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How Unsafe Are Pickups Pulling Trailers-Any Statistics?


 
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1206SWMO
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 9:52 am    Post subject: How Unsafe Are Pickups Pulling Trailers-Any Statistics? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Lets here some stories of things that have happened in your area.I live in a rural area where the roads are fairly straight and level so dont have much to tell.To my knowledge there hasnt been a fatality accident in this area in modern times caused by a pickup pulling a trailer.

About 30 years ago a young farmer in this area tragically lost his life when a large load of power poles shifted to the rear causing him to lose control and roll over.No other vehicle was involved.

The wood cutters and scrap dealers do some pretty crazy things around here but never seem to have an accident.They drive pretty slow which helps.Theres several times that I wished that I'd had my camera with me to show the huge loads that they haul.

Heres the worst offences that I see far too much of.

1 Pulling a bumper hitch trailer with no safety chains.

2 Pulling a trailer with absolutely no working lights peroid.Lots are borrowed and the borrower has no plug in for the lights.

3 Improperely tied down loads-hauling small tractors with no chain tighteners.I often want to stop them and tell them to secure that load.

4 Over loaded bumper hitch trailers pulled by 1/2 ton pickups driving too fast

Amazingly these people seem to all get by somehow.I expect that you guys in huge urban areas see some pretty crazy things.

Are there any charts anywhere showing the accident rate for pickups pulling trailers?
 
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Verniee
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 9:58 am    Post subject: Re: How Unsafe Are Pickups Pulling Trailers-Any Statistics? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

"Amazingly these people seem to all get by somehow.I expect that you guys in huge urban areas see some pretty crazy things."

Yes, that's me. I live on the edge of minneapolis. I see these trailer crashes all the time. usually it's some doorknob that went to Menards to pickup a monster load of lumber to bring up to the cabin for some project. as soon as they hit highway speeds the trailer starts to sway out of control and there they go, head over heels into the ditch.

It is usually the morons with little experience that think if it fits on the trailer then it is alright.

You see many of these trailers on the side of the road jacked up with a melted bearing.
 
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glennster
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 10:02 am    Post subject: Re: How Unsafe Are Pickups Pulling Trailers-Any Statistics? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

we have two old "peoples of color" scrap guys that pick up metal here at the shop. they have a mid 70s 1/2 ton chevy pickup rusted out to the roof. they pulled in with a load of junk on the truck, and had an old plymouth horizion chained to the back of the pick up, the front of the car was half in the bed, about even with the rear wheels of the pickup, the rest of the car was hanging off the back. i have NO IDEA how they got that car up there!!!
 
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Dennis Benson
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 5:17 pm    Post subject: Re: How Unsafe Are Pickups Pulling Trailers-Any Statistics? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I live in an urban area in Michigan, and I'm one of the people picking up scrap. I have a 1975 GMC one ton truck with a service body. Last year I replaced the rusted out service body with a much better service body. I didn't get my rack and compressor back on yet. I pull a 5 by 8 utility trailer that I bought new around 1999. It was factory built. It was supposed to be DOT approved. The tail lights were a couple feet forward of the back of the trailer, and about the height of the axle. After smashing off the plastic lights every week or so I welded some I beam salvaged from a mobile home chassis on the back and put Truck Lite LEDs in them, and haven't had trouble since. It didn't have any side markers or reflectors, so I salvaged more scrap metal and made supports to recess Truck Lite LED side markers. I have all LED lights on the truck, and the reduced current draw got rid of blowing light fuses with the old wire. One of my compartments on the service body is filled with 10,000 pound capacity load straps. I strap the scrap metal down so that the trailer sides start to give a little, and I shake the load until I'm convinced that the load is tight to the trailer. Appliances will start to dent under the straps. I've hauled some pretty wierd looking loads. I just bought some greenhouse racks and bottom heat pipe from a county run greenhouse. I put pallets on the back to make a platform higher than the cab, and strapped them down good. The bottom heat pipes were about 35 feet long and doubled back with a 180 degree elbow. It was considerably longer them my one ton truck, so I brought my trailer to ride along and keep people away from the back of the pipe. The pipe extended about 2 feet behind the trailer and 2 feet in front of the truck. I strapped the pipe down real tight. I drove the speed limit across town with 6 or so loads of pipe that way. A lot of policemen uin a lot of departments saw it, and didn't get a second glance. The pipe didn't shift or swing into other lanes on corners. The pipe did like to flex and wave up and down, but I kept that to a minimum, too by braking and accellerating right. I meet all DOT regulations and have a DOT number. I put 100,000 miles on the truck since I got it in 2001, and the trailer could have almost that many miles. My trailer has had some damage, but I fixed it before it broke along the road. I had to replace the tongue when the original started bending, and I replaced the axle when it started bowing the wrong way. I have a coiled 7 wire lead pluging the lights into the truck. I just replaced the boards again in the bed, and while it was apart I welded some hangers in place to add a second axle for more stability. I don't figure it will add to the capacity because scrap loads are usually light weight, they just look ugly with bicycles, fence, chairs, lawn mowers and what have you all tangled together. It's a pretty big load that weighs 2,000 pounds. I've never reached the capacity of the truck or trailer. I've got the right tarps, too, to prevent loss of trash that might blow off the scrap. I've got the ugliest truck, ugliest trailer, and ugliest driver in town.
 
