Yet another van almost on its side

Mar 14, 2005
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Whilst driving eastwards on the A303 this morning, just leaving the Ilchester bypass and re-entering the dual carriageway, there was a single-axle van of about 5.0 metres length, jack-knifed, on one wheel and dangling from a Land Rover Discovery tangled up in the middle of an army convoy on the westbound side. So again, here we have an apparantly well matched outfit with a large heavy 4x4 towcar come to grief and no doubt ruining the owner's holiday. This part of the 303 does have a slight downhill incline - did this cause the outfit to snake, was the driver towing too fast? Or did one of the army vehicles send it into a spin? All of you please ensure this doesn't happen to you - drive carefully and within the speed limits and remember to anticipate the other road users who have little understanding of an outfit's time required to react to emrgencies/sudden changes of direction. Hopefully no-one was hurt.
 
Mar 27, 2005
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traffic at a stand still with 2 lanes of the M1 blocked near Leeds due to an overturned car and caravan yesterday evening rush hour.Another blot on caravanners reputations with commuters getting home 3 hours late because of b****y caravans.

excess speed ? poor loading ? or just incompetence ?
 
Mar 14, 2005
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If the accident happened during the evening rush hour, it's unlikely that speed itself was the primary cause simply because traffic density dictated the flow. If the traffic was heavy it was probably more a case of someone else up front doing something stupid and the caravanner swerving to avoid the situation but then getting into a snake in the process and reacting incorrectly by trying to steer out of it.

Although it is, of course, good practice to take the best possible preventative measures against a snake, there is always a risk, however small, of one still happening no matter how care is taken so it's best to know what to do correctly if the worst happens. Towing courses and practice are an indispensable help.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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A few weeks ago travelling back from Cardiff, I nearly lost my car and caravan due to a motorist deciding to race past me then cut me up to take an off ramp, I had to break and swerve to aviod him. If the van had gone over, I would have been the b****y caravanner to the passing motorist all the while the other car would have been miles away oblivious of the chaos he had caused.

I was in the nearside lane, 50-55mph, no wind and clear sky's at 6pm.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Lutz What is the corrective action if snaking occurs, I am still a relatively new tower in my opinion..only taken the van out 4 or 5 times. (maybe the answers are already on here) apprciate either a guide to the right subject or some basic instruction please? P&R
 
Mar 14, 2005
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First and foremost, don't try to steer out of a snake. You won't succeed. Hold the steering wheel absolutely steady whatever the caravan is doing behind you. Secondly, apply the brakes hard enough to get the caravan overrun brake to come on. The snake should catch itself if you follow those 2 golden rules.
 
Mar 27, 2005
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First and foremost, don't try to steer out of a snake. You won't succeed. Hold the steering wheel absolutely steady whatever the caravan is doing behind you. Secondly, apply the brakes hard enough to get the caravan overrun brake to come on. The snake should catch itself if you follow those 2 golden rules.
mmm, i was always led to believe "never to brake" when in a snake.

Ease off the gas and hold the wheel tight , yes , brake , No

always worked fine for me on the odd occasion its started to go pear shaped
 
Mar 14, 2005
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First and foremost, don't try to steer out of a snake. You won't succeed. Hold the steering wheel absolutely steady whatever the caravan is doing behind you. Secondly, apply the brakes hard enough to get the caravan overrun brake to come on. The snake should catch itself if you follow those 2 golden rules.
The main thing is that the overrun brake on the caravan is deployed. If taking the foot off the accelerator is enough to do that, that's OK, too. However, active braking on the driver's part will do no harm unless things have already got so far out of hand that either car or caravan could get into a skid by further braking. The advice not to brake is from the days when cars were not fitted with ABS.
 
May 21, 2008
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More often than not caravans turning over at speed is down to bad weight distribution. But those involved in rush hour or heavey traffic crashes could actually be down to bad driving from others.

We were driving up the north devon link road once in quite heavey traffic towing our twin axle van with a renault 25. Two guys obviously trying to prove who was the kiddy of the boy racer in the county came howling past me, then just 200 yards up the road they had to do an emergencey stop.

I was towing at a gross train of 3 tons and as you can imagine it takes quite a distance to stop from 50Mph. I hit the brakes the wheels locked up smoke everywhere and the boy racer who had just cut me up and nicked my braking room was now looking in his mirror in total horror as he thought I'd got him for a grille badge.

However being an advanced driver, I released the brakes re-applied them with less vigor and steered the outfit left and up the grass embankment, pulling up alongside the two idiots. Revenge was sweet though. unknown to me a plain police car had been shadowing these two muppets and the copper soon got his ticket book out.

mind you by the look on the one guys face I guess he needed a change of undies, because i certainly scarred the **** out of him.

So as you can see often the good gap you leave thinking you've got time to stop is pinched by morons street racing.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Fair comment, Steve but from your description of what happened it sounds as though you weren't in danger of putting the van on its side but 'just' of running into the back of the idiot ahead of you. As I've mentioned in another thread elsewhere, a car towing a caravan can actually require less braking distance than when braking solo. Despite the additional weight of the caravan, you should not need more room to stop, partly because the caravan's brakes do their bit but also the weight transfer through the towbar on to the back axle of the car helps get the most out of the rear wheel brakes.
 
