Braking situations that fill your Underpants - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-30-2012, 10:50 PM   #1
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Braking situations that fill your Underpants

Have you ever had an emergency braking situation while towing? I am talking about any situation where you have had to brake hard and/or do an emergency manouver to avoid some sort of obstacle. What happened? How did the trailer react? How did the forces exerted by your trailer influence the situation?

Derek

PS For the sake of clarity, please also indicate the trailer and tow vehicle you were using at the time. Also indicate if your trailer had brakes.
PPS It goes without saying that the ideal situation is to watch ahead, and drive with caution. Sometimes that is not enough.
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Old 10-30-2012, 11:30 PM   #2
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Try stopping on a very icy road with chains on the Tacoma PU, no brakes or chains on the 13' Scamp and a kid on a sled apppears out of no where.
I've never had a trailer with out brakes since then.
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Old 10-31-2012, 07:40 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Perry J View Post
Try stopping on a very icy road with chains on the Tacoma PU, no brakes or chains on the 13' Scamp and a kid on a sled apppears out of no where.
I've never had a trailer with out brakes since then.
Eep! This definitely qualifies. I assume your trailer basically just extended your stopping distance?

Derek
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:06 AM   #4
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Emergency Stops

Driving on Route 17 in Florida, a four lane highway, heading north at between 55 and 60 mph.

A person in an extended cab Chevy truck from the center divider suddenly pulled out to cross two lanes to a side street. A third vehicle traveling to our right in a turn off lane was turning into the same road.

The Chevy driver seeing the turning car simply stopped in the middle of the highway blocking both lanes. I slammed on my brakes smoking the tires. The sound of our tires and my horn frightened her into action and she just cleared what would have been a broadside hit.

The car and trailer maintained a straightline stop. We did have an anti-sway bar. When we first bought the trailer I asked if I should get an anti-sway bar. The respondent said you'll be glad to have it in an emergency. Did it help? I don't know but we stayed perfectly straight. I still have it and use it.

We were towing with our 2004 Honda CRV a 2200 lb. 1982, 15.5 foot Sunline trailer.

We had a second emergency this year where the anti-sway bar was a saving factor. We were driving on a Texas farm road at about 55 mph when the ball receiver came off the ball 'in a corner'. The anti sway-bar firmly held the trailer to the tow vehicle though the nose of the trailer did hit the road.

The cause of the problem was an ill advised and un-noticed modification to the receiver by a previous owner that prevented the latch from locking against the neck of the ball. The receiver was subsequently replaced.

Again towing with our 2004 Honda CRV, this time our 1991 Scamp 16.

Edit: Both trailers had brakes.
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Old 10-31-2012, 09:03 AM   #5
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Last December, we were driving just north of Louisville, heading south on the interstate at about 55 mph with our 16' UHaul VT (no brakes) and VW Eurovan as tow vehicle. Suddenly, the car ahead of us slammed on the brakes in reaction to a slow down of traffic ahead. I guess the intention was to allow A LOT of braking distance for their car. However, it caught us by surprise, resulting in me hitting my brakes hard. Everything stayed straight, but I could feel the trailer pushing us forward as the gap closed quickly. Thinking I would have to veer right to avoid the stopped car, I started to turn the wheels right but the tires suddenly caught and we stopped about 3 feet short of the car. I could definitely feel the weight of the trailer affecting that stop, so the first thing I did when the weather got warmer in the spring was to finish fixing the surge braking unit and test the brakes. No problems at all on our summer trip to Virginia and we could definitely feel the help of the trailer brakes on several stops. We had installed brakes on the trailer a couple years ago but had been unable to get the right part to fix the surge unit. All better now!
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Old 10-31-2012, 09:20 AM   #6
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I have had to do emergency/evasive braking many times in the past, from tractor-trailer units, to a lightweight trailer and a small tow. Only once did I have an accident, and that was a multicar pileup on icy conditions when driving a 3/4 ton with a big construction dump trailer.

