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Old 04-10-2003, 09:08 PM   #15
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Hi 59Toaster, your story reinforces my theorys about why my modified-for-offroad Bronco should never pull my minuet (which I still am looking for). What an adventure you had, and with such a tiny trailer too. BTW, I've been in a rollover, no trailers involved, but black ice was, and it's sure no fun. That moment when you realize it's inevitable and you've got to just hold on...well, I'd do darn near anything to avoid going through that again!

You guys are scaring the crap out of me with all these towing horror stories. Maybe I should look for a nice motorhome instead. But really, I think another thing to consider is #1, there is always the potential for an accident to happen, no matter how carefull we are to prepare in every way we can think of, and #2, although an accident may happen, that doesn't necessarily mean the absolute worse case scenario will occur. After all, these people rolled their rig and pretty much walked away. There really is a lot of dumb luck involved. You know there are people out there towing with rigs others consider unsafe who have been doing it for years and may continue for years more and never have an accident (I think about this everytime I see some idiot towing a disabled car down the freeway with a frayed rope - everytime they get away with it it just encourages them to do it again and tell their buddies 'hey I do it all the time, never had a problem'). I guess you just have to do the best you know how and hope for the best.
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Old 04-10-2003, 09:19 PM   #16
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I had only 1 incident in 12 years. Was towing my 74 Overlander with a properly equipped F150. Heading for Madison from Milwaukee on I-94 after dark for a weekend with friends. Traveling alone no other cars in sight, and to my suprize there is a deer in my lane!!!!!!!!! I change lanes, I had plenty of room to make the change without any extreme moves. It looks like I will miss the deer, but just as I get to it what does it do??? It jumps in front of my 5 month old truck! I hit it at 50 MPH or so. Of course my first reaction was to Jam on the brakes, I locked the trailer tires and the front tires on the truck. As I felt the trailer begin to break loose I decided in a moment of clarity to just take my foot off the brakes and the whole thing straightend out and I was able to bring the rig to a controlled stop on the shoulder.

There was nothing left of the deer to speak of, the cop said I could have it if I wanted to use a spoon and a bowl to pick it up

I also lost the use of my truck for 3 weeks while the shop fixed 5K worth of front end damage. After that I tend to stay with a pack of other cars when I tow at night.
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Old 04-10-2003, 09:37 PM   #17
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Quote:
Other moral of the story.....Taking out the other vehicle that cause the problem is sometimes the best alternataive.
Back when I was in my mid 20's, I was driving 18 wheeler, hauling dry sand in an "air can". I was driving on a 4 lane undivided road, approaching an intersection, when a car pulled out in front of me. I swerved to avoid the car, and hit another that was attempting to pass me at the same time. Even though the driver I hit saw what happened and verified my story, I STILL GOT CITED. The woman I hit asked the officer not to cite me due to circumstances, but he refused. He told me that if this ever happens again, "get a piece of the guy that caused it". Well, a year or so later, I did. A Lincoln Stretch Limo is no match for an 80,000 Lb. Mack truck. When you are in a truck that big, and hit a car you don't feel a thing.

After reading and studying this thread, I am starting to think that my next truck will be a Volvo VNL610, or Mack CH612.
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Old 04-10-2003, 10:09 PM   #18
 
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59toaster I just noticed the picture of your "little weekend set up".
This brings back memories.

Years ago we had an old Appache pop-up, which soon stopped popping after a bad storm. We put heavier springs and had a custom pickup camper cap made to fit (no windows though). We used it for years as a cargo trailer. Towing it first with a 1980 Peugeot 504 diesel waggon, and then a 4X4 Toyota cargo van. We loved this rig. Except we ended up having to sleep too many nights in the Toyota seats (made for skinny Japanese butts).
That's when we decided we where getting too old for that and needed a real trailer. But we loved that little cargo trailer. We know it moved to California (from Philadelphia).
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Old 04-10-2003, 10:43 PM   #19
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Here is the link to the story and discussion

...