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Dell (WA)
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:07 am    Post subject: yer OVERLOADED Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Dennis..........you write......."I had to replace the tongue when the original started bending, and I replaced the axle when it started bowing the wrong way".........jeeze, you don't suppose that was caused by "OVERLOADING" do you???? ..........respectfully, Dell
 
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Dennis Benson
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:01 am    Post subject: Re: yer OVERLOADED Reply to specific post Reply with quote

The original equipment tongue was 3/32 inch thick. My replacement is 1/4 inch thick.
 
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jason, NW Ontario
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 1:16 pm    Post subject: Re: How Unsafe Are Pickups Pulling Trailers-Any Statistics? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

The guy wasn't hauling a real load for a real truck, but:
I came upon a guy with a Ford ranger summer of '06. Road flares out, traffic slowing down to go around. I pull up to see he was towing a trailer made out of a 8' truck bed. He must have had 7 rows of railway ties tied down. He'd only been on the highway for a minute or two. Must have been the tail wagging the dog on that one, because the trailer was still hooked up at the hitch, but the trailer tongue was twisted 180 degrees, with the trailer flipped upside down. It's just a scaled down version of what can happen with a huge load pulled by a full sized truck.
Would have been worth a chuckle to see the cop show up to write that ticket up!
Jason
 
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Iowa_tire_guy
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 5:30 pm    Post subject: Re: How Unsafe Are Pickups Pulling Trailers-Any Statistics? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

We have a couple of local farmers who bought 3 bulls from a breeder in Minnesota. They made a deal to meet the breeder north of Cedar Rapids to pickup the bulls. One of the farmers has a pretty nice gooseneck stock trailer and F-250 that he uses all the time. But the lights didn't work and he wanted to safe since he had to take the Interstate through Cedar Rapids. So he remembered that he borrowed a bumper hitch trailer from another neighbor the summer before to take sheep to the state fair so he borrowed it again. He knew that the light plug would work on his wife's Expedition so he hooked it up to the 16 foot bumper hitch trailer to pickup the 3 bulls. Anyone see an problem with this setup? Well it gets worse. Seems there were 2 small bulls and one big bull. The breeder brought them down in his trailer with the 2 small ones in the front and the big one in the back because the 2 small ones total weight was more than the one big bull. Well they just backed the two trailers up to each other and transfered the bulls between trailers. But this put the big bull in the front and the 2 in the back causing negative tongue weight. Not to be stopped by such facts they headed out onto I380 and found that anything over 35 mph caused the Expedition to sway around. Go figure, negative tongue weight and suspension not made to handle that heavy load. They managed to make it to Cedar Rapids and were in the center lane when they crossed an overpass. Seems the another thing they failed to notice was that the trailer had a 2 inch hitch and they were using a 1 7/8 inch ball. When the trailer hit a bump on the overpass it came unhitched. Yep, just came loose with a semi on one side and cars on the other. Now being the safety conscious men they were, they had the safety chains hooked up. He sure did clear out the traffic all around him as he got the rig over to the side of the road. Said it was throwing some pretty good sparks. After surveying the situation they had the trailer jack under the bumper of the van so they got it up and over and unhooked. Left one man there to flag traffic while the other went to find a store to buy a 2 inch ball, wrench to put it on and a jack to pick up the trailer. Latter I talked to the wife who had the Expedition and her husband was banned from using it without her with him.
 
