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Author Topic: Recovering from Fishtailing  (Read 11757 times)

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Offline DouginUtah

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Recovering from Fishtailing
« on: May 26, 2012, 12:20:00 am »

I got trapped in a traffic jam this afternoon on the I-15 freeway. A 2500 Chevy extended cab pulling a large toy-hauler started to fishtail and ended up with the toy-hauler on it's side and the truck flipped several times and the roof pretty much ended up crushed down to the seat tops. Traffic was moving right along at 65+ MPH. Life-threatening injuries.

In the comments (on KSL.com) a guy said when you start to fishtail step on the gas as the trailer is trying to pass you. I don't believe that, but I thought I would ask if anyone can state authoritatively what the best plan of action is when fishtailing starts.
-Doug
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Recovering from Fishtailing
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2012, 12:46:48 am »
Using a bit of gas will usually straighten you out...

This of course depends on you having some place to go, without slowing down.

I've had to use it once, towing a friends race car on a trailer. Coming down a long, steep, but straight hill. Let the speed build up a little more than I should, and lightly touched the brakes. Trailer gave the first signs of starting to fishtail, so I got back on the gas and it straightened up instantly.

Luckily there was a big sweeping corner at the bottom of the hill that we cruised around at about 90mph, then just coasted the speed off on the flat.

If we had HAD to stop, things would have gotten VERY exciting.

Ian
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Offline DouginUtah

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Re: Recovering from Fishtailing
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2012, 12:49:41 am »
 

 
-Doug
When you hang around with good people, good things happen. -Darrell Waltrip

There is no need to say 'unleaded regular gas'. It's all unleaded. Just say 'regular gas'. It's not the 70s anymore. (At least that's what my wife tells me.)

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Offline beenthere

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Re: Recovering from Fishtailing
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2012, 01:14:56 am »
I'd agree with that advice.
And thankfully a semi truck driver knew how to do that, or I'd a been wiped off a slippery road when helping with a car accident. Around a curve came the semi and as he slowed (seeing lights in the ditch) the trailer started coming around him. He poured the gas to it and pulled the rig straight again.

Is really the only alternative one has to save it.
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Offline ely

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Re: Recovering from Fishtailing
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2012, 01:42:57 am »
x3

Offline bill m

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Re: Recovering from Fishtailing
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2012, 07:58:23 am »
You can also manually activate the trailer brakes with the brake controller while keeping light pressure on the gas pedal.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Recovering from Fishtailing
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2012, 08:08:35 am »
I realize this is about "recovering", but "prevention" is so easily overlooked.  A tail heavy trailer is an accident waiting to happen.  That toy hauler probably had an ATV strapped in it's rear end.

I wonder what the new trucks with the computer controlled anti-sway, etc. gizmos will do.  Maybe just allow you to go faster and then really have a wreck.   :-\
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Re: Recovering from Fishtailing
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2012, 08:42:24 am »
giving it gas, or activating the trailer brakes can help.  my brake controller has a button that I can hit to engage the trailer brake without the truck brakes.

proper tongue weight is critical for safe towing, but the most important safety device lies between one's ears.
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Online Corley5

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Re: Recovering from Fishtailing
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2012, 09:09:05 am »
An old log truck driver told me years ago when we were talking about trailers swaying and jack knifing to "drop a gear and give it he**".  That would straighten it out.  :) :)
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Offline scsmith42

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Re: Recovering from Fishtailing
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2012, 09:19:05 am »
giving it gas, or activating the trailer brakes can help.  my brake controller has a button that I can hit to engage the trailer brake without the truck brakes.

proper tongue weight is critical for safe towing, but the most important safety device lies between one's ears.

+1000 on all counts.
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Offline Qweaver

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Re: Recovering from Fishtailing
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2012, 11:26:28 pm »
High polar moment of inertia coupled with springs rhythmically  loading and unloading  spell bad times for the driver.  Iíve usually just slowly let the rig slow down and that has always worked for me.    But I always try to catch it before it gets bad.  Iíve never had a problem with a properly loaded trailer.  My wife got a double trailer pull totally sideway after falling asleep and was able to recover it.  But the trailers were properly loaded and she drove race cars sideways for years.  Makes a difference knowing  that just because you are sideways does not mean that you are out of control.
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Offline Polly

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Re: Recovering from Fishtailing
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2012, 03:30:15 pm »
 :) :)   i probly have seen over a half dozen car pickup pulling trailer accidents over the years ,like the gentelman above so accurately stated ,load your trailer heavy enough in the front so you  see can the rear end of the veichle it is hooked to start to squate that way the towing vehicle is in control ,otherwise the trailer is , kinda like the tail wagging the dog  ::) ::)

Offline Sprucegum

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Re: Recovering from Fishtailing
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2012, 03:54:11 pm »
First-time trailer towers should also be told to quit looking in the mirror. They see the trailer sway a bit and over correct - it escalates from there.

I watched a young fellow towing a heavy load of drill stems behind a half-ton. He started fishtailing on loose gravel. The trailer eventually chased him in the ditch where it tipped over. Everything was almost at a stand-still when the torque on the hitch flipped the truck on its side. The young fellow popped out of the side window and landed in the middle of the road like a cork out of a pop gun  :D  :D  He had a good lesson that day  ;)

Offline SPIKER

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Re: Recovering from Fishtailing
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2012, 10:52:19 am »
Came close to having one fish tail issue towing a independent suspension car on a dolly behind my F150.   Front wheels were on ground (rear wheel t-bird) hit a bridge in corner where it bottomed out suspension in car and caused it to twist about a lot little gas and kept the turn going came out good...

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Offline Polly

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Re: Recovering from Fishtailing
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2012, 08:05:07 am »
 :( :( the last one i seen was on i-75 south of atlanta , traffic backed up several miles , when i finally got to the accident a mina van towing a home made trailer with a full sixe pick up on the trailer was off the road over in the area between the north and south lanes the trailer on its side pick up still hanging on mina- van still on its feet ,kinda felt sorry for the fellow trying to save himself a dime , probly cost a grand by the time towing co and georga police got done with him  :( :( :( 8)