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Toyhaulers + excessive speed = bad news

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I know this is like saying "don't run with scissors". All of you who pull toyhaulers know this......but a guy I saw on I-15 this afternoon who clearly did not get the memo, and darn near killed himself and a few others as a result.

Coming down the Cajon pass on I-15, near the Y at the bottom, I'm doing 70+mph in the middle lane and am behind a diesel pusher towing a large trailer. Along comes a guy in the fast lane blowing by me (i.e., 75+), driving a pickup and towing a big toyhauler. As he passes me and pulls alongside the RV in front of me, his trailer starts to sway significantly. It bumps into the RV and trailer in front of me, causing that guy to swerve hard into the far right hand lane. Thankfully, it was empty. I'm hard on the brakes with a front row seat as Mr. out of control jackknifes the toyhauler, spins a full 180 at 60+mph and luckily slams broadside into the center median. I say luckily because had he not hit the median the way he did, I'm sure he would have rolled the truck and trailer several times. The median stopped the spin and forced him to just skid backwards.

Myself and a bunch of other cars had to pull over to check our shorts and calm down. Amazingly, there were no serious injuries and the only damage was to the guy's truck and trailer.

I only tow a trailer with bikes, but learned a valuable lesson today. Slow down! Once this guy got hit with sway, he had no chance to save the situation. It was only about 5 seconds from the beginning of sway to being 100% out of control at speed. I'm not sure what can be done to prevent this situation, except the obvious.....which is to drive slower.

R

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I know this is like saying "don't run with scissors". All of you who pull toyhaulers know this......but a guy I saw on I-15 this afternoon who clearly did not get the memo, and darn near killed himself and a few others as a result.

Coming down the Cajon pass on I-15, near the Y at the bottom, I'm doing 70+mph in the middle lane and am behind a diesel pusher towing a large trailer. Along comes a guy in the fast lane blowing by me (i.e., 75+), driving a pickup and towing a big toyhauler. As he passes me and pulls alongside the RV in front of me, his trailer starts to sway significantly. It bumps into the RV and trailer in front of me, causing that guy to swerve hard into the far right hand lane. Thankfully, it was empty. I'm hard on the brakes with a front row seat as Mr. out of control jackknifes the toyhauler, spins a full 180 at 60+mph and luckily slams broadside into the center median. I say luckily because had he not hit the median the way he did, I'm sure he would have rolled the truck and trailer several times. The median stopped the spin and forced him to just skid backwards.

Myself and a bunch of other cars had to pull over to check our shorts and calm down. Amazingly, there were no serious injuries and the only damage was to the guy's truck and trailer.

I only tow a trailer with bikes, but learned a valuable lesson today. Slow down! Once this guy got hit with sway, he had no chance to save the situation. It was only about 5 seconds from the beginning of sway to being 100% out of control at speed. I'm not sure what can be done to prevent this situation, except the obvious.....which is to drive slower.

R

Incidents like this are why I hate traveling in S CA on a Fri night or Sun afternoon.

He most likely was too light on the tongue, causing the "tail to wag the dog", on top of all that, speed exacerbates the problems anytime you're doing anything, and speed+inexperience=disaster.

Luckily, nobody was badly injured.

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Yep, I've watched the same thing happen in front of me a few times. Inexperienced folks who don't know the first thing about pulling a trailer (and usually overloaded too).

I wish there was a license endorsement required to pull a trailer, DMV tests aren't exactly effective at teaching people to drive but at least it would be a hurdle to keep the idiots from being able to pull a trailer.

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Yep, I've watched the same thing happen in front of me a few times. Inexperienced folks who don't know the first thing about pulling a trailer (and usually overloaded too).

I wish there was a license endorsement required to pull a trailer, DMV tests aren't exactly effective at teaching people to drive but at least it would be a hurdle to keep the idiots from being able to pull a trailer.

It's that damn "try, try again" thing they let folks do-you can flunk the test 100's of times, and only have to pass it once, and you're licensed.:applause:

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:lol: yeah thats brilliant.