There is only one thing that would reduce the carnage: no braking, close our eyes and keep the course. If we try to avoid some moron who did a dangerous maneuver, and if we change lane ourselves, we will most certainly run into innocent people. A car or a truck. Either case, it's not going to be pretty.

femuse,

I drove on that part of I-95 for years. The Beltway is even worse. It is a rush hour almost every hour. Most of the time, de facto, there is no speed limit at all on there. One of the most dangerous places in the country. Avoid going there during the day if you can. I don't even see myself driving there with my 22' towing vehicle and 32' Airstream. The exits you refer to are nightmarish. Not enough time to move over.


zduke4x,

Incredible what all that momentum will do. Mass times velocity means there is just no way to quickly stop 3-4 tons.

I am happy with my tow vehicle. It errs on the side of "too much" rather than "too little".


Other moral of the story.....Taking out the other vehicle that cause the problem is sometimes the best alternataive. Suburban would have still been totaled but the camper may not have been. Only reasons I wouldnt is somebody going in opposite direction had crossed the line or children in other vehicle. Then I might take my chances with an out of control trailer.

59toaster,

Sadly, you may be right. Drastic movements with large, heavy and long units does not make me optimistic about my longevity. Here is the South-East, there is a problem with deer. Many roll-overs when people try to miss deer which run into their vehicles. Deaths even. I don't attempt to maneuver the vehicle now, just keep driving straight. I have not had a deer collision but it seems nearly everyone has - and damage to your car is the optimistic outcome. My vehicles are not total beaters but are worth far less than medical bills.
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Old 04-10-2003, 11:29 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by ipso_facto
Drastic movements with large, heavy and long units does not make me optimistic about my longevity. Here is the South-East, there is a problem with deer. Many roll-overs when people try to miss deer which run into their vehicles. Deaths even. I don't attempt to maneuver the vehicle now, just keep driving straight.
One of my friends died in Texas, trying to miss a deer, about 20 years ago. He was driving his car home from college one night, traveling from Austin to Kerrville, and swerved to avoid a deer. Hit a tree head on at 70 mph.

Sadly, in such cases, the choice is often kill or be killed. Never an easy choice, especially in a split-second situation. Our natural reaction is to avoid a collision, but if we think about it any one of us would sacrifice a deer to save ourselves and our loved ones. The equation is more complicated when you see a car full of people (maybe including children) pull a stupid stunt in front of you, and you have only 1/4 second to react.

You don't have time to think the situation through, so your instincts take over. This is where practice pays off. But... there is no way to practice what you'll do if some doofus in an '85 Chevy Citation with three unbelted kids in the back seat turns left in front of you while you're doing 55 mph down a two-lane country road.

Deer = roadkill. Three children =

Too late. Anything you do is wrong (apologies to Firesign Theatre).

Geez. I'm depressing myself. "He's no fun. He fell right over." (Another Firesign Theatre reference.)
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Old 04-10-2003, 11:51 PM   #21
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Safety chains

Quote:
One more thing, the forged steel hooks on the ends of our safety chains both snapped in two.
Safety chains are a topic I haven't seen discussed in the forums.
From what I have seen in campgrounds and on the road, many people don't even know that the chains should be criss-crossed under the tongue to prevent the tongue from dropping down and digging into the roadway, breaking the safety chains, and flipping over, possibly into the tow vehicle or other vehicles.
I've also seen heavy utility trailers with "dog leash" chains.
Here are a couple links that give helpful advice on chains and other towing safety:

http://www.rvsafety.com/TripTips.htm

http://www.ibiblio.org/rdu/a-trailr.html
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Old 04-11-2003, 12:06 PM   #22
 
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Quote:
'85 Chevy Citation with three unbelted kids in the back seat
If you think this is bad: my favorite - dogs and kids standing in the back of pick-up trucks !!!! Ilegal? Do you think they care? You are expecting any second to see one of them fall on the road. Keep your distance, for sure. But, isn't that a bit distracting ???

