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Old 07-26-2012, 12:28 PM   #1
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Horrible RV crash in Phoenix

This happened about two months ago on a Phoenix, Ariz., freeway. The driver had his seatbelt on but it wasn't enough to keep him from being hurled onto the highway surface and killed. Now several children are without a father. I think the RV's stix-n-staples structure was a major reason why the damage was so bad.

One reason I prefer conventional (dog-nose) buses is that extra five or six feet between the driver's seat and the front bumper. That may be a fool's paradise, but it seems that the more structure to absorb the impact before it reaches you, the better.

http://www.azfamily.com/news/1-dead-...152361365.html

There is a cautionary tale here regardless of your vehicle type: a blown tire caused the crash. This is an often-overlooked aspect of driving safety; even I have fallen short here.
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Old 07-26-2012, 02:33 PM   #2
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Re: Horrible RV crash in Phoenix

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skunky Bus
... I think the RV's stix-n-staples structure was a major reason why the damage was so bad...
We've ripped into part of our old Class C. It is nothing but 2" X 2" pine, stapled together. And we think it is better built than today's RV. Where they brag about their "sturdy frame" (two upside down "U" tubes on a 40 foot long vehicle) and the whole thing is held together with "vacuum-formed" panels (styrofoam & fiberglass). Then it hurtles down the highway at 60 to 70 mph towing a 5000 lb metal skate board behind it. They are dangerous. And that's the self powered ones. I find fifth wheel trailers terrifying! I try not to have one of them behind me since they are often being towed by a vehicle that was chosen by it's ability to (barely) pull the behemoth rather than stop it.

I got lucky one day in that I had a free and (fairly) safe demonstration for one of my, then teenage, daughters on why you keep an eye on traffic behind you as well as in front of you....

On GA HWY 76 on the west side of Blairsville is a traffic light. Oncoming traffic trips it and it will stop you. It's set up like that. I was heading back to TN with one of my daughters and I had noticed a huge fifth wheel being towed by what appeared to me to be an undersized truck. So I pointed it out to my daughter. I was saying that you don't want a set up like that to be right behind you. We puttered thru town since you don't go very fast thru Blairsville (you might miss it). Once we passed the Shell gas station at the last main intersection in town, I started putting a little distance between us. While it was several car lengths behind at what appeared to be a "safe" distance (and picking up speed), I said you never know how overloaded those things are and they never choose their tow vehicles based on the ability to stop such a monster. And I changed lanes. You see I had driven that road so many times, I knew the traffic light caught me 90% of the time. I stopped. The truck hit it's brakes and slid thru the traffic light, thru the intersection and stopped with the back end of the LONG fifth wheel just barely clearing the intersection. If I hadn't changed lanes that thing would have rear ended me. Luckily, there was no cross traffic either. My daughter was terribly shocked. The folks inside the truck looked pretty grim as well. When the light changed, we headed on. Passed the fifth wheel and left it far behind (it's a nice road for running about 80 on). Between Blairsville & Blue Ridge, we had a nice discussion on why you need to figure every one is a idiot and to not trust RV's and DIY moving trucks/van to stop when they should.

Quote:
... There is a cautionary tale here regardless of your vehicle type: a blown tire caused the crash. This is an often-overlooked aspect of driving safety; even I have fallen short here.
Overloaded RV's and the interior loose items flying around are very dangerous as well. We secure with "worst case scenario" in mind. Our question is.... If we have to steer into a ditch and do a partial to full roll over, will (fill in the blank) stay securely in place? I have no doubt the BlueBird will survive. But I don't want to survive the wreck only to be killed by a flying freezer! Several years back there was an image of an RV making the rounds on the RV forums. It had run off a raised overpass , down the embankment to the road below. The whole rear cap of the motorhome fell off and you could look all the way in. What killed most of the large family (including both parents) was NOT the actual impact but the flying debris... those "just like home" unsecured dining chairs, the refrigerator (apparently the four 1/2" long screws weren't enough to hold it into the cabinetry that also pulled loose), the crockpot on the counter (may have been riding in the sink for all I know since that is a common practice among RVers), the "decor", etc. It was an eye opener for me. "It won't fall off the counter" isn't good enough. And I would never run with a crock pot of food cooking away either. I would either put together one of my "make ahead" recipes to cook once we arrived for the night or stop in a restaurant.

I have seen a few things in some of the skoolie interiors posted on this forum that give me pause....
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Old 07-27-2012, 11:31 AM   #3
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Re: Horrible RV crash in Phoenix

Quote:
Originally Posted by lornaschinske
We've ripped into part of our old Class C. It is nothing but 2" X 2" pine, stapled together. And we think it is better built than today's RV. Where they brag about their "sturdy frame" (two upside down "U" tubes on a 40 foot long vehicle) and the whole thing is held together with "vacuum-formed" panels (styrofoam & fiberglass). Then it hurtles down the highway at 60 to 70 mph towing a 5000 lb metal skate board behind it. They are dangerous. And that's the self powered ones.
Since the 1960's Winnebago has been using sandwich panels of aluminum (they've switched to fiberglass) and plywood with Styrofoam in between. Sides and roof are each one piece held together with angle steel and screws that are shorter than my pinky fingers. Nowadays they use a metal framework called Super Structure that is an improvement, but nothing like what they show in school-bus brochures. Even the "primitive" skoolies of 50+ years ago have a lot more metal in 'em.