Not that theres anything in the damn DMV books that you'll ever actually use in the real world anyway. my favorite from the IL CDL book "when going through a corner or intersection, use the lowest possible gear and do not shift" CH... wanna tell the class how fast a big truck runs in 1st gear? Can you imagine a world where all the big trucks went around corners and through intersections at .2mph? :applause:

The IL CDL book still insists you cant shift a big truck without double clutching too and has a section about spring trailer brakes. 1960s stuff that hasnt been mainstream for decades.

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:lol: yeah thats brilliant.

Not that theres anything in the damn DMV books that you'll ever actually use in the real world anyway. my favorite from the IL CDL book "when going through a corner or intersection, use the lowest possible gear and do not shift" CH... wanna tell the class how fast a big truck runs in 1st gear? Can you imagine a world where all the big trucks went around corners and through intersections at .2mph? :lol:

Mine will make the needle bump, and maybe max out at 2 mph all the way through the intersection.:applause:

The IL CDL book still insists you cant shift a big truck without double clutching too and has a section about spring trailer brakes. 1960s stuff that hasnt been mainstream for decades.

MN will still fail you for not double clutching, and has a section on vacuum brakes and using flame lanterns instead of electric lights to illuminate an overhanging load.

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IL's book claims they'll fail ya for not double clutching too but every DMV guy ive talked to says if you can shift without snapping my neck they'll pass ya.

I havent seen a truck newer than a '65 mack that needed double clutching. Most truck driving schools still teach it too... even though every company Ive worked for asked (or demanded) drivers not to. I think the DMV's might wanna update thier books.

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...Once this guy got hit with sway, he had no chance to save the situation. It was only about 5 seconds from the beginning of sway to being 100% out of control at speed....

I wonder if just hitting the brakes hard on the trailer only would of helped? I suspect he probably didnt have time. I had an incident in a mountain road full of ice. We left camp hunting camp, it was 45 degrees, as we came down into the valley, temps dropped and my buddy radios me, "temps dropped into freezing" (he has a thrmometer in his mirror) and right after he said that, the trailer I was towing which weighted about 2000 lbs more than my truck (sold it and bought the lighter one) started sliding left to right, not from excessive speed, but ice. It was whipping left to right and yanking my truck with it. I grabbed my trailer controller, hit it hard and it all squared up. But I was calm and collected and knew just what to do. I have rehearsed this on many occasions. It paid off! I would of lost the whole works over the side of the mt road.

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Was it just a half ton pickup? Every time I come down that hill I am waiting for something like that to unfold in front of me.

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I wonder if just hitting the brakes hard on the trailer only would of helped?

i'd guess so, but imho, towing at 75+ is just plain not safe, esp passing other trailers and trucks where you get weird wind effects.

when i'm towing my trailer (4000 lbs or so) i just tool along at 55-60.

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Was it just a half ton pickup? Every time I come down that hill I am waiting for something like that to unfold in front of me.

Probably a half-ton but I'm not sure. I do recall thinking to myself that the toyhauler looked big relative to the size of the truck.

As always, it was a bit windy out there.

I always cruise along at 60-65max when towing.

I grabbed my trailer controller, hit it hard and it all squared up

What is a trailer controller and what does it do?

R

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it controls the brakes on the trailer.

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I know how that feels. Thinking I never had any probs towing my old trailer (28 ft. Alfa Toyhouse) with only a friction sway control. When I got my new 30 ft. Weekend Warrior, which didnt come with a sway control on the hitch. Since it had triple axles I didnt think sway was a prob. I was wrong, first trip out I went to pass a truck going downhill, right went my trailer cleared the truck it pulled me over into his lane and begin fishtailing back and forth, luckey there was enough room, I nail the trailer brakes and floored the truck which snap the trailer back straight. Since than I upgraded the hitch with sway control and have no prob since.

