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Old 08-18-2014, 04:23 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdmaestro View Post
J...

You might be able to maintain greater distance at greater speeds in Arkansas. I wish we had that luxury here on the Left Coast, but it doesn't work that way. As soon as you leave that much distance someone fills it up. I like to stay off the Interstates as much as possible for many reasons - more relaxed driving is one of them.

Poppy

I hear you Poppy. In Oregon trucks are still limited to 55 anyway right?

You are not getting in anyones way going 55 in Oregon or California,,, and 60 in Washington.

Besides, I have no problem with you driving 55 in any state you please. I like that we are all different. Uniformity sucks.
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Old 08-18-2014, 04:28 PM   #44
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Safety: Learning from Incidents, Accidents & Crashes

Most highways are marked keep right except to pass. There is no exception for those going the speed limit.

I am going to be frank and direct here. There is no advantage to block traffic on a highway. Playing the part of a vigilante speed cop by blocking traffic causes traffic to back up in nasty hard to navigate balls of pissed off drivers. (Incites road rage and people cutting from one lane to the other)

Make your pass and then move right. If everyone did this driving would be so much more pleasant and SAFER.

By the way. A person is MORE LIKELY to get a speeding ticket in the left lane,,,, another good reason to move right after the pass...
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Old 08-18-2014, 04:31 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdmaestro View Post
J...

You might be able to maintain greater distance at greater speeds in Arkansas. I wish we had that luxury here on the Left Coast, but it doesn't work that way. As soon as you leave that much distance someone fills it up. I like to stay off the Interstates as much as possible for many reasons - more relaxed driving is one of them.

Poppy
I can relate, we have that problem in Florida. If it's not the cutting you off, it's the guy asleep in the left hand lane. While the guy in the right flys past at 100mph and another guy decides he needs to make a right hand turn from the left lane while crossing 4 lanes of traffic to do so.

I don't know what it is about this state. Been here for 3 years, and there is always someone who feels the need to go 5mph under the speed limit in the left hand lane.

Don't get me started on the folks who think the shoulder is the "Passing Lane".
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Old 08-18-2014, 04:44 PM   #46
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While I don't quarrel with JMorgan's premise that folks should move right when faster traffic comes up behind, where I drive (FL, GA, SC, NC mostly) the signs say "Slower Traffic Keep Right". Years ago the signs on the Florida Turnpike used to say "keep Right Except To Pass" and I knew people who got tickets for steady driving in the left lane when the right lane was open. Those signs are gone now, I suspect because the road that was two lanes on each side then and still is, is carrying many times more vehicles per hour and that can't be supported by one lane.

My recent look at traffic regulations regarding trailer width suggested that the speed limit for trailers in many states (but not FL) was 55 mph. I don't recall seeing that posted anywhere recently, but I'll drive 55-60 to reduce fuel consumption if for no other reason. As someone said, I'm retired so I don't need to hurry!

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Old 08-18-2014, 04:57 PM   #47
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Andy's 12 Questions

Here is a link to a very interesting article written by Andy at Inland RV in 2009:

http://www.inlandrv.com/articles/towing_myths.pdf

His 12 questions are in there along with informed observations. Fascinating article.

Poppy
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Old 08-18-2014, 05:26 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdmaestro View Post
Here is a link to a very interesting article written by Andy at Inland RV in 2009:

http://www.inlandrv.com/articles/towing_myths.pdf

His 12 questions are in there along with informed observations. Fascinating article.

Poppy
Poppy, thanks for sharing, that was an interesting read. However, I find some of the data points a bit troubling.

Is this article trying to relate data sets from the 1970's to todays vehicles?

Quote:
That sole exception, was Caravanner Insurance Company, the old insurance division of Airstream, back in 1970. I am proud to have worked for Caravanner Insurance, at that time. Over and above training dealer parts and service departments nationwide, writing the “Airstream crash book”, I also headed the “lets find out why” research program regarding loss of control accidents when towing an Airstream trailer.
He's also unclear on the sample pool size of respondents. I think it's 500, but unsure. Is that 500 individual crashes from some time in the 1970s?

I also found it odd that the size and weight of what was being pulled is never discussed in the 12 questions.

