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chathamsolutions

End of a 7 car pile-up

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chathamsolutions

Yesterday I walked into Ace with my kids to pick up a couple HoneyDo items. As I walked to the plumbing dept I saw a good friend of mine. We see each other often, but I hadn't seen him in over a week, so he lays this on me...

He said his son was headed over Pacheco Pass in a diesel rig pulling a 21' Reinell, twin axle trailer with brakes. Apparently there was a lady pushing her 1980 Honda trying to pass a tractor-trailer rig in the far right hand lane. It was in an uphill section where the road goes from two - three lanes. The tractor-trailer was in the middle lane and she was rushing to pass. Well, those lanes come to an end - you know, you have to pay attention to the numerous yellow diamond signs... Well, it came to an end and she decided to push her way in.

As she did that the car in front of her slowed down - so she smacked into the back of that car. And the tractor-trailer sandwiched her inbetween. Four more cars ended up wrecking behind them. My friend's son was at the end. Admittedly he was going pretty good, 65+ uphill.

My friend - the guy I was talking to in Ace, owns a car chop shop. Has a couple race cars, supes up cars for fun and plays with a number of big rigs, 4x4's and the like - he knows his way around cars (unlike me). He said the rear tow straps on the trailer snapped like rubberbands. He said the hooks they were tied to at the bottom of the trailer were all bent out of shape as well.

Here's the scary part:

He said there was the typical bow strap in place AS WELL AS a bow chain. The boat came forward on the trailer - not being held by the transom straps - and pushed the bow strap trailer guide forward. Bent the trailer and the boat came forward toward the truck.

The chain held, but a 'Quick Link' chain connector split apart:

Now he didn't know how well the threads were threaded, only a few threads or completely threaded on. But the connector wasn't around, so it was threaded some.

The boat came over the front of the trailer, onto the truck bed and only about a foot away from the back of his cab - where the kids were in car seats.

I looked at him and instantly thought about the link I had holding my chain:

This had to be 'the week link.'

We both looked at each other and walked directly to the 'hook' section of the store to get better visuals.

We both picked up the largest clevis hook they had and decided this is what we're going to use on our rigs from this point on. Rated at over 5400lbs.

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DRAGON88

Yep, it's been my experiance in accidents too that the transom straps don't do anything but snap and bend. Our SAN ended up ripping one of the bunks off the trailer and also snapped the bow stop at the weld. The boat overall came forward a few ft. It's scary to think that if the person who's trailer came off the back of their car had come off a quarter second earlier it could have very well killed all of us.

I hate to say it, but I honestly don't think there's much you can do to protect yourself in an accident like that, that boat has so much intertia and force behind it that it's going to pretty much break through any safty measures you put forth, granted you should still take as many precautions as possible.

I've had my fill of accidents for a lifetime, that's for sure.

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JAGMAN

Even in a mild collision it doesn't take long for a 3500lb boat going 65 mph to have inertia that exeeds 5400lbs (or a lot more) of force. Not sure what the answer is to make the whole thing safer....

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chathamsolutions

No kidding. Especially when the boat's more like 6,000lb loaded.

I hear both of you, it's really scary. Got to make that extra effort though, just in case...

Heading out this morning, hopefully nothing to report later.

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Faceplant409

I think I'll look into a beefier transom strap system. Our handy "boat buckle" straps rely on just a couple of 1/8" or less "tabs" to hold our precious babies in their cradles. (not acceptable, IMHO)

Pat

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RoverOn
We both picked up the largest clevis hook they had and decided this is what we're going to use on our rigs from this point on. Rated at over 5400lbs.

Bigger is always better....I think my mounting point will snap before my chain....

However, keep in mind that is 5400lbs static load...probably will still break/bend in the above screnario...just not as easily...

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vette-ski

Crash safety is my profession. I don't want to burst anyone's bubble but it is going to take a LOT to keep a boat on a trailer in a crash. Transom ties, bow straps and chains, all good for keeping the boat on the trailer for the most part, but not adequate in a full blown collision. One simple rule: F=MA. You can beef up the hook, you can beef up the strap, but in a good crash the boat will just take the whole winch stand alltogether or rip the bow eye off of the boat. The tow vehicle will absorb a lot of energy, but it's not uncommon to see 50-60 g's on the car. The boat will easily see 10-20 g's. For a 3000 lb boat, this is 30,000-60,000 lbs of force wanting that boat off of the trailer. IMO all transom ties are good for is keeping the boat from bouncing around on the trailer on a bumpy road.

