a very informal survey - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-15-2007, 11:07 AM   #1
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Concerning the added safety of sway bars and WDHs.
Do people drive faster when they have these goodies?

I have been conducting a bit of an experiment. I got one local sheriff and a Highway partol to give me feedback over the last six months (it helps to live in a small town).
There is a highway 89 here that probably has more small camper trailers than most parts of the country (four national parks in the area) so we had lots to samples. Just single axle camping trailers were the target.
Beside the cops input I have also gotten data first hand by clocking from my truck every time I go into town and back.

From observation and feedback from the cops small trailers without towing goodies drive slower. Which makes sense to me. If the ride is not as solid most people will slow down.

I have been met with some comments that, "I drive no faster with the ________ than I did without". I just simply have to doubt that. If you want to make your rig drive like regular car then you will probably drive it like a regular car... faster.

PS the cops data was purely anecdotal and based on general observations. My data was based on 41 rigs that I paced.
Avg speed without goodies 58mph
Avg speed with goodies 64 mph

as I say... very informal but not unexpected.


Ron
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Old 09-15-2007, 11:59 AM   #2
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I believe that similar observations have been made about vehicle features such as four wheel drive, antilock brakes, electronic stability control, and even airbags and seatbelts. Rather than driving the same as they would without the features - but with a greater safety margin - it appears that at least some people think that this makes them invincible.

Sorry, I don't have references to back this up.

I have noticed in some severe winter driving conditions that four wheel drive trucks and SUVs are over-represented in the ditches: while the rest of us drive carefully, some of them blast down - and off of - the road.
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Old 09-15-2007, 01:16 PM   #3
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Many years ago 3M Traffic Controls Division did a study of driving habits vis-a-vis road conditions, equipment, etc. Their conclusion: every driver drives to his own perceived level of risk tolerance. People drive as fast as they feel they safely can.

The more safety built into the road or their vehicle design, the safer they feel - and the faster they drive. Make a road safer, drivers speed up; add hazards, they slow down. This pattern has led to development of urban "traffic calming" strategies (curves, speed bumps, etc.) which essentially work by making speeding more dangerous.

The preponderance of SUVs in the ditches after storms attests to the effectiveness of industry advertising, which helps 4WD and AWD drivers feel safer than they actually are.

My UHaul CT13 doesn't have brakes, yet has crossed the continent twice and meandered through the US and Canadian Rockies without any problems. But when towing, my level of risk tolerance maxes out at 55mph, or less depending on conditions.
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Old 09-15-2007, 01:57 PM   #4
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I always try to set up my tow rig to be able to cruise comfortably at 65 mph, the speed limit on the vast majority of primary highways in the U.S. I typically cruise at 60 on the four-lane Interstates for the sake of fuel economy. On a two lane primary highway, I try to drive at the speed limit (whatever it may be) so as not to impede traffic.

I generally use an anti-sway device for an added margin of safety, and a WHD when the tongue load requires it on the tow vehicle.

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Old 09-15-2007, 02:35 PM   #5
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I drive at 60 and everyone blows by us--no matter what they're haulin or how it's attached.
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Old 09-15-2007, 08:01 PM   #6
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I just finished a 4000km trip this summer.I stayed at 90kms all the time and had no problems.If traffic was building up behind me i got off road as soon as it was safe to do so.
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Old 09-16-2007, 11:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
I always try to set up my tow rig to be able to cruise comfortably at 65 mph, the speed limit on the vast majority of primary highways in the U.S. I typically cruise at 60 on the four-lane Interstates for the sake of fuel economy. On a two lane primary highway, I try to drive at the speed limit (whatever it may be) so as not to impede traffic.

I generally use an anti-sway device for an added margin of safety, and a WHD when the tongue load requires it on the tow vehicle.

Roger
I think everyone who uses the goodies does the same thing. I also think those who "dont" have them slow down because it doesn't "feel good" to travel faster.
Put another way, before I got my sway bar the little wiggle I got her and there served as a reminder to slow down. Now that I have the sway bar I find myself driving a little faster. Not much faster. I never exceed 60 mph regardless but I am still a bit faster because I think I don't get the "wiggle" to remind me to slow down.

After all of this I have to establish the following as axiomatic: People drive faster with anti sway than without anti sway.
My personal experience of *my* driving habits, input from pacing observations, and input from our cops is - I believe - enough to establish this as fact.

