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Old 11-28-2011, 06:01 PM   #15
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How close where you behind the two cars in front of you
At 15 mph you did 6.6 meter per second.
a normal reaction time is 1 sec.
The minimum for a car to decelerate is 5,2 m/s2
So from 15 mph to a full stop is about 1.2 sec
so incl the 1 sec reaction time there is a distance of 14 meters.
By this numbers there are 3 options

Your brakes are not working as they should.
You where way to close to the cars in front of you.
Your reaction time is way more than 1 sec.
Most people don't keep enough distance
Nobody got hurt this tme and maby a good lessol learned
KEEEP DISTANCE
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Old 11-28-2011, 06:21 PM   #16
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There's a reason they are called "ACCIDENTS". Sometimes even when you do things right #@&$ happens. Hope noone was injured, property can be fixed/ replaced. As painfull as it is it just happens.


See ya on the road sometime.
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:33 AM   #17
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I always ask questions to get real answers, not confirmations, so thank-you all.

Answers first - I keep a car length distance routinely, as I am a veteran biker. My distance was closed by the cars who thought the far right lane was clear. It was impossible to keep that open distance. Drivers took my open distance as an invitation to close it.

Second, my reaction times are probably faster than average as a practicing pilot.

And last, when I applied the brakes, it was on standing water in the road, on a bridge. The brakes did not grab. I hydroplaned into the car in front of me.

A few intriguing thoughts - "manually applying the trailer brakes" - is that like deploying the handbrake on a plane? Are you talking about rolling the wheel tighter on the brake box?

I wonder what the stopping distance is on pavement at 10,000 from 10-15 mph with an unmoving object in front of you? Think I'll google that.
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:36 AM   #18
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I think my vote is "brakes weren't working as they should". There was no braking action on the pavement - none. Naturally, that removes personal responsibility and I'd certainly have a good motive to conclude that but I don't think taking into account a perfect safety record over 25 years in cars, motorcycles and planes shows poor driving practices.

Think nonetheless I'll take the rig to a large parking lot and practice a little. Thanks again ya'll.
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:39 AM   #19
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Rem, you had me at "stopping distance". That is stopping distance for a car. You are good with this stuff, so help me out here. What about 10,000 lb. stopping distance on a wet surface? What percentage of stopping time/distance would you add?
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Old 11-29-2011, 12:15 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eaglemate View Post
I think my vote is "brakes weren't working as they should". There was no braking action on the pavement - none. Naturally, that removes personal responsibility and I'd certainly have a good motive to conclude that but I don't think taking into account a perfect safety record over 25 years in cars, motorcycles and planes shows poor driving practices.
You said that you hydroplaned - that implies excessive speed given the conditions. (Technically, they probably locked up and slid on the wet pavement, instead of hydroplaning, but the end result is basically the same.)

Like I said before, I'm not trying to be nasty. I've been where you are and understand how you feel. I still think I was going a reasonable speed (55mph, in a 55mph zone, in good weather) when I hit that other vehicle. I only misjudged the stopping distance by a few feet. I went 19+ years and a couple hundred thousand miles before my first at-fault accident. I was pretty unhappy with myself.
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Old 11-29-2011, 02:06 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eaglemate View Post
I think my vote is "brakes weren't working as they should". There was no braking action on the pavement - none. Naturally, that removes personal responsibility and I'd certainly have a good motive to conclude that but I don't think taking into account a perfect safety record over 25 years in cars, motorcycles and planes shows poor driving practices.

Think nonetheless I'll take the rig to a large parking lot and practice a little. Thanks again ya'll.
First, glad that you're OK. That's the most important thing.

However, I don't see that the brakes weren't working as they should completely removes personal responsibility. It's your responsibility to see that things are working correctly. Given that, I realize that mechanical failure can occur at any time.

It has been my understanding that whenever you (me, or anyone) hit someone else in the rear, it is your fault. You were not allowing adequate distance to control your vehicle. After all, we need to be able to stop when required for safety reasons, such as being stopped by the police because of an accident, and still be safe from someone hitting us in the rear.

But, as always, things happen in real life. I'm just glad we're talking about it online instead of reading about a tragedy. Given your record, you're probably good for another 25 years now.

As far as hitting the trailer brakes manually, it might have helped. Given how fast it happened, though, I doubt if anyone could have reached up and found the manual control in time.
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Old 11-30-2011, 07:23 AM   #22
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Eaglemate

Some additional comments:

1. You did not hydroplane. This is not possible at 10-15 mph. A good guideline for the hydroplaning speed is 10 times the square root of the tire pressure.

