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ABS, TELELEVER, and UNLIT TRAILERS!


tallman

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Today, on my morning commute at ohdarkthirty, I almost bit it.

Two lane US Hwy. w/99% of traffic headed east and I'm going west.

Uphill stretch with a ditch on the right.

Doing all the right things (I think); 45 in a 45 zone, covering brakes/clutch, scanning ahead (difficult w/oncoming headlights), watching for vehicles on the north side (my right) making a quick left to go eastward, whilst looking for bear/deer/ and leetle creechurs.

An SUV 48 2/3 feet ahead on my right suddenly pulls out making a left. This is agonna hurt. frown.gif

Bike reacts as I would hope under full braking. No wheel lockup, no nosedive, my weight remained where I could control the bike and aim right to go behind.

Then I "saw" the trailer. Saw is not really correct. It was black, had NO lights, No reflective material, and was of indeterminable length.

This is really gonna be ugly. eek.gif

The SUV keeps going, forcing a chain reaction in the eastbound lane as they start swerving to avoid rear ending each other. crazy.gif

In the dark, even my Motolights barely illuminate the dark behemoth.

We violate the laws of physics and briefly two objects seem to occupy the same space, then my right, left maneuver brings me around the trailer, with only the oncoming eastbound swervers to deal with.

The laughter I hear in my helmet is perplexing.

Who's the fool laughing at a time like this? lmao.gif

I realize I am going to make it.

 

I am angry that this fool did it, but even more so that his trailer was invisible.

No excuse. If I had hit it I'm pretty sure he would've kept on going if the rig was drivable.

 

There is a moral.

IF you pull a TRAILER, as many of you do, THEN make sure it has working LIGHTS and REFLECTIVE MATERIALS on it.

Tail lights and brake lights are nice, BUT side marker lights and reflective tape on the sides would make a huge difference in visibility.

How ironic if it had been a motorcyclist pulling his MC trailer.

So forget legal minimums, do us all a favor and make your trailer one that Eff would be proud of. grin.gif

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Joe Frickin' Friday

An unlit trailer killed my cousin eight years ago.

 

Like you, it was middle of the night. Out in the middle of nowhere, he came up on some sort of agricultural trucking terminal to his right. The terminal was some distance from the main road, and the entry (at the main road) was poorly lit. A tractor-trailer loaded with hay bales was turning left from that side road onto the main road. What my cousin could not see was that it was a double trailer. he slammed into the rear undercarriage of the second trailer and died on the scene due to massive internal injuries (yes, he was wearing a helmet). A skid mark showed that he saw the trailer, but apparently too late to avoid the collision. A subsequent investigation determined (among other things) that the trailers were poorly lit. Not only that, but if it was just a trailer blocking his path, he might have seen it - but of course the tractor was already in the oncoming lane with its headlights pointed right at him, reducing his visual acuity. Fatal combination. frown.gif

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Same thing happened the week before Christmas to my wife's niece. She hit a unlit trailer in her cage and was killed instantly. The driver was cited for no lights on the trailer. Its a shame that a quick check of the trailer light could have prevented the wreck.

 

Alan

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I was on a four lane one night and saw the semi truck sitting in the median waiting to turn left. I had a feeling that something was not right and as I looked closer, I was sure I saw a silhouette straight ahead in the dark. I flipped on the high beams to see a flat bead trailer with some large lump of cargo directly over the trailer axles, sitting in my path! It did have reflective tape, but it was only visible after I hit the high beams. No clearance lights on the side of the trailer. I was in my truck at the time and got it shut down enough to drive around the back end. I might have seen it better on the bike, but no matter what, hitting it would have been deadly. The bad part was, with all the open area of the flatbed, I was seeing vehicles on the other side of it, like it was not there.

 

Small utility trailers and farm equipment are the worst for not having lights around here.

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Amazing how pervasive this issue is...