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730 virgil
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2007 7:36 pm    Post subject: Re: How Unsafe Are Pickups Pulling Trailers-Any Statistics? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

i saw some of these clowns put sveral sheets of plywood on the luggage on top of their car when they left menards driver and passenger both had arm out window holding on to plywood no straps or anything else to hold plywood on.
 
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john_Bud
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 6:35 am    Post subject: Re: How Unsafe Are Pickups Pulling Trailers-Any Statistics? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Our local Menards is a great place to see a show I call "bone heads with loads". The store has 2 service road exits and they are both slightly uphill. Every single weekend you can see people with short bed trucks hauling 4x8 sheets with the tail gate down. Plywood, sheetrock insulation, it doesn't matter. They are sitting facing uphill at the light, nose up from the heavy load and when it turns green, they gun it. Sir Isaac's laws of motion get them every time. The truck goes and the load slides out all over the road and intersection.


To get back on topic, I would guess that pickups with trailers are less safe than pickups alone. Simply because very few are as safe as Mr. Benson. Keep the load under the capacity of the truck, balance it for 10-15% tongue weight, tie it down properly and drive with great caution giving more room to stop and it is rearly as safe. Fail to do that and it can be an issue.

jb
 
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Dennis Benson
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 9:29 am    Post subject: Re: More stories. Reply to specific post Reply with quote

When I was hauling the pipe in my earlier post from the county greenhouse, they were preparing to haul their own load of old greenhouse parts. They had no lights on the trailer. They asked me what the law was. I told them the minimum was one tail light and one brake light if the towing vehicle has lights visible to the back. I told them they would probably get a ticket that required fixing the lights, and wouldn't cost anything. They said they didn't think they would get a ticket because they had municipal plates.

Another story. I was following a Jeep Grand Cherokee into the junk yard yesterday. It was pulling a flatbed car hauler with no sides. The trailer was large enough to carry the Jeep and have room to walk around. There was a hot water heater, a hood covering a lot of small stuff, and a couple Chevy small block heads. There were no straps or chains of any kind. Hoods are very aerodynamic, and can go into flight easily, just like wheelbarrows. The hot water heater was rolling around.

And another. A couple days ago I was waiting on one of the cross roads that intersect with an S curve just before the junk yard. The speed limit is 25 or 30, but people go around the S curve arounf 45 or 50. Coming from downtown direction was a pickup truck pulling a McCormick Deering square hay baler about 45 or 50 keeping up with the cluster of cars. He wasn't used to the extra width of the hay baler, and it kept swerving into the other lane. He had trouble finding the scale, and had to go into the office to ask, so I ended up ahead of him. I didn't notice if he had trouble getting the outside wheel on the scale.

One time I saw an Amish or Mennonite coming to the junk yard, but he had a John Deere 2050 pulling a 40 foot flatbed semi trailer with the front setting on a tow dolly used for a double bottom set of trailers. He had a pretty good load.
 
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 9:37 am    Post subject: Re: How Unsafe Are Pickups Pulling Trailers-Any Statistics? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I watched a guy at Home Depot load a pallet and a half of 4x8 plywood into the box of a Dodge Ram 1500. It's a wonder he could even steer the thing the way the front was up in the air. I ALMOST followed him to see when the rear springs gave out or a pothole made him loose control but I didn't.
 
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rustyj
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 7:10 pm    Post subject: Re: How Unsafe Are Pickups Pulling Trailers-Any Statistics? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

How about the guy who ties a full size mattress on top of his car, with a rope thru the windows, goes out on the Interstate and gets it up to 60 mph! Well, he tries to--the front of the mattress folds up vertical and acts as a brake, slowing the car down a lot. Then he stops gets out, the mattress by now folded down flat. He opens the hood, shakes the plug wires--nothing loose there, gets back in--and it starts all over again!
And, in answer to the question of towing with a pickup--i towed an 18 ft. travel trailer with my 3/4 ton ford pickup, all over the country! Had the best reese hitch with all of the attachments. No trouble at all. Never had any thing go wrong while towing.
 
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