line you essentially have a fixed connection between the tow vehicle and the trailer making sway impossible.
I think this is a bit of an overstatement.

While I certainly wouldn't say anything negative about the hensley, I don't think it makes sway "impossible", nor does it make any rig impervious to a loss of control. it just makes that "less likely" than without. and perhaps more than any other type or brand.
The "pivot point" is still right there at the ball, where it always was. that means the rig CAN bend there. if it can, it will, if enough force is applied to it. What the hensley does is eliminate the added leverage that a trailer would have against its tow vehicle that is formed by the distance between the tv's rear axle and the ball. it doesn't eliminate the trailer's mass; only the multiplying factor. you can sway and roll a tractor trailer, or a 5-er. it just takes more effort.
this particular accident may not have even involved "sway". the whole rig got sucked into a truck. there wasn't any mention of the trailer pushing the tv around, causing a loss of control, although that might have been part of it. this sort of "extreme" case might not have been avoidable with any hitch.
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Old 05-03-2006, 01:46 PM   #28
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I don't think this is really a matter of sway. Our van alone gets pushed by passing vehicles, because of it's tall boxy shape, and when hitched we feel that push even more.

A good hitch is never a bad thing to have, and from everything I've heard the Hensley is the best, but being alert, aware, and cautious is the most important thing. I agree with Rodney, sticking close to the White Line is never a bad idea.
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