2. You may have a pristine driving record with cars, bikes and airplanes, but towing a trailer is a whole new ballgame. I suspect you don't have much experience towing a trailer. Like everything else, you will get better at it with experience.

3. I do believe riding a mc is very helpful though as you have to drive very defensively to survive. This skill is completely transferable.

4. I like dznf0g's take on driving while towing.

5. I am sure the dialog on this thread has been helpful to all the readers. Kind of reminds me of the "pilot error" column that I used to read in a flying magazine when I was taking flying lessons.

Thanks for the learning experience.

Dan
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Old 11-30-2011, 07:46 AM   #23
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Re-reading your last post, what you thought was hydroplaning was probably you sliding into the vehicle because your brakes had locked up. As you know sliding friction is not as good as rolling friction. I suspect your tv has antilock brakes, so the sliding would have been from your trailer brakes locking up. This would indicate that your trailer brakes had adequate braking capacity and that you were probably going too fast for the conditions and locked up the trailer brakes in your attempt to stop quickly.

Did you notice if your trailer had slid to the right or left of your tv, or was it still precisely behind the tv?

Dan
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:16 AM   #24
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Yes, perhaps hydroplane is the incorrect word. The brakes locked up.

Dan, the trailer did not swerve. It was right behind.

Now, about "hitting someone in the rear end and fault". This is not always the fault of the rear vehicle. I am a human factors trial specialist, and have worked two legal cases wherein the interstate vehicle is not meeting the minimum speed on the interstate under the posted state statutes. The fault was attributed to the slower/stopped vehicle under the premise that the expectation is that traffic is moving.

Example: Tractor trailer hits small truck travelling 35 MPH with furniture in the rear of the truck on the interstate. Fault is assigned to the smaller, slower moving vehicle under statute law.

While it is assumed the theory of "see and avoid" applies, extending to absolute personal responsibility, the law recognizes there are certain circumstances where an unnecessary hazard has been created so that every precaution would not have resulted in a different outcome and the fault therein lies with the vehicle creating the hazard, regardless of the reasonableness of the reduced/stopped speed.

Translation: Sometimes a person does something so ill-advised that in theory, no evasive action would have resulted in a different outcome.
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:20 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TouringDan View Post
Eaglemate

Some additional comments:

1. You did not hydroplane. This is not possible at 10-15 mph. A good guideline for the hydroplaning speed is 10 times the square root of the tire pressure.

Dan
not completely correct. not tire pressure, but pressure on the tire is how the calculation is done. something light in weight will hydroplane easier than something heavy.

there are other types of hydroplaning. check this out: Aquaplaning - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:22 AM   #26
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Condoluminum, thank-you for this. What it boils down to is plain old physics. On wet pavement, the momentum of a heavy, moving vehicle (whether 10 or 15 mph) moving onto a vehicle stopped in the road that suddenly appears (from swerving cars out of the line of sight), precludes stoppage.
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:29 AM   #27
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Legalities aside the wreck could have been prevented by being more than one car length behind the car in front of you. If for some reason you cannot maintain that distance slow down or stop till you can.

I had a wreck in my Ranger in the rain a few years back. I was not pulling a trailer but my truck was empty and one of my rear tires had just been patched and it had way too much air in it and no traction. I changed lanes to avoid a slow moving vehicle and started to fish tail. I was not able to recover and ended up yawing back and forth so bad that my front bumper caved in the door of the vehicle I just passed but I was still in my lane. I finally applied the brakes and slid off the side of the road coming just shy of going off the mountain. There was also a coating of oil on the road that made it real slick.

What did I learn, slow down and pay attention. Apply the brakes sooner when in a similar situation before it got to the point it did. Make sure all my tires have the proper inflation. There were contibuting circumstances but it was my fault. I screwed up. There are lots of times I avoided accidents by paying attention. Yes maybe it was the other guy's fault but does it matter. You are still out time and money not to mention misery involved in dealing with all the associated BS.


Perry
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:44 AM   #28
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Surely the Mercedes is not at fault here. Did you get a ticket? If so, for what? Will the insurance companies just resolve the issue and decide who is going to pay for what?
There seems to be the perception that if one drives perfectly there will be no collisions. But the problem is that drivers (and policemen) if I see where this could be headed here are not perfect, and often only have a partial grasp of what is happening while they are making immediate decisions.
Most accidents are probably avoidable in hindsight or in a computer simulation. It is good to try to be as safe as possible.

But the decision to drive (and especially, I think, to tow) also is a decision to expose oneself to the possibility that one may be involved in or cause an accident that injures other parties.
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