Along with good driving practice, properly set up brakes are extremely important. I cringe when I see on sites like this how folks back off their brake settings from what the controller manufacturer says, because they don't like the grabby feeling at times. This is much better than the horrible feeling of your trailer pushing you into an obstacle like another vehicle.
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Old 10-31-2012, 09:37 AM   #7
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2004 (Fire Engine Red!) Ford Explorer 4 door 4x4 (rated tow 5290 lb) w/Class III tow package.

Prodigy P2 brake controller.

Reese tow, no WDH.

Casita 16 (3000 lb, measured typical travel trim), friction antisway coupling, electric brakes.

Rural Minnesota, full panic stop for deer crossing road. Straight ahead stop, no trailer issues, modest damage to under bumper air dam. Deer appeared okay and ran off.
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Old 10-31-2012, 10:57 AM   #8
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2007 Subaru Outback
16' Scamp side bath -2550lbs
Prodigy brake controller
No WD hitch or sway bar.

Like others I am sure who have put more than a few miles on their trailers I have had a number of occasions where I had to take make a fast stop or a quick maneuver.

The one that sticks with me was on a very busy 2 lane highway with an 8% grade doing 55/60mph. The gravel truck in front of me pulling a pup trailer hit the shoulder and then jack knifed in front of me. Full on panic stop. Car and trailer stopped straight. A couple of the cars traveling behind me did play bumper cars with one another but fortunately no one hit me. Had just put new brake pads on the trailer and they more than paid for themselves with that one stop.
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Old 10-31-2012, 11:15 AM   #9
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This summer on our trip to Vancouver Island, we were travelling at night. We came around a corner and there was a deer laying down in the middle of my lane. It's head was up, so it was alive. I hit the brakes, but we were not going to stop in time, so I let off the brakes, and swerved hard, into the on coming lane, around the deer. The van and trailer tracked perfectly.
My trailer is a Trillium 4500, and our vehicle is a Savana 1500 travel van. With the five kids, we were heavily loaded.
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Old 10-31-2012, 03:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
This summer on our trip to Vancouver Island, we were travelling at night. We came around a corner and there was a deer laying down in the middle of my lane. It's head was up, so it was alive. I hit the brakes, but we were not going to stop in time, so I let off the brakes, and swerved hard, into the on coming lane, around the deer. The van and trailer tracked perfectly.
My trailer is a Trillium 4500, and our vehicle is a Savana 1500 travel van. With the five kids, we were heavily loaded.
Active trailer brakes yes/no?

Francesca
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Old 10-31-2012, 03:04 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
Active trailer brakes yes/no?

Francesca
Trailer brakes, yes. Also a prodigy controller.
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:32 PM   #12
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This is an interesting discussion. It has led me to realize that this is something that maybe I should practice, or at least get a bit of a feel for.

For many winters, once we got a bit of snow on the ground I'd take to an empty parking lot to practice maintaining control in less than ideal conditions. I don't do that regularly any more, since I think I've got a pretty good feel for it, but I still do it when I get a new vehicle so I can see how it reacts. And the first couple of snows of every year I hit the brakes hard while still on our street to remind myself of how slippery the roads are.

Seems like it would be a good idea to carry this philosophy over to towing -- start by just nailing the brakes while moving at a moderate pace (hard to do 55mph in a parking lot...), practice maneuvering while braking, and such like.
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:49 PM   #13
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Doug I always test my trailer brakes out on my street which has very little traffic, every time I hook up. You never know if the controller has been adjusted in error while not hooked up to the trailer or you have a wiring issue. Its also a real good idea to know how to apply your trailer brakes only, which can be a big life saver in a sway situation.
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Old 10-31-2012, 09:31 PM   #14
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I've never pulled a trailer with brakes before, so it will be a learning experience. Every time I leave the driveway with our tent trailer (which is close to the load limit on my poor ol' 4 cylinder RAV4) I hit the brakes to remind myself my braking distance is greater than I'm used to.
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