On a lighter note: the problem with deer.

We are always worried about deer (traveling at night I-81 S. NY State one year, a dead one every mile or so). But think about hitting a moose !!!

We vend a Blue Grass festivals. Always do one or two in Maine. The road signs "Moose crossing" is not a joke. We have never seen one, but one year one of the band had an encounter between a moose and their bus. News travel fast in the business: the following week, another band presented the driver with a mounted moose head inscribed with his name as "great moose hunter".
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Old 04-12-2003, 01:20 AM   #23
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A note on the deer problem - HONK ! It's never failed us yet, and what would you have to lose anyway? The first time it happened it was a last ditch effort. Rounding a curve, late at night, we see a deer snooping around in the right hand lane of the x-way- with a bunch of it's buddys off the road side. Pulling a loaded snowmobile trailer, we changed lanes only to have the deer change lanes also. With two children in the back seat and nothing left to do I said, "HONK !!" Let me tell you, laying on the horn works. Mr. Deer looked like a cartoon character. He turned back and began to run, his hind legs just-a- spinnin' and hooves-a-slippin'. Finally he got traction and was out of the away just in the nick. I've even used the HONK method in certain wooded areas at night just in case.

I am glad our fellow A/S'ers made it out as safely as they did. Very sobering thoughts.
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Old 04-12-2003, 07:40 AM   #24
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preventable acidents

most of what has been posted here is indeed thought provoking and good advise...I would like to comment that statistics tell us that 90 - 95% of all "accidents" are preventable by the actions we take which lead us up the possible situation in which an accident could occur. What I mean is...experience, training, judgement, understanding of the physics involved in what you are doing or attempting to do, environment...I know that for myself, when I'm driving in our MH, car, truck or motorcycle...I analize the circumstances and variables in which I am in; whether it be sunny cool day, sunny hot day...clear night on country road -foggy night on interstate...I must adjust my actions (AND SCHEDULE) to the conditions and equipment I have at hand.

AND yes, I do have to constantly remind myself to SLOW down to enjoy the journey...the destination is just a part of it.
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Old 04-12-2003, 10:58 AM   #25
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Re: preventable acidents

Quote:
Originally posted by zamboni
most of what has been posted here is indeed thought provoking and good advise...I would like to comment that statistics tell us that 90 - 95% of all "accidents" are preventable by the actions we take which lead us up the possible situation in which an accident could occur. What I mean is...experience, training, judgement, understanding of the physics involved in what you are doing or attempting to do, environment...I know that for myself, when I'm driving in our MH, car, truck or motorcycle...I analize the circumstances and variables in which I am in; whether it be sunny cool day, sunny hot day...clear night on country road -foggy night on interstate...I must adjust my actions (AND SCHEDULE) to the conditions and equipment I have at hand.

AND yes, I do have to constantly remind myself to SLOW down to enjoy the journey...the destination is just a part of it.
Your reading to much into those statistics. Those statistics are for the person that was the cause of the wreck and not the victim of the other drivers poor judgment.
Example: Peson blows a redlight and T bones another car...yep it was prevetable by the person who ran the red light caused the wreck but not the person who was T boned.

Traffic statistics are very misleading. Take "Speed" for example. On most tickets if they do a investigation of an accident and measure the skid marks and find a car was say 5mph over the speed limit that box get's checked. Now say your driving down a two lane at 50mph in a 45mpg zone. Some shmuck blows a stops sign and hits you. You lock it up and leave down "Xft" of skid markes. The cops figure out you were doing 50mph. That box gets checked. Were you at fault? NO. 99% chance you were not even sited because it was clearly the other persons fault. They found out the speed hours after they sent you home. The accident report clearly shows they other drive failed to yeild right of way and they were listed as the causing driver.

