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jrose

Trailer snaking accident

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Hi all

 

Thought I'd share this in case it helps prevent any accidents, and I may pick up some tips myself to prevent a similar incident in the future!

 

I have been towing trailers for years, and for the past 18 months or so my truck has had a tracked chipper and trailer on more days than not. Got the trailer licence, I know I'm not the most experienced but not too bad.

 

Friday morning I left home with my 3 week old (to me) Hilux, girlfriend on board and camping kit. On the back I had my Ifor Williams 10x5 trailer, 2 months old and with a couple of bundles of slab wood on the back. We were heading down to Glastonbury, to help with the build and then enjoy the festival.

 

About 5 miles from home, on a stretch of dual carriageway, I was doing about 40mph when the trailer started to snake. I immediately came of the throttle and gentle gentle on the brake, preparing to change down a gear when the snaking took over the truck. I lost all control of the vehicle, and hit the central reservation earth bank, flipping the truck a full 360 degrees and landing back on all four wheels.

 

Me and the girlfriend were fine if shaken, and both got out and walked away. I was in some shock and concussion with a deep cut on the back of my head, and she sprained her arm. Could have been a lot worse! Truck has been written off, I don't think the trailer flipped instead the hitch I think rotated through 360 with the truck.

 

So now my new truck is written off, and I need to get a new one!

 

My question is regarding snaking, what can you do to prevent it, and if it does occur what is the general best course of action?

 

The load was secure, evenly spread and tied down. All tyres were nearly brand new on the truck and trailer, correctly inflated as I'd checked that morning! The load was 2 bundles of slab wood, so well within the weight limits.

 

Any advice much appreciated, I'm happy to receive any advice that may help me and others prevent this happening again!

 

And finally, I will be replacing with another Hilux simply due to the fact that we did both walk away relatively unharmed from this, as a truck it now has my complete confidence!

 

Thanks

Joe

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Sorry to hear this and glad you are ok.

 

Expert opinion I think states that braking or decelerating is the opposite of what you need to do; rather you should gently accelerate out of the snaking.

 

I had this with a sizeable caravan years ago and putting my foot down did indeed rectify the issue. Once the dramatics are over you can decelerate again.

 

Edit: high power if choosing to accelerate otherwise no brakes, just gear down on her.

Edited by TimberCutterDartmoor
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Get the hammer down, you've got to pull it straight if you break when it's snaking you might as well give it the trailer the driving seat. It's scary pulling hard when you want to slow but it works

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I am glad both of you are ok , I would say the snaking ( trailer slapper) is most likely down to poor weight distribution on the trailer, too light on the drawbar.

 

Bob

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Next time your down that way have a look at the road and see if the wagons have made a slight track where they run as sometimes trailers are just running on the edges and it can make them crab and snake

Hard to explain

Hope that made any sense

Also was the axle bang on square to trailer we had one that was slightly out and that snaked

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Hi Joe,

 

Heard about this and though you wanted to stop at the Wooly Inn for a curry! Anyway glad you're ok and not next the Chris in Southmead.

 

Sounds odd at that speed, but gently accelerating through the snake is what I believe you should do. Out of interest do you know of the trailer was nose or tail heavy?

 

Mark

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Bloody lucky eh- glad you both ok, and shame about the truck. To be snaking at just 40 mph is bad- i have a hilux, and regularly tow an ifor TT105- and it tows beautifully even when very heavily laden and at upto 75 mph too. How high was the load? Its your trailer, so you are used to towing it- was one - probably the rear- axle loaded a lot more. Loading the front axle helps prevent snaking- I had an ifor LM146 with full height rear ramp- and that snaked even empty due to the weight of the ramp so far behind the rear axle, and the weight so high up. I have always eased off and let the vehicle slow on its own- i definitely would not want to be speeding up, with some of the things i have been carrying over the years.

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What you have experienced is classic when the trailer gross weight is mkre than the truck, or the trailer is tail heavy, causimg lift on the drawbar, pulling the towing vehicle up at the back.

get an adjustable toe bar, and make sure the trailer is loaded evenly, and sits level with the jockey wheel retracted when not coupled. You then set your towball height accordingly

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