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Old 08-18-2014, 12:41 AM   #15
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Incidents, Accidents & Crashes

My bet is where all RV trailer accidents involving property damage are considered, backing accidents will rank first, turning accidents will be second, and overhead obstructions will be third, with dramatic highway accidents being quite a bit less frequent than the former.

Few people will commit their silly little low speed but humiliating incidents to internet posterity....
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Old 08-18-2014, 06:02 AM   #16
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Andy,
We would also be very interested in either the 12 questions or some of your findings regarding accidents. You can never have too much information.
Thank you so much.
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Old 08-18-2014, 06:49 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
Since I do not travel anymore, I wonder why so many loss of control accidents occur, and people still say, "YOU CANNOT PROVE IT", or send then copies of the research data.
As a safety coordinator for my division at work, I have also received training as an accident investigator. Not for trailer towing, but for workplace accidents— including the investigation of two fatalities to date.

One thing that is banged into our skulls during the training, and it is proven empirically in EVERY investigation, is that there is NEVER just one cause for an accident. There are always at least TWO causes. One cause is always an unsafe act. The other cause is either an unsafe condition or another unsafe act, often by a different person.

Another thing that is emphasized is that most people involved in the accident cannot tell what the causes are. They mistake the accident itself as a cause, and then they're stuck.

Plucking an example out of the air because I personally witnessed one just like it at a campground that will remain unnamed (It was an SOB trailer besides, not anybody's here on the Forums)… The person who had the accident said to the insurance investigator that the cause of the acccident was, "I backed into a tree." No, that's NOT a cause; that's an effect. He should have asked himself, "Why did I back into the tree?" And when he answered, "I didn't know the tree had low-hanging branches," he'd have to ask himself, "Why didn't I know?" And so on, until he got to the true root cause, which might be, "I didn't get out and look before trying to back into the space." THAT is the unsafe act that is the proximate cause.

But there's still another cause beyond that, which already existed BEFORE his unsafe act, and which in this case we've already mentioned in passing, "The tree has limbs that hang lower than the roof of the trailer." That would be the unsafe condition. The trailer owner didn't cause the limbs to be low; they just were. But if the limbs hadn't been low, his failure to get out and check clearances wouldn't have led to an accident.

Most of us commit unsafe acts every day, and get away with it with no harm done, and that makes us complacent. It's only when that unsafe act occurs at the same time there's an unsafe condition already in place, or when someone else commits an unsafe act in the same place, that those routine unsafe acts lead to an accident.
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Old 08-18-2014, 07:43 AM   #18
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Very concise explanation, thanks!
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Old 08-18-2014, 08:07 AM   #19
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http://www.blueridgelife.com/2013/02...s-no-injuries/

Someone was in a big hurry....
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:42 AM   #20
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I've seen one incident with a U-Haul single axle trailer being pulled by a Chevy Monti Carlo. The trailer was slightly yawing which then started to accelerate. I slowed down behind knowing that the trailer was in trouble. The yaw became more pronounced and the driver sensing problems stepped on the brakes. At that point the yaw became extreme and in one violent pitch the entire car was pulled by the yawing trailer off the road. The car ended up perpendicular to the highway with the trailer almost perpendicular to the car. Luckily no one else was involved and the trailer and car stayed upright.

Back in my old days I pulled a 21' Hi-Lo travel trailer with a '73 Olds Cutlass. At the time I did not use any sway controls and the Hi-Lo tracked well behind the Cutlass.

I was traveling about 55 mph on a flat Interstate following an 18 wheeler. I probably was about 15-20 car lengths behind him. Suddenly one of his tires on the trailer blew and started throwing chunks of tire all over the road. One piece was very large and I instinctively swerved to miss the carcass of tire. The swerve was pretty large and the Hi-Lo whipped, first opposite my swerve, then a yaw back the other way and then one final large yaw to the opposite which forced a guy off the road who was attempting to pass me. The Hi-Lo then came out of the yaw and got back in line with the car. Needless to say I pulled off the road to collect myself and to get the shaking out of my hands. It scared the heck out of me. I was using a Reese hitch with spring bars but no sway control. I got out of the car to check the hitch and everything was ok. I opened up the door on the Hi-Lo and saw that every cabinet door had popped open with the contents of the cabinets on the floor.