Quote:
1. Year, brand & type of tow vehicle?........................
2. Brand of hitch?............................
3. Model of hitch (rating)?.......................
4. Was hitch equipped with full sway control?...........................
5. Who installed the hitch?...........................
6. Was hitch bolted or welded?.......................
7. Were rear springs on tow vehicle standard or heavy duty?................
8. Type of rear shock absorbers, (standard, heavy duty, air shock, air lifts,
load leveler or other.
9. If air shocks or air lifts, what pressure was used?..................
10. Was anything mounted on the rear of the trailer?......................
If yes, what was attached?....................... Weight of item.............
11. How full was black water tank?...............Gray tank?...................
12. How full was water tank?......................
So what your towing doesn't matter? Wouldn't that be relevant information if I wrecked while towing a 37ft Airstream with a Mini-cooper? Plus, AS trailer weights vary by year, make, model and size.

I don't understand how it wouldn't be relevant.

I didn't know that sway control and WD systems where around in the 70's. Just goes to show everything is not as new as you think.

Quote:
The data clearly demonstrated the cause of two thirds of all the losses, which
were modifications to the tow vehicle, and/or hitches or sway controls. Some of
the tow vehicle modifications were overload springs, overload spring type
shocks, improper use of air lifts or air bags, and automatic leveling.

The hitch problems were numerous, some of which were improper installation
and/or adjustment, no load equalizing hitch was used, improper chain
adjustments as well as no sway controls.

Air shocks and other air lift systems, defeat the purpose of a load equalizing
hitch, unless they are set to “minimum” pressures. Use any pressure you wish
“when not towing”. Automatic leveling is an absolute no-no. You must “defeat it”
when towing a travel trailer when using a load equalizing hitch, and make sure 4.
the pressure in the shocks is at absolute minimum, which is usually 15 to 20 PSI.
Any pressure above the minimum, progressively defeats the purpose of the load
equalizing bars.
This is particularly alarming, but maybe not if this is all based on 1970's data points.

Air lifts defeat the load equalizing of the hitch. It's odd that this is so, when companies like Dodge have decided to include automatic load leveling and air ride suspension in their new truck. What do their engineers know?

Also, I noticed while reading the website for Airlift "help bags" that they give very specific instructions in how to use the bags with a WD hitch. And part of those instructions are to NOT inflate the bags first. SOURCE: Weight Distribution Bars and Air Springs | Air Lift Company - Tow and Haul with Safety and Comfort

Also curious about this language used, if someone can clarify this bit:
Quote:
overload springs, overload spring type shocks
Does this mean "Heavy Duty" aftermarket coil spring, leaf springs and heavy duty shocks?

The reason I ask is some folks do replace their shocks with better than OEM.

So is this implying that your shocks should match your load?

Very interesting points in all. I kind of felt like the article ended abruptly though.

But I am curious if he's using 1970's data points to talk about 2014 hitch setups and vehicles.

Lots of good discussion in this thread. Thanks for starting it. Lots to be learned.
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Old 08-18-2014, 05:29 PM   #49
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I'm hoping that Andy will surface and share his insights with us. He has a wealth of experience and knowledge that he shares willingly - and candidly.

Poppy
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Old 08-18-2014, 06:42 PM   #50
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After making many trips to Mo. Okl. Kans Tx and many other states. Il has rudest drivers as they want to drive left lane block traffic or speed cut in and out pass then turn rt. causing close calls or accidents tailgating. I can always tell soon as I cross into Il. as it starts to happen & I do go 5+ mph. over limit also have years of racing exp. plus flying I have never had any complain about my driving as always do safe way.
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Old 08-18-2014, 06:59 PM   #51
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Thread about an accident in September, 2011:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464...tch-82925.html

There was an interesting comment by Andy of Inland RV in the thread:

Most, but not all, loss of control accidents, when towing an Airstream, is related to improper rigging.

This coincides with a comment he made in his article:

The data clearly demonstrated the cause of two thirds of all the losses, which were modifications to the tow vehicle, and/or hitches or sway controls. Some of the tow vehicle modifications were overload springs, overload spring-type shocks, improper use of air lifts or air bags, and automatic leveling.

The hitch problems were numerous, some of which were improper installation and/or adjustment, no load equalizing hitch was used, improper chain adjustments as well as no sway controls.

There has been a lot of technological change since the 70's of course, but as far as I know things haven't changed that much since 2011. Perhaps Andy will stop by and discuss changes and/or trends over the years.