Now that accident report gets entered into the data base and that "Speed" box is checked. Now the statistics show speed involved even though the vehicle that was 5mph over was not the cause of the wreck. The sad thing is now if somebody wants to use those statistics they use them as a case to lower the speed limits.

The above information and examples are from Car&Driver and one of their writers who researched this after being in a simular accident after seeing the NHTA "statistics" and wondering where those came from. Kind of misleading when you really know where they came from. Take them with a grain of salt.
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Old 04-12-2003, 11:15 AM   #26
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preventable accidents...

I have read this thread with great interest. We've had our share of accidents over the years, but each one has been our fault (either my wife or mine) with the exception of the deer that plunged headlong down a cut at the side of the road and t-boned our SUV some years ago. The key to moving ANY vehicle or set of vehicles down the road safely is the two-second rule. Always make sure you have AT LEAST two seconds between you and the next closest hazard. I know, you have folks cut you off, come in from side roads, etc. etc., but if you recognize and treat them as threats two seconds out, you'll have a much better opportunity to practice collision avoidance. The equation is: speed control plus distance equals collision avoidance.

I have driven our trailers and motorhome through Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, and a host of other large cities at various times over the years, so I'm well acquainted with the perils of towing in heavy traffic at speed. If you assume that everyone else driving around you is both drunk and blind and give them as much berth as possible, you reduce greatly the chances of having to make a panic stop.

With deer, you need to watch at least two seconds ahead for glowing eyes and movement in the ditches. If the deer isn't committed to moving away from the traffic lanes, begin slowing until you can either maneuver around it safely, or it commits to moving in a safe direction. You won't see them all, but you'll be amazed at how many you see when you start looking.

Sorry I was so wordy, and I'm sure this isn't new to anyone, but it always helps to be reminded...

Drive Defensively!
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Old 04-12-2003, 02:08 PM   #27
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The key to moving ANY vehicle or set of vehicles down the road safely is the two-second rule.

I fully agree. I have not towed my A/S extensively. No surprises thus far. Momentum is mass times velocity and when you have a 2.5 ton towing vehicle and a 3.5 ton trailer behind it that's 6 tons - all going 55-65 miles per hour and it is not easy to stop and difficult control. The laws of physics apply, rather brutally at times.
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Old 04-12-2003, 03:18 PM   #28
 
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Quote:
it is not easy to stop and difficult control. The laws of physics apply, rather brutally at times.
Right, that's the punch line. Perfect summary.

After towing AS for about 90,000 miles with a 1 ton van, well within all the accepted criteria for a safe combo (long wheel base, 454 engine,..), we came to the conclusion that there is no such thing as "too safe", aka "better safe than sorry" or "no, it's not overkilled", something like that. (there is a guy on another forum with a 25' AS & a bigger truck than ours. He compared his rig to "hammering thumb tacks with a sledge hammer")

I cannot of course recommand that everybody takes the route we took in upgrading our tow vehicle (even though more MDT are used now for towing 5th wheel & even AS), but it would be nice if more people got a good grasp of what they are up to and stop all the nonsense like I read last month on this forum "We are Airstreamers, so, of course we all have safe rigs, not like .......others........etc....b/s.....". This type of BS is pretty dangerous in my opinion as too many people start to believe it.

This started as > The ultimate disaster - Airstream rollover.

Ultimate? I can think of a few other "ultimate".
Who would like to be broadsided by a semi after a dangerous lane change ?
Or fall over a guard rail after a brake failure? (brake failures happen. The best brake controller and Hensley Hitch will not save your butt here).

re-summary: there is no subsitute for a tow vehicle able to stop the whole rig if something happen to the trailer (brake failure, trailer gets dettached,.....)

This of course will never happen in the perfect make believe world where too many people seem to live, full of beautiful silvery dreams.

Am I getting too preachy here again? A bit too long ?

I won't apologize though. If only one person listen, 2 invaluable lives could be safe: mine & Mike's.
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