Needless to say I was very lucky as was the guy who I forced off the road when the trailer whipped into his lane. Along with luck I attribute the fact that the Hi-Lo because it travels in a collapsed mode had a very low center of gravity which led to its excellent towing characteristics and its ability to come out of that yaw. If that had been a typical travel trailer it probably would have been a different story.

Funny but I considered the entire situation a fluke and never did add sway control. I towed that trailer 14 years with the Cutlass, a mini van (Astro), and a half ton van without sway controls. When I sold the Hi-Lo and bought a 30' travel trailer, I did upgrade that Reese hitch with a dual-cam sway control.

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Old 08-18-2014, 09:43 AM   #21
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Safety: Learning from Incidents, Accidents & Crashes

This one had some kind of W/D....

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-5idV2k3qX9...0/IMG_2380.JPG

Happened in Jan, sway induced accident.

http://dansairstreamtravel.blogspot.com/?m=1

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-K3WIFeLo5x...0/IMG_2391.JPG
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Old 08-18-2014, 10:13 AM   #22
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I had what we call in medicine a "near miss" back in June.

I pulled into a gas station...took what I thought was a very wide turn and let my guard down for a second, but luckily still checked back as I made the turn and got much too close for comfort to the pump barrier on my drivers side of the trailer...came about 1 foot from impact but caught myself and backed up a bit and corrected...but I remember thinking "whew, I need to be incredibly anal about always keeping my guard up entering into relatively tight spots!!"

As such, perhaps (and not necessarily) this could also be a good thread to report "near misses"...we tend to do this in the medicine field and it really helps because you learn a great deal from near misses. jcanavera is another good one obviously.
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Old 08-18-2014, 10:26 AM   #23
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As far as maneuvering accidents go all of them can be prevented by looking.

After more than thirty years experience with trailers of all sizes, I am not too proud to get out and look even multiple times.
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Old 08-18-2014, 10:32 AM   #24
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Speed is a BIG Factor

Paula believes that speed - she was going 65mph when her rollover occurred - played a big part in her accident. We all intuitively know that, but this thread prompted me to do a little research.

Speed affects things in at least three ways:

(1) It gives you less time to react as it increases.
(2) It creates a longer stopping distance as it increases.
(3) It creates a greater impact force as it increases.

The reason it's such a big factor is that the effects don't increase in a linear fashion as speed increases, they increase exponentially. We probably all remember the kinetic energy formula:

Energy = 1/2mass x velocity2

Using this calculation the speed increase is 18% and kinetic energy increases 37% - that's a big increase in the power of a crash. The squaring of velocity is the biggie.

I imagine there's an engineer or physicist on here who do the calculations for decreased reaction time and increased stopping distance at increasing speeds.

I pretty much always keep it at 55mph just because I can. It's nice to be retired and to mostly eliminate the word "urgent" from my vocabulary (I used to think RVers drove slowly because they had to - now I realize many do because they can ). I enjoy just moseying along. Things do feel fine at 65mph but a better understanding of the effects of higher speeds will strengthen my resolve to keep it at 55mph.

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Old 08-18-2014, 10:34 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PharmGeek View Post
As such, perhaps (and not necessarily) this could also be a good thread to report "near misses"...we tend to do this in the medicine field and it really helps because you learn a great deal from near misses. jcanavera is another good one obviously.
Absolutely, great idea.

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Old 08-18-2014, 10:55 AM   #26
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Sorry,,,,, I can't drive 55...

I am pretty chill at 62 or 65. Depending on road, traffic, and weather, I can be comfortable a might bit faster than that.

At 62 mph a person can get behind any number of trucks and not make a knot in traffic flow.
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Old 08-18-2014, 10:58 AM   #27
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accidents can happen for lots of reasons. This guy never saw this one coming.

http://ucmmuseum.com/airstream.htm
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Old 08-18-2014, 11:43 AM   #28
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I will say that I cant remember my trailer ever going into a sway event at 62 or below, ever. 65 and above, a few times before Hensley, after Hensley is yet to be determined.
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