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Faceplant409
Crash safety is my profession. I don't want to burst anyone's bubble but it is going to take a LOT to keep a boat on a trailer in a crash. Transom ties, bow straps and chains, all good for keeping the boat on the trailer for the most part, but not adequate in a full blown collision. One simple rule: F=MA. You can beef up the hook, you can beef up the strap, but in a good crash the boat will just take the whole winch stand alltogether or rip the bow eye off of the boat. The tow vehicle will absorb a lot of energy, but it's not uncommon to see 50-60 g's on the car. The boat will easily see 10-20 g's. For a 3000 lb boat, this is 30,000-60,000 lbs of force wanting that boat off of the trailer. IMO all transom ties are good for is keeping the boat from bouncing around on the trailer on a bumpy road.

What would you think about leaving things as they are alone (Bow strap and transom buckles) but adding a cable from the trailer to the bow, and 2 cables to the transom eyes?? Somewhat loosley so they were not in tension. (I know it would be better if they were in tension to avoid jarring, but...)

60000/3= 20000?

Pat

Edited by Faceplant409

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BBeakley

I don't want to sound mean but the guy towing the boat was obviously tail gating the semi. The best protection is prevention. When you've got a load behind you, make sure you leave more than the standard 2 seconds of distance between you and the guy in front of you. If it was a steep enough hill to have an extra slow lane added I'll guess that the semi wasn't keeping speed. Then add in that when he hits the honda plus other car he won't come to an immediate stop, rather push them forward a ways. Plus factor in that you're going uphill and it's much easier to stop, I don't see where you could get into the rear end of a 7 car accident if you've left enough room.

I guess this is one more reason I can use to justify leaving my boat in storage just off the lake.

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chathamsolutions

In CA you're assumed guilty if you rearend someone. I never said he wasn't at fault, it's just scary is all.

I'm sure everyone here's stomped on the brakes becuase some idiot pulled in front of them, or becuase they took their eyes off the road for too long. It only takes a second.

Just scary that the boat broke through the safety measures and still ended up on his truck. I was watching my kids in the back seat driving home from the Forebay yesterday, I thought if the boat were to do that in my situation - I'd have dead kids.

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ilovetrains
I don't want to sound mean but the guy towing the boat was obviously tail gating the semi. The best protection is prevention. When you've got a load behind you, make sure you leave more than the standard 2 seconds of distance between you and the guy in front of you. If it was a steep enough hill to have an extra slow lane added I'll guess that the semi wasn't keeping speed. Then add in that when he hits the honda plus other car he won't come to an immediate stop, rather push them forward a ways. Plus factor in that you're going uphill and it's much easier to stop, I don't see where you could get into the rear end of a 7 car accident if you've left enough room.

I guess this is one more reason I can use to justify leaving my boat in storage just off the lake.

I agree with what you are saying, but having driven in California I know that EVERYONE follows at distances that I am not comfortable with. You get desensitised to it and start to do it yourself. No defense, just understanding what happens.

Even if you are leaving plenty of room, sometimes it just does not matter. The picture I get is multi-lane. You leave plenty of room between you and the guy in front, but some guy, or maybe even more than one, cut in front. Suddenly you do not have any room and the same idiot just realised he is going too fast and stands on the brakes.

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ilovetrains

Crash safety is my profession. I don't want to burst anyone's bubble but it is going to take a LOT to keep a boat on a trailer in a crash. Transom ties, bow straps and chains, all good for keeping the boat on the trailer for the most part, but not adequate in a full blown collision. One simple rule: F=MA. You can beef up the hook, you can beef up the strap, but in a good crash the boat will just take the whole winch stand alltogether or rip the bow eye off of the boat. The tow vehicle will absorb a lot of energy, but it's not uncommon to see 50-60 g's on the car. The boat will easily see 10-20 g's. For a 3000 lb boat, this is 30,000-60,000 lbs of force wanting that boat off of the trailer. IMO all transom ties are good for is keeping the boat from bouncing around on the trailer on a bumpy road.

What would you think about leaving things as they are alone (Bow strap and transom buckles) but adding a cable from the trailer to the bow, and 2 cables to the transom eyes?? Somewhat loosley so they were not in tension. (I know it would be better if they were in tension to avoid jarring, but...)

60000/3= 20000?

Pat

This subject comes up a couple times a year in my local Jeep Club. We trailer our rigs a lot. Mine weigs 4K, and that is close to average. I use 20K nylon straps, 4 total, 2 rear, criss crossed, and two front, the same.

The thing is, we have all seen those straps break. If the accident is sever enough, there is nothing you can do.