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The last time I drove through california - it looked like the speed limit while towing a trailer is 55mph. Is this true for light duty trucks as well?

I used to frequent a diesel site quite a bit and am always amused that the same testosterone laden guys who want to do 80 mph towing a huge fifth wheel will also complain saying "my mileage sucks" or "my truck overheats"... Natural selection will take them out eventually - but, unfortunately, they usually take someone else out with them...

jeff

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i'd guess so, but imho, towing at 75+ is just plain not safe, esp passing other trailers and trucks where you get weird wind effects.

when i'm towing my trailer (4000 lbs or so) i just tool along at 55-60.

Agreed, in my state, large rigs are limited to 60 MPH. I suspect it for those reasons and probably the longer stopping distance

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&%$#@! was he doing in the fast lane? i thought all vehicles towing a trailer are only allowed to the 2 right lanes same as the a tractor trailers?

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Yup, if memory serves, on Cajone trailers are limited to the slow lane and in all of California limited to 55PMH. I watched a girl text-messaging on her phone send a pusher with a trailer off onto the shoulder. She never even knew she did it. I've seen drunks drive better.

4-wheelers often think that the generous space you leave between you and the next car is their personal zoom-zoom reserved passing zone. Then when they get clobbered the Big Dangerous Trucker is always the bad guy.

Velo, isn't your truck lifted a bit? How did that affect towing?

I've found 60-65 is comfortable in most conditions and saves 2-3mpg over 75mph. It makes sence, being as air resistance is a square function of speed.

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Velo, isn't your truck lifted a bit? How did that affect towing?

lifted? heavens no. i think lifts are gay, but i only use the truck for transportation.

i do have air helper springs in the back because toyotas don't have real truck suspension. i usually run them at 50-60 psi and that keeps the truck nice and level even with my travel trailer attached.

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&%$#@! was he doing in the fast lane? i thought all vehicles towing a trailer are only allowed to the 2 right lanes same as the a tractor trailers?
The last time I drove through california - it looked like the speed limit while towing a trailer is 55mph. Is this true for light duty trucks as well?

I used to frequent a diesel site quite a bit and am always amused that the same testosterone laden guys who want to do 80 mph towing a huge fifth wheel will also complain saying "my mileage sucks" or "my truck overheats"... Natural selection will take them out eventually - but, unfortunately, they usually take someone else out with them...

jeff

CA law limits all vehicles towing (regardless of size) to the right most 2 lanes (intersections excepted) and a maximum of 55 mph. Although they never do seem to enforce the RV and recreation crowd near as hard as the Commercial Motor Vehicles.

Towing Vehicles, Buses, or Large Trucks

When you tow a vehicle or trailer, or drive a bus or three- or more-axle truck, you must drive in the right-hand lane or in a lane specially marked for slower vehicles. If no lanes are marked and there are four lanes or more in your direction, you may only drive in either of the two lanes closest to the right edge of the road.

Maximum Speed Limit

The maximum speed limit on most California highways is 65 mph. You may drive 70 mph where posted. Unless otherwise posted, the maximum speed limit is 55 mph on two-lane undivided highways and for vehicles towing trailers.

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lifted? heavens no. i think lifts are gay, but i only use the truck for transportation.

i do have air helper springs in the back because toyotas don't have real truck suspension. i usually run them at 50-60 psi and that keeps the truck nice and level even with my travel trailer attached.

For some reason I thought there was a big black truck in your camp on thanksgiving. There were a couple of lifted trucks on the south part of the mesa on friday, perhaps that's the seed of my confusion.

I know what you mean about stock springs, had to add airbags to the back of my S10 before I couls haul anything heavier than groceries.

My 2500 is for transportation only as well. It looks odd next to my S10, because the ZR2 has factory 31TEN50s and the HD tires are 30.5 tall. On my Christmas trip to California I saw lots of "Bad Boy" trucks with 35"+ tires pulling toyhaulers, now THAT is scary. (and doing 80, and in the #1 lane...)

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