That was the reason for this post.
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Old 09-16-2007, 01:58 PM   #8
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I guess I'm a bit different. I don't think I would drive any faster with "goodies" than I do without. I've have my rig up to 65 mph and didn't notice much difference than 55 mph. My preference is to drive a bit slower, 55 mph.
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Old 09-17-2007, 03:46 PM   #9
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I guess I'm a bit different. I don't think I would drive any faster with "goodies" than I do without. I've have my rig up to 65 mph and didn't notice much difference than 55 mph. My preference is to drive a bit slower, 55 mph.
Hi Byron.. I am with you now that I have caught myself. I am however convinced that the smoother the ride the less fanny and steering wheel feed back. It is not as easy to keep the same speed on roads where cruise is not used. For example it is much easier to creep up past my mental maximum now than before(like down hill) because I cant "feel" it as easy as before. The added safety of a sway bar can cost me more safety than I gain if I don't find a way to monitor speed more closely. There is twice the kinetic energy in my rig driving at 65 than driving at 55 so just a little added speed is more than just a little added danger.

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Old 09-17-2007, 04:12 PM   #10
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I try to be always aware of the trailer, going down hill I shift down a gear or two. Level and up hill, unless there's corners that require slowing, cruse control is on. I agree that without cruse control on it's pretty easy to creep up in speed.
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Old 09-17-2007, 08:24 PM   #11
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While not trailer related I have a comment. I recently changed my daily driver from a Dakota pickup to a small sports car known for it's exceptional handling and braking. I drive around the same speeds I did in the truck with the sports car, however I now drive slower in the truck as the "looseness" of it scares me - doing the same speeds that didn't use to scare me. Even though the sports care is smaller, I feel 100% safer - mostly because if something untoward happens I can react and expect the car to handle it.

Now, on the track is a different matter <grin>

I'm certain that once I get my egg behind the Dakota my speeds will go down more - goodies or not...
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Old 09-17-2007, 09:10 PM   #12
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This topic has induced a LOT of soul searching. THANK YOU!

I remember our vacation of 2005: "The Long, Long Trailer Trip."

While the Fiber Stream has all of the features mentioned here, they were not the reason I was driving so fast. I planned to squeeze in a Family Reunion near Syracuse, and our 1st Oregon Gathering in Bandon into the same 2-1/2 week vacation. I had made "1/2 cross country" trips many times in my life. When I was a kid, my family often drove from the Syracuse area to just west of Oklahoma City during our summer vacations. Then, when I grew up and settled in San Diego, I would make the pilgrimage from the other coast.

In the 70's, I used to fly (In airplanes!) to get from San Diego to Syracuse, and enjoyed it. In the 80's, after the de-regulation of the airline industry, air travel became onerous to me. Long before 9-11, I came to prefer driving to flying.

At first, we did the motel thing. Then, my partner and I switched to tenting at KOAs. Then, we got the Compact Jr. Being such a simple trailer, It did not need any extra equipment. It behaved well, and I never experienced sway with it. When we moved up to the Odyssey as a tow vehicle, it became the proverbial "We hardly knew it was back there." The minivan and trailer were a close profile match, and I never noticed enough of a decrease in mileage to be concerned.

During that trip in 2005 with the Fiber Stream, I made several mistakes. The 1st noticeable one was using the last trip segment west to plan for this trip east. The time zone changes work against you going east, and help you going west. When I realized that I had under estimated the amount of time required by almost a full day, I sped up to try to make up for lost time. Was it the Weight Distributing Hitch and Anti-Sway Bar that convinced me I could speed so?
It was the familiarity with the drive and the route... as well as having already done it with a trailer, albeit a smaller one.

The bite the higher speed took out of the gas mileage, as well as the damage that bouncing along at 75 mph did to the trailer has caused me to rethink the whole concept. I am now a convert to more sedate driving habits.
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Old 09-17-2007, 10:54 PM   #13
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...owning a tow vehicle well capable of breaking the rear tires loose at almost ANY speed (658 BHP) , I am V E R Y cautious NEVER to exceed limits while dragging our Trillium around even though it (trailer) has NO s/bars, brakes, etc.

MODERATION in all things is a good moto.
When my Trilliums axle wears out it WILL be replaced with one with HUGH brakes (just to be safe) and maybe a sway bar, but for now its always drug along under posted limits.
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Old 09-18-2007, 02:10 PM   #14
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...owning a tow vehicle well capable of breaking the rear tires loose at almost ANY speed (658 BHP) , I am V E R Y cautious NEVER to exceed limits while dragging our Trillium around even though it (trailer) has NO s/bars, brakes, etc.

MODERATION in all things is a good moto.
When my Trilliums axle wears out it WILL be replaced with one with HUGH brakes (just to be safe) and maybe a sway bar, but for now its always drug along under posted limits.
658? It that all?


I'll race ya for pinks!
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