Some guys swear you have to use chains and binders or you are unsafe. But the chains break too, although the rating strength is much higher.

My LSV did not come with transom straps. I looked at it and decided not to add them. It makes me a more cautious driver, and they would not really help anyway.

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BlastRlxi

I would add the transom straps just to keep the boat in place on the trailer if you hit a pothole or curb or something and the trailer bounces hard. It can be hard on the hull if it is allowed to bounce around much. I agree with you that transom straps won't help in a bad accident but they will help in a minor one.

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NorCaliBu
My LSV did not come with transom straps. I looked at it and decided not to add them. It makes me a more cautious driver, and they would not really help anyway.
Depends on the situation. In a feeway speed accident probably not but with slower speed incidents...

Yesterday on our way home from the lake I was cruisin' right along at about 60, came around a sweeping turn in the road and there was a doe and two fawns standing in the middle of the road. I had those BF Goodrich All-Terrains howling I hit the binders so hard. After reading this thread I got curious and went out to look and the Sporty did not slide forward. I put it about an inch from the bow eye touching the bow roller and that's exactly where it still is. Without transom straps I'm pretty sure it would have slid forward and once the boat starts moving on the trailer...bad things can happen.

They're also good if you cross train tracks, uneven pavement, whatever...they keep the boat from hopping up and down on the trailer.

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VinRLX
After reading this thread I got curious and went out to look and the Sporty did not slide forward.
Holy crap! You didn't break your pinky finger during this whole episode, did you?

:lol: Sometimes I just crack myself up. ROFL.gif

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stusumm
My LSV did not come with transom straps. I looked at it and decided not to add them. It makes me a more cautious driver, and they would not really help anyway.
Depends on the situation. In a feeway speed accident probably not but with slower speed incidents...

Yesterday on our way home from the lake I was cruisin' right along at about 60, came around a sweeping turn in the road and there was a doe and two fawns standing in the middle of the road. I had those BF Goodrich All-Terrains howling I hit the binders so hard. After reading this thread I got curious and went out to look and the Sporty did not slide forward. I put it about an inch from the bow eye touching the bow roller and that's exactly where it still is. Without transom straps I'm pretty sure it would have slid forward and once the boat starts moving on the trailer...bad things can happen.

They're also good if you cross train tracks, uneven pavement, whatever...they keep the boat from hopping up and down on the trailer.

You have KO's on your igloo cooler? Crazy.gif

Whatever you call that Honda thingamajig.

J/K Tease2.gif

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NorCaliBu
...I had those BF Goodrich All-Terrains howling...
You have KO's on your igloo cooler? Crazy.gif

Whatever you call that Honda thingamajig.

J/K Tease2.gif

A Sporty is small...it ain't that small. My little Honda can't tow much of anything. The KO's are on a Ram Quad-Cab 4X4 and I can't recommend a tire enough. I also have them on my '79 Toyota FJ-40 Landcruiser. Best on-road / off-road tire made. Period.

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zzbutler
...I had those BF Goodrich All-Terrains howling...
You have KO's on your igloo cooler? Crazy.gif

Whatever you call that Honda thingamajig.

J/K Tease2.gif

A Sporty is small...it ain't that small. My little Honda can't tow much of anything. The KO's are on a Ram Quad-Cab 4X4 and I can't recommend a tire enough. I also have them on my '79 Toyota FJ-40 Landcruiser. Best on-road / off-road tire made. Period.

I second that on the KO's. I have had them on five different trucks.

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chadellt85

MY uncle was a passenger in an accident that involved a boat. He was in a buddies crew cab truck that was towing his 21' north river jetboat. The driver fell asleep on the highway and ran into an embankment. The truck stopped and the boat didn't. On passenger Died when the boat broke all the straps and broke off the front support. The boat came all the way up to the front seat. Kinda scary. I don't think much would have helped in this. situation.

Chad

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stusumm

I was just teasing. I have them on my GMC 2500 and on my last 3 trucks before that. Great tire!

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awilco

Earlier this summer I see a guy driving toward me with his bass boat and trailer passing him, toward me, in my lane. Luckly for me the one car in front of me was a Ford King Rancher, he ran into the rig, running completely over the trailer shooting the bass boat airborne over my hood missing me by inches. I jumped out and started taking pics with my digital. The guy towing the bass boat never hooked the safty chains, no straps, did not even clamp the ball... He tried to tell the insurance company that we hit is bass boat and that is what disconnected it from his truck. I did not get a scratch but the Harley in back of me was $hitting his pants when I locked up the brakes and miss the flying boat.... Surprised.gif

Edited by awilco

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