The YouTube video below shows the aftermath (minus the dead body) when a tanker truck sideswiped a Winnie that crossed the center line. The motor home's outer surface might as well have been Reynolds Wrap.

Quote:
I find fifth wheel trailers terrifying! I try not to have one of them behind me since they are often being towed by a vehicle that was chosen by it's ability to (barely) pull the behemoth rather than stop it.

I got lucky one day in that I had a free and (fairly) safe demonstration for one of my, then teenage, daughters on why you keep an eye on traffic behind you as well as in front of you....

On GA HWY 76 on the west side of Blairsville is a traffic light. Oncoming traffic trips it and it will stop you. It's set up like that. I was heading back to TN with one of my daughters and I had noticed a huge fifth wheel being towed by what appeared to me to be an undersized truck....
Hell, Ford Super Duties and Ram 3500s look "undersized" compared against those fifth-wheel monsters, even though they're rated to tow over 20,000 lb. I'm with you: maneuvering and stopping such a rig is beyond the skills of most drivers (me included) without a CDL. Glad you knew what to do to keep your asses from being run over.
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Old 07-28-2012, 04:49 AM   #4
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Re: Horrible RV crash in Phoenix

if ya wanna see how rv's are really built, go to copart.com, get in the rv section and look for the burned ones...
usually not much left above floor level.
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Old 07-28-2012, 04:52 PM   #5
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Re: Horrible RV crash in Phoenix

It's not so much how the motor homes are build as it is the drivers are not trained .... nor or they required to be. These people worked all their life , saved up some money then go out and buy a large 40 footer motor home and hit the road, no training/or very little, you do get to drive em around the block before purchase. NOT a clue on how to handle a blow out in a motor home. It's a lot different than a car and one should take heed to the requirements to safely operate such a large vehicle on the roads of America. There are lots of training aids available on the net plus RV driving schools including how to handle a motor home during a blow out. Sorry the guy lost his life and motor home and I do not know what if any training he may or may not of had. From the looks of the motor home one can only imagine
what the results would have be if he had been driving a Skoolie...... More than likely he would not of lost the entire side of his bus but no ones know the outcome of such a wreck. Hope we never find out the results of a skoolie in a wreck like this one........

Be careful out there, we never know how, what, when or where we may meet our maker...

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Old 08-02-2012, 10:38 AM   #6
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Re: Horrible RV crash in Phoenix

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreyEagle
...It's a lot different than a car and one should take heed to the requirements to safely operate such a large vehicle on the roads of America. There are lots of training aids available on the net plus RV driving schools including how to handle a motor home during a blow out....

Be careful out there, we never know how, what, when or where we may meet our maker...

GODSPEED in your travels
GreyEagle's remarks are right on target: The responsiblity is in our hands. Besides, if instead of a semi, that Winnebago driver had encountered a Toyota Yaris (Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, etc.) the driver of said car likely would have been killed, too. Even that 1972 Winnebago Brave would kick a Smart car like a football.

BTW, Lorna, your RV is the same brand as my parents' first one, before they bought the Winnie I would later inherit. My mother was an intractable worrier, and Dad was an excellent woodworker (he customized two Dodge B-series vans with better craftsmanship than many factory RVs). Had Mom known the difference between the Midas and a school bus, we probably would have had skoolies!
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Old 08-02-2012, 11:18 AM   #7
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Re: Horrible RV crash in Phoenix

While i am not an expert, only having driven big trucks since 1963 or so... if you have a left front tire blow out whilst loaded you have a good chance of being in the other lane.. or in the ditch if the right one blows, no matter what you do.
I would like to attend a driving school that would solve that problem..and so would many others.

It helps to keep good steer tires, and better yet, not drive fast...
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Old 08-02-2012, 01:03 PM   #8
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Re: Horrible RV crash in Phoenix

For what it's worth ........ ??? Here is a video from Michelin Tire on how to handle and RV/ bus when you have a blowout.

I know to little no late but it Might here others....

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Old 08-02-2012, 02:30 PM   #9
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Re: Horrible RV crash in Phoenix

I'm not sure that a school bus would not have been damaged in a similar way. If I read right, the driver had a blowout and drove into the center barrier. That's when he hit the light pole. A school bus would open up too. Maybe not all the way back but we don't drive from the rear. I know our buses are many times safer than most RVs, but we are not driving tanks. Keeping up on your maintenance is very important. Example, on my bus, I just replaced the front shocks. It was pretty scary hitting dips on the freeway. The rears are next. Then I am replacing my king pins. Then comes replacing any bushing, tie rods, etc. that are worn. Last comes a brand new set of quality steer tires.

A friend of mine had a blowout a couple of months ago in his RV. His rig was $200k new. Fortunately it was a rear tire. It still caused some minor damage to his RV. After replacing with his spare, he went into Redding where he spent a week for some R & R. While there, he bought a new set of tires for 2800 BUCKS. The tires were almost 10 years old and he never gave it too much thought. It's a good thing it wasn't one of the fronts. Why did I bring this story up? It is better to change items that are borderline on your terms and price than when you are out on a trip in BFE and have no choice but to get raped.
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Old 08-02-2012, 03:55 PM   #10
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Re: Horrible RV crash in Phoenix

By The way crazycal.......
How much (ball park) was your repair on the bus going home from Tennessee? and what was the problem?
I know it's none of my business and if you wanted us to know you would have told us by now.......
We're still waiting on your road trip report too.....

Whenever you get time
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