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Old 10-28-2015, 07:20 AM   #1
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Beware of staged collisions

If you are not yet well-versed in the art of staged collisions, I recommend that you familiarize yourself with them so that you can be mentally prepared if any such attempt ever happens to you.

Remember, both "Mercedes" and "Airstream" scream "money" to criminals, as that other recent thread on the St. Louis break-in confirmed. Here is a good summary from AAA Texas, and there are additional sources of information on the internet.

https://www.texas.aaa.com/home/autom...ollisions.html

Part of me can't believe I am writing this, but my husband and I were the target of a "swoop and squat" attempt on IH-45 the weekend before last. Why anyone would attempt something so dangerous as to take down a nine thousand pound vehicle at high speed is beyond my comprehension, but we are not talking about rational actors here. I have been driving on Houston freeways for 25 years, and I have seen *everything* in the way of accidental screw-ups. I don't believe this was accidental. Perched up high in the driver's seat, I saw the other driver's head movements, I saw him calculate. My husband was in the passenger seat and was looking at his iPhone at the time. He didn't observe the precursor moments - he describes his view as, "I just saw him come across [into our lane], and it was the craziest thing I've ever seen."

The T1N Sprinter has one - and ONLY one - evasive maneuver available to it: Very hard straight-line braking. That I did, leaning on the horn in a way that signaled to surrounding drivers that this was no ordinary freeway conflict. The crash was avoided (and luckily there was no one on my tail) and my first words to my husband were, "Get his plate! Get his plate!" but he fled so quickly that we could not, because a Sprinter is not physically capable of giving chase.

Staged collisions are becoming more common - we had one just yesterday near our home in League City and it also took place on IH-45. According to local police, that guy also used "swoop and squat", causing a 19-year-old female driver to crash into him. He then beat her about the head and drove off in her damaged car.

Our incident has me re-thinking the possibility of air horn as a secondary measure. When I'm in the Houston core, I always drive with one hand on the horn anyway. If I had an air horn with a separate actuator, I could resort to it in extraordinary defensive situations such as that one.

I have also used a dash cam intermittently in both of my vehicles. The problem is that the technology is either really expensive or really unreliable (or both). Most of it is cheap electronic crap from China and they tend to brick without apparent cause or warning, making them useless. I have resolved to move dash cam functionality higher on my list of priorities.

From the Texas AAA page linked above: "Know if you're at risk. Since theyíre seeking a payout, scammers may target you if youíre driving a luxury or commercial vehicle, which may have more insurance coverage."
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Old 10-28-2015, 07:30 AM   #2
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Yikes!


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Old 10-28-2015, 07:59 AM   #3
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You have a late model tow vehicle, towing a late model Airstream. The bed of the truck is full of "stuff". You are a 100K target for thieves. We never leave our rig unattended when we make a pit stop.


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Old 10-28-2015, 08:06 AM   #4
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Staged Accidents

Florida's Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has a website explaining some common staged accident techniques. Checkout the following:
Protect Yourself Against Staged Crashes - Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

I have no personal experience with staged vehicle accidents, but I understand it's a problem in South Florida, particularly in the Miami Metropolitan Area. It's a Jungle Out There, Stay Safe
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Old 10-28-2015, 08:26 AM   #5
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Mean streets of Los Angeles

The mean streets of Los angeles have been doing this for 30 or more years. Some work in pairs. One car will pull in front of you and drive fine for a mile, then his friend will cut him off to make him slam on the brakes. If your traveling too close you'll rearend the car. Even if their's little damage to the car. They always claim neck injury, which is hard not to prove. Rather than fight, the Insurance pays. Then your Insurance doubles. I even had pictures of minor damage. No police report due to minor damage...a small dent on the metal bumper. I was driving a 1970 chevy 3/4 p.u. with drum brakes, which sucked compared to a light car with disc brakes. Lesson learned... buy vehicles with disc brakes, and drive with three seconds apart even if the vehicle slows down to set you up. No police report= nothing on your driving record. You'll need to know this if you want Insurance companies to return phone calls. Two years later, I moved to the east. I tell everyone the weather may be colder, but the people are warmer. It's been 20yrs and had no desire to go back. Be careful and leave plenty of space in front of you. It's better to arrive late than never.
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Old 10-28-2015, 08:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
...I have also used a dash cam intermittently in both of my vehicles. The problem is that the technology is either really expensive or really unreliable (or both). Most of it is cheap electronic crap from China and they tend to brick without apparent cause or warning, making them useless. I have resolved to move dash cam functionality higher on my list of priorities. ...
"
I've tried a few dash cams and came up with the same conclusion.

But then I've spend some money and bought a BlackVue DR530W 2-CH HD/HD two years ago.
With 400 CAD quite expensive but so far so good.

A dash cam is something I'd highly recommend. For many reasons.

so long
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Old 10-28-2015, 09:05 AM   #7
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I second that motion. My Blackvue has worked for three years without a hiccup.

Highly recommend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by j-ten-ner View Post
I've tried a few dash cams and came up with the same conclusion.

But then I've spend some money and bought a BlackVue DR530W 2-CH HD/HD two years ago.
With 400 CAD quite expensive but so far so good.