Poppy
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Old 08-18-2014, 08:25 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdmaestro View Post
Thread about an accident in September, 2011:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464...tch-82925.html

There was an interesting comment by Andy of Inland RV in the thread:

Most, but not all, loss of control accidents, when towing an Airstream, is related to improper rigging.


Poppy

Some context, the facts from the post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveH View Post
At this time, we only know this:

1. The driver pulled to the Right side of the road to let traffic pass, and then the sway started.

2. The driver stated the trailer came loose from the TV.

3. The trailer turned over on the curb side only. ( 1/4 roll)

4. The TV went over the guard rail, and turned over to the driver, road side. (3/4 roll)

5. The receiver was ripped out from under the truck, and the center section was still attached to the drawbar.

6. The Hensley center section of the hitch was loose from the trailer ball hitch.

7. The Hensley bars that keep the head straight were also ripped loose from the trailer tongue.
later Andy says this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
Load equalizing hitch platforms and/or receivers are bolted to the tow vehicle.

Welding went out many years ago.

I would suggest that the loss of control was possibly due to the platform coming loose from the tow vehicles frame.

Andy
I see a repeat trend in some of these reports where "sway" magically pops out of no where. Or the drivers keep reporting suddenly experiencing sway. Then proceeding to have an accident. #1 above really seems to point to it. Although it could be argued that #2 lead to #1.

It's funny in that thread how fast everyone is to start arguing about Tow Vehicle.

I wonder how much is driver error and less equipment.

Being a contractor for a period of time and learning about tactical driving taught me that a lot of things you do in instinct can actually make the situation worse.

I suspect that if we could determine driver error or misstep in these situations that it would out weight equipment failure or mis-use.

At the end of the day, all the fancy stuff setup properly won't help a bad driver.
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Old 08-18-2014, 08:53 PM   #53
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I agree, my sense is that drivers often react wrongly and make the situation worse. Most of us aren't professional drivers after all. And most of us probably haven't had formal training in towing.

How to react to swaying is a prime example. My recent reading on controlling sway makes it clear what the proper response is: accelerate gently and manually engage the trailer brakes. Having driven 60's era Porsches on the track, this makes total sense to me. It seems to me that a sway is a type of oversteer - in some cases the trailer goes by you. Something I'm intimately familiar with.

Nothing oversteers like a Porsche from the 60's, not even a Corvair. After driving them in a spirited manner for a while you learn to take advantage of it. For example, at Portland International Raceway I could pretty much throttle steer through the chicane. With oversteer if you lift the throttle in a sharp turn it causes the rear end to kick out. You correct it by accelerating.

Seems to be the same with trailer sway (except for the taking advantage of it part). I imagine if you have never practiced, it's a basic reflex to brake, which just exaberates the situation. Some folks on another forum say that it's a good idea to practice. Go out on a remote road and at a slow speed pretend there's a sway and gently accelerate and turn up the trailer braking with the controller. One point they made is be sure to have the controller where you can easily reach it. I intend to practice this - after I move my brake controller to a more easily accessible spot. I hoping it will be easy for me to learn with so much seat time in the old Porsches.

This is so important to know that I'm surprised an Airstream dealer would release a trailer to anyone without teaching it. I've never bought a new AS - do they give buyers any information on safety? If not, they're probably worried about liability.

Poppy
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:12 PM   #54
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I have a bit of experience with sway, I would rather take my foot off the gas and apply the trailer brakes as gently as circumstances allow.

I know opinions differ, but the first thing I want to do when I encounter sway is to slow down, the last thing I want to do is speed up.
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:22 PM   #55
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I am not an expert towing an Airstream.

I want to be very careful about giving advice here as I'm not a professional and I have limited experience (20 years of towing large boats, a year and 5,000 miles towing an AS). What I'm passing on is what I read. Please feel free to correct or contradict me.

Your point is well taken. What I think I have learned is that it's important not to brake the TV and to brake the trailer.

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Old 08-18-2014, 10:15 PM   #56
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I was always taught to apply a little throttle at same time apply trailer brakes, this tends to correct sway but if let off gas creates problem with trying to correct sway. I have done this many times with tandem axles , from 14 ft. to 28 ft. flat bed trailers that were loaded wrong that I did not load, now I load or will not take load to haul plus other equipment loaded on trailer. Others will argue no gas just trailer. I have been driving 65 yrs. racing for 70 yrs. so have some exp.
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