Mar 27, 2005
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The main thing is that the overrun brake on the caravan is deployed. If taking the foot off the accelerator is enough to do that, that's OK, too. However, active braking on the driver's part will do no harm unless things have already got so far out of hand that either car or caravan could get into a skid by further braking. The advice not to brake is from the days when cars were not fitted with ABS.
ive never towed with a car that has ABS, never had a car that new.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Exactly, Billy. I haven't got any figures to prove it but I can't imagine that caravans are proportionately involved in any more accidents than other road users. It's just that when someone sees an outfit jackknifed, the consequences often appear to be more dramatic and everybody blames the poor caravanner as the cause.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I have to agree with Billy, I've always kept a clear distance to the car in front of me, but find from experience other motorists see this as a target when they need a space to pull in, usually this doesn't bother except when it puts me and my family at risk.

I've been driving for over 20 years and to be honest I've rarely seen anyone towing a caravan in a way that I'd consider dangerous, I have seen one or two driving clearly too fast, but in general I've never really thought god he's never going to make to his destination.
 
Oct 16, 2005
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There is a problem with Land Rover Discovery's, I am convinced of it after turning my van over yesterday. The whole outfit became wildly unstable. I have towed for 6 years with a Ford Maverick (Nissan Terrano) the last two years with the Hobby van I had upto yesterday. I never had any unstability problems. Fisrt time towing with the Discovery and the van turns over.

I am trying to collect as much information on this subject as possible to try and get to the bottom of this problem so others do not experience the nightmare we had yesterday. If anybody has any experience of unstability, accidents or observations of unstability involving Land Rover Discovery's then e-mail me on s.slingsbyATbtinternet.com (just replace the AT with @, this stops spammers)
 
Jan 21, 2014
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We are on our third Disco towing both twin and single axle 'vans during that time. We have NEVER suffered any type of instability at all.

Maybe there was something amiss with your Disco and you have just been very unlucky.

I am sure other forum users will be able to give their experiences either good or bad. Ours, definately the THUMBS UP!!!
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I happened to come across a recent road test comparison between a Disco and Touareg, both towing the same caravan of 1850kg. The Disco performed significantly worse in a test passing through a set of pylons in a simulated hazard avoidance situation. Two reasons were given for the result. The suspension of the Disco is softer than that of the Touareg and the Touareg was fitted with optional 19" wheels with low profile tyres.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Simon - what a tragic experience, we lost our caravan in July in Warminster but under different circumstances.

However on the subject of LR Discovereys a colleague in work a few years ago towed a twin axle with a Daihatsu Fourtrack. He part exchanged it for a Discovery and went away on Friday to west Wales for a try. He was so disappointed with the LR, terrable snaking, soft suspension causing the family to feel sick and heavy fuel consumption. He dropped his caravan, wife and family off on the site and returned to the garage and had his old Fourtrack back although he lost a few hundred pounds. I would not be possible to print the words he actually used to describe the Discovery but to say the least he was not impressed at all.

I hope you and the family manage to get over the fright and sort out the insurance, etc. We have now bought a camper van to replace the caravan. Its the best thing we have done. Good luck.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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The main thing is that the overrun brake on the caravan is deployed. If taking the foot off the accelerator is enough to do that, that's OK, too. However, active braking on the driver's part will do no harm unless things have already got so far out of hand that either car or caravan could get into a skid by further braking. The advice not to brake is from the days when cars were not fitted with ABS.
Actually, because the caravan is pushing the back end of the car down when it's braking, it improves the load distribution on the back axle of the car and consequently the car's braking performance. That's why a car/caravan combination can stop just as well as a solo car, despite the additional weight (always assuming the caravan's brakes are adjusted and working properly).
 
Jul 12, 2005
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Simon

When we got our Discovery we did some investigation into the towing ability and stability. What we found may help with the info you are looking for.

Certain discoveries have air suspension and before the end of 2002 the self leveling device on these did not have the ability to sense the presence of a heavy load being towed. This, in rare circumstances (most due to bad loading) would try to re-level the rear suspension when the load pitched, making the rear of the Discovery bounce.

I am not sure how this was fixed in 2002, but any Discovery with air units and the later lights had a mod that stopped this. When we selected ours we found a coil spring one (normally the 5 seat instead of the 7 seat) and had air bags fitted in the springs to equal loading and raise rear end height when off roading.

From what I found out is that although it was very rare for this to cause accidents, it had the effect of making it feel as if the tow was unstable.

HTH

Steve
 
Mar 14, 2005
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A self levelling suspension which constantly adjusts the ride height up and down will, of course, do the same to the noseweight. As the noseweight is critical to stability, you have a good point there, but sideways
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Jon - how can a caravan outfit be resposible for a RUSH hour incident.

I am not going to try and quess what caused the incident and neither should you. I could give a dozen or so of possible scenarios which would include ALL drivers and ALL types of outfits. IMHO
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Jon didn't actually say that the accident happened during the rush hour, Shiraz, just that traffic came to a standstill as a result. However, if the traffic was flowing freely earlier despite a high vehicle density, it could have happened even then. It just needs one false reaction on the part of the driver.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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traffic at a stand still with 2 lanes of the M1 blocked near Leeds due to an overturned car and caravan yesterday evening rush hour.Another blot on caravanners reputations with commuters getting home 3 hours late because of b****y caravans.

excess speed ? poor loading ? or just incompetence ?
accidents happen Jon we dont live in a perfect world thank god
 

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