A dash cam is something I'd highly recommend. For many reasons.

so long
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Old 10-28-2015, 09:18 AM   #8
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I posted a thread on this very forum about Dashcams. Mine is still going strong, with no issues. Well over a year now.
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Old 10-28-2015, 09:20 AM   #9
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Happened to me in 1979.. totaled a new car with 600 miles..

The guy I hit had experience with the insurance Co's and told me.. "Hey, nothing personal, it's just the insurance money I want."

I told my insurance what the guy said.. they said "cheaper to just pay it out than RISK a court trial"

Complicity?
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Old 10-28-2015, 09:43 AM   #10
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an example of the insurance company "SELLING OUT" their client. Too many "Land Sharks" (not beer) lawyers out for a killing.
I cringe at all the ads from lawyer on television today. They "plant" the idea.
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Old 10-28-2015, 10:54 AM   #11
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What country are you in?

Really? I know these "things" happen, but how often and where? Yes, various DOT's will post warnings, which is good, but have you read the side effects for baby aspirin? Read the State Department warnings for travel overseas and you'll never leave the country! Worry about your own driving habits, your own eating habits, act accordingly, you may live a lot longer!
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Old 10-28-2015, 12:21 PM   #12
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This sort of thing is why I had to take a defensive driving course every three years when I worked for the Government. Now that I'm retired, I'm still planning to go online and take defensive driving refreshers every few years, and more importantly put into practice what I learn.

Defensive driving is not perfect protection against other drivers, but it does help. The cornerstone of any defensive driving program is: "Never put yourself in a position where you're at the mercy of another driver's brakes." That applies not only to not relying on the other driver to stop in time, but also not relying on the other driver to not stop.
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Old 10-28-2015, 01:01 PM   #13
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cwf and Airtandem,

To your points about insurance companies, when your carrier defends you in a trial, they are putting their assets and yours at risk. If the judge or jury returns a verdict in excess of the limits you chose when you purchased your insurance, the balance is on you.
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Old 10-28-2015, 01:37 PM   #14
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Just chiming in--also a former victim of "squat and swoop"--also in Los Angeles. In this case, I was driving a high end two seater, and there were two other cars involved. One was directly in front, with one guy sitting in the back seat. The other was alternatively boxing me in in the adjacent lane, and then allowing an opening so that I could pass the slow moving vehicle ahead. I was nailed as I accelerated to pass--the guy in the back seat of the car in front watched me as I accelerated and then the car next to me closed the slot, forcing me to stay in the lane. Simultaneously, the driver in the beater car ahead stood on his brakes so hard that the rear end of his car lifted into the air. Slamming on my brakes just a hair too late, the hood of my car actually went under the car in front--just by 8-12 inches, but enough to total the front of my car since it was not a bumper-to bumper contact. Unaware until later reflection of the setup, I pulled over to the side of the freeway. The driver of the car approached me as the backseat guy walked around behind me in a very dark area. He asked for $100, which fortunately I was carrying as emergency funds. I suggested that we just report it to insurance companies, but then decided that I was in a dangerous situation. The insurance company explained that this was common, and I was smart to deliver, as I probably would have been beaten and had my wallet stolen otherwise. A bit over $10,000 in damage to get $100 bucks into these guys hands.

With our bigger rigs, the stopping distance is obviously much longer. Much wiser now, we always leave very large stopping zones in front of us, directly proportional to speed and weighted for our weight and size.
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Old 10-28-2015, 02:33 PM   #15
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Ever thought about a 45. A Colt .45 Cal ACP will get bad guys attention fast. I know, I just opened a fire storm. Caution in SC, you never know who is legally armed and carrying.
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Old 10-28-2015, 03:26 PM   #16
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Ever thought about a 45. A Colt .45 Cal ACP will get bad guys attention fast. I know, I just opened a fire storm. Caution in SC, you never know who is legally armed and carrying.
You've seen way too many action/adventure movies if you think for even a moment that carrying a firearm will help prevent vehicular accidents.
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Old 10-28-2015, 03:35 PM   #17
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Protagonist can you point us toward a couple of these courses you reference?
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Old 10-28-2015, 03:40 PM   #18
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Ever thought about a 45. A Colt .45 Cal ACP will get bad guys attention fast. I know, I just opened a fire storm. Caution in SC, you never know who is legally armed and carrying.
Ditto Kansas.
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Old 10-28-2015, 03:42 PM   #19
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Protagonist can you point us toward a couple of these courses you reference?
The National Safety Council-certified courses are generally good. And your insurance company may offer you a discount for taking them. Be sure to ask your agent.

Find a Driver Safety Course
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Old 10-28-2015, 04:27 PM   #20
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I also drive in the Houston area. This very thing happen to me. I was on I45 when a van full of people moved over 4 lanes and slammed on his brakes. When I saw him coming over I slowed down and was able to slammed on my brakes in time to stop and not hit him. The poor guy in the truck behind me did not have a chance and hit me. All 3 of us pulled over and the guy in the van jumped out and grabbed his neck. The van was full of people. Then I delivered the news to the van driver that I never hit the van.
He got down and ran his hand all over his bumper. The truck that hit me turned out to be a fire chief for the Houston Fire Department. Once the van driver saw the chief they jumped in their van and drove off, Just as the police pulled in behind the fire chief. Although I thought I was ok I ended up with a concussion and 2 weeks in bed.
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