My wife was seriously injured in a similar accident:

Proceeding down an unlit rural highway, a tractor trailer rig hauling flat bar steel backed out from a driveway with no lights on. My wife caught the rear tire of the trailer with our '79 Ford Courier pickup. It tore the right side of the truck off to the rear of the passenger side pillar and rotated the engine about 30 degrees in the frame. It also drove the steering column into my wife's knee frown.gif.

Total damage to the truck: a flat tire.

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Glad to see you survived that. After reading posts like these from other folks (including my low-side, Whip's and Joel's mishaps and others) I never read about anyone going home to change their underwear after. Your adventure sure would have had me doing that had it occurred to me! Are people just to embarrassed to write about that part?wink.gif

 

Mike O

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Tim, glad you made it. Too bad you are a RETIRED LEO now. I'm sure you would have had a good conversation with the guy.

 

Note: When you have a trailer, make sure the turn signals are correctly working. When you are behind a trailer, don't trust the turn signals. They are too easy to cross-wire. I almost bit the dust once because of one.

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Too bad you are a RETIRED LEO now.

 

 

I'm not and would be happy to "inspect" said vehicle....after you pried the saddle from your butt, did ya happen to get anything I could work with??

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Dang, Tim! eek.gif I'm glad your guardian angel was on duty.

 

So forget legal minimums, do us all a favor and make your trailer one that Eff would be proud of.grin.gif

 

That's a great point. I'll be checking mine tonight.

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So forget legal minimums, do us all a favor and make your trailer one that Eff would be proud of. grin.gif

 

Good point. I will add some extra reflective tape on mine before the next time I take it out.

 

It has all the normal stuff (working lights and side markers, reflectors, etc), but after reading this thread it all feels a little inadequate.

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Not only does the unlit trailer haunt you, but also the load that extends off the side of the trailer. A couple of weeks ago, I met a semi on the two lane I take to work. Yes, I ride all the way, 90 miles, in the dark in the country. As we met, I got this creepy feeling that something was not right. I studied the road ahead, and the approaching truck. Not seeing anything to satisfy my sense of foreboding, I scrubbed off speed and moved over to the right edge of the road. As the truck met me, I saw part of the load extending 4 feet over the center line.

 

There is a good chance that neither one of us would have known what happened.

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Glad you had your wits about you and managed to avoid the trailer! Kudo's for awesome riding. And thanks for the reminder about the trailer. We trailer the dirt bikes every other weekend and the boys grumble every time I make them check all the lights, but it's just habit. I actually couldn't tell you what i have on the side, I think I do have small running lights and a few reflectors but will check when I get home and add some if I have to.

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There is a moral.

IF you pull a TRAILER, as many of you do, THEN make sure it has working LIGHTS and REFLECTIVE MATERIALS on it.

Tail lights and brake lights are nice, BUT side marker lights and reflective tape on the sides would make a huge difference in visibility.

When I used to see trailers with lots of lights on the side, I always used to think "lightshow" and wonder what purpose they could serve. Never thought of the left turning trailer from the dark side road. Now I know! dopeslap.gif

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Glad you are allright!! thumbsup.gif

I tow a boat for work and my trailer is lit up like a x-mas tree. I guess that some folks don't give a cr^p about that, untill it's too late. As usual, the "I'am sorry" follows a preventable 'accident'.

Sometimes I think that people are stupid on purpose.... dopeslap.gif

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Unlit trailers are stoopid. No doubt. I'm pretty paranoid about towing and often look in the rearviews to make sure I can see some running lights back there.

 

Having said that, I think poorly lit vehicles are a general catagory. I've come up from behind on stopped vehicles that had no brake lights. one or no tail lights, or a truck with so much muck covering those two dinky taillights that I couldn't see it.

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Tim, Thank goodness you were able to avoid that mess. ABS, Telelever, your alertness and reflexes saved the day. thumbsup.gif

 

As others have said, I'll be a little more arduous about my trailer's visibility, thanks for the wake-up call.

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