RV Dangers With Increased Speed Limit

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Updated: 8/05/2014 6:46 pm

After two major accidents this week with RV’s tipping on Idaho Highways blocking traffic for hours, KPVI News 6 reporter Dani Beckstrom dug a little deeper into the safety of the new 80 mile per hour law, especially when driving large vehicles.

Summer road trip season is entering its final weeks, which means more motorists hitting the roads. But more traffic means less room for mistakes, and things have gotten a little messy and really dangerous for drivers on the highway.

“Travel trailers, fifth wheels, toy haulers, motorhomes, they’re all just a big sail on the road,” said John Myers, General Manager of Bish’s RV in Pocatello.

Summertime is the perfect time to hit the road and travel, especially if you have the rigs for it. But combine busy roads packed with trailers and the raised speed limits and things can get dangerous.

“The higher the speed, the  more dangerous it is of course,” said Sergeant Clint Skinner of Idaho State Police, “but if you’re pulling a trailer at 80 mph and the back end of that trailer starts to move or swerve around, it makes it extremely difficult for a motorist to recover that without ending up in a crash.”

East Idaho has seen two major RV crashes in just as many days. Idaho State Police expected to see an increase in accidents with the increase of speed limit, but every mile an hour adds even more danger when you’re pulling a few tons behind you.

“There’s a lot of momentum in the trailer behind you, if that thing gets away from you it can definitely take you off the road with it,” said Myers.

Not to make a bad day worse, but if you’ve found yourself in an accident while driving your RV, it’s the Idaho State Police’s job to also cite any motorist who broke a rule of the road, which tends to happen when a trailer is fishtailing behind you.

“If somebody fails to maintain their lane of travel and they crash, or if they’re pulling a trailer that is heavier than the vehicle is rated to pull and they crash, we will issue citations for that also,” said Sergeant Skinner.

The bottom line is, regardless of what the speed limit says, drivers of RV’s, campers, trailers, boats, or any other big rigs should never drive faster than they can control.

“You can drive an RV 80mph, whether you should is another question,” added Myers.

Other tips that can help with RV safety are to maintain more than a safe distance between you and the vehicles in front of you and invest in a stabilizer hitch or sway bar to help your car or truck keep a little more control over the trailer.  

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seenmuch - 8/6/2014 5:40 PM
0 Votes
The previous commenter is dead on! How fast were they going in relation to conditions or their skill level??? Were they ignoring high wind conditions that required lower speed travel???? WEre they a perfect example of what happens every year, Long before the limit increase, a case of a driver doing something they were not trained for behind the wheel of something they never should have been allowed to behind the wheel of?!?!?!? Were the drivers idiot who had no training or experience with pulling a trailer or driving a camper pushing travel way beyond their knowledge of driving and skills??? Were the drivers the lowest class rating skill of drivers who without any training someone that just jumped into a situation that they were too clueless having no understanding of what is involved in driving a larger vehicle. Trying to drive something that was way beyond their drivers training or skill level...?!?!?!?.... Were they Too clueless to understand that the maximum is for perfect weather under normal median travel conditions while being required in law to drive to your training and skill level???? Was this not a case of what happens every year, long before the limit was raised... A case of someone with a auto class license jumping into a large heavy vehicle without proper training?? My experience tell me that all of the above was part of this which means the limit increase had nothing to do with these crashes. It should be a minimum requirement in law that all drivers who attempt to drive these things at least take and pass a driving test first to prove they understand what is involved in driving these things before they are allowed on the road with the rest of us!!!!! All of this was left out of this article. All they seem to have included was this shot over the bow in effort to blame the speed limit increase outright forgetting all the other facts related these crashes...

henry77433 - 8/6/2014 5:30 AM
0 Votes
As an unabashed and unapologetic advocate of higher speed limits, I am disturbed whenever any accident occurs anywhere. However, the report gives no reason for the crashes that took place. How fast were the RVs traveling? How many crashes happened last year? THe year before? Did equipment fail? Were the drivers impaired? No one bothers to answer. These types of crashes are common in this area regardless of the speed limit. High winds and fatigue can contribute to these types of crashes.The attempt to pin the crashes on a higher speed limit is disingenuous and dishonest. Sloppy reporting like this is a dead bang loss.
Rio 2016
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