RV Wreck I 75 March 6 Tennessee

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Steve CDN

Well-known member
Jan 31, 2005
Received information from someone travelling through that two people were? seriously hurt In RV Wreck On I-75 South near Chatenooga.

They were seriously hurt in a wreck involving an RV pulling an SUV near the Ringgold exit of I-75 on Sunday afternoon.

Apparantly the motorhome was in the middle lane when the SUV came loose and started swaying. The driver lost control and went down an embankment into a wooded area.

The driver and passenger were ejected from the vehicle, and they were later taken to a local medical Center.

One of the fuel tanks ruptured on the camper when it was being pulled out of the woods. Emergency crews had to come in to clean up the spill.

What are the potential causes  for a Toad to become disengaged from the Coach?
Steve said:
What are the potential causes  for a Toad to become disengaged from the Coach?

Human error, ie  failure to secure the hitch properly or mechanical failure - maybe metal fatigue.

Should remind us all the check the baseplate on our toads, the various pins that hold the tow bar to the baseplate and the receiver on th MH.

Making a circle check "walk around" the RV every time a stop is made is essential to safe travel.  In addition to checking the tires, looking for anything that might have come loose, opening the engine compartment to check for leaks, and a verification of the towing hardware are all preventative measures.

Metal fatigue is a factor not often considered, but I had the attaching parts on my Bule Ox hitch replaced because they had stretched from towing the car.

The major hitch companies perform free service at the major RV rallies, which is always worth having done.
Last Thursday, my husband and kids and I had a similar accident in this exact same location.  Our ultralite started swaying uncontrollably after coming around a downhill turn and having to slow down a bit because of another car and trailer getting hitched up on a tow truck AFTER HAVING THE EXACT SAME THING HAPPEN WITH THEIRTRAILER AND VEHICLE!!!!!! In EXACTLY the same location as the accident on March 7th.  This is a bad section of freeway.  ITs a down hill turn, that has very limited visability until the turn is complete, at which time the road suddenly straightens out and the angle of incline changes dramatically.  The whole situation was compounded when we had to brake a bit (not dramatically) because of the bottle neck from the other identical accident. 

We were very lucky that allthough the trailer is totaled, and the SUV is damaged, we hit no one (except the trailer against the tow truck a bit) while going backwards and no one hit us and everyone had seat belts on.  It was the scariest thing I have ever been involved in, but couldn't help but think there was something going on here other than how we handled the vehicle.  Especially when 2 of us had the same accident within one hour.  The turn , looking from the side of the road just looked suspicious. 

After getting towed and renting a car, we had to drive that section of the interstate again.  Folks I am here to tell you that there were no less than 7-8 different sets of skid marks on that section or roads from other accidents or near accidents.  Coming back the other direction a few days later, it was almost dramatic to get a look at that turn from another perspective.  There is a problem with this section of road, and there is no warning signs here.  Is any one else familiar with this stretch of road.  I am thinking purhaps the DOT needs to be looking that section of I-75.  That Toad came disconnected because it was fishtailing uncontrollably.  Our travel trailer became disconnected, but only when we came to a stop on the sholder facing the wrongway, and the trailer rolled over in the grass.
Very sorry to hear about your terrible experience.  Fortunately you are her to tell about it.  Is there a way to alert authorities about thie dangerous area?
been there said:
Last Thursday, my husband and kids and I had a similar accident in this exact same location.

Humm... I've driven every inch of I-75 (though not pulling anything) from somewhere in Floridia to Michigan's U.P. (I've not quite gone end to end) and I can't recall every haveing any issues with the car

I would ask you one question.. Does your towed have a braking system on it?  I suspect this is one case where mild braking of the "Trailer" might just improve control however, before I head south for a trip I'll have to talk to my  brother... He likely has driven that road, pulling a load, and he knows a whole lot more about pulling trailers at freeway speed than I do.. It's his job (over the road steel hauler) after all
WE did have a braking system on the trailer, as did the folks who had the accident the hour before us in the same location.  It just wasn't enough to stop the fishtail and sway.

AS for this area, upon further research this is the exact location of the worst highway accident in GA history 2 years ago...125 cars.  The main cause was a heavy fog that day.  Except for the first vehicle which was a tractor trailer that lost control for unexplained reasons (he didn't survive) of his trailer and spun thru the median into on coming traffic.  All the other wrecks were a result of not being able to see adequately in the fog to react to the accident.  I don't know, certainly, but I wonder if he had a similar problem to us as he was braking coming down the hill dropping into the fog...

As for the highway...a simple flashing sign would be a big help.  Because of limited sight distance, you don't have the ability to judge what is coming up, and although we were certainly NOT going too fast, we would have gone even slower had we known what was ahead.
I spoke with my brother and he more or less confirmed that it is a very bad streatch of road and the only thing he's found that helps is to know it's there slow down and PRAY

And as I said, he tours the country pulling a flat bed full of steel for a living so I don't question his advice.

My best suggestion is this.. If you have mapping software that lets you do it,,, Flag this area
Well, not that it brings back my trailer, but its helps eliminate alot of second guess of our selves and what happened.  Now I know about that strip, and either we will by pass it, or be really really careful (and slow).
Of course the first time you drive it, it doesn't look like much, just another turn in the road....
I don't guess my insurance company will see it that way though.
been there said:
I don't guess my insurance company will see it that way though.

Well you know the favorite word and prhase over at the insurance adjuster college don't you

NO, No, We Won't Pay, No, Way Will We Pay, no NO We Won't pay...  Or "That's not covered"

(Short story.. Girl lends her boyfriend her brand new Chevy Avlanche... He runs from the cops, takes out a barraicade, iinjures a couple of workers and slides out on the rails of what will be a bridge (no concrete, just the main I-Beams)  Took a crain to lift him off the bridge, tow bill hit three grand.  The kicker... Her insurance agent told her her boyfriend, who, by the way, had had his driving privlidges revoked, was a "Named Excluded Driver" so.. They did not pay her so much as $0.01, not a penny did she get, car totalled of course)

Truckers, by the way, are good sources of info on bad streatechs of road... After all, they learn them quickly or wish they had
Steve said:
Received information from someone travelling through that two people were? seriously hurt In RV Wreck On I-75 South near Chatenooga.
They were seriously hurt in a wreck involving an RV pulling an SUV near the Ringgold exit of I-75 on Sunday afternoon.

Any chance you can be a little more specific about the location? I'd like to mark it on my mapping software.
i drive a semi thru there every day and have no problems and have pulled a camper thru there.......questions.....are u using a weight distribting hitch? is it hooked up right? the spring bars are there to level out your car and trailer.......if u have a problem with swaying the u need to add a sway bar sometimes 2 depending on the length of your trailer......my experiance on the road with rvers are they do not have a clue on proper hitching.....ive seen wrecks where a guy was towing a 35'' tralier with just the ball on his bumper....... another thing to remeber your pulling a lot more weight,  slow down.....dont make sudden lane changes.....start braking sooner.....my advise is to get informed on the proper ways to tow a trailer or car and also learn how to drive a large motor home.....just dont jump in it and take off......i drive for a living and it scares me to be beside a retiree that is scared of his motorhome....
Most trailer brake controllers on the market are just short of garbage - since manufacturers don't want the liability of tapping into the vehicle's brake lines they rely on secondary signals to determine how to apply the trailer brakes.  Inertial based controllers can become confused by a change in direction or road pitch and will release the trailer brakes at unexpected times - bad news if you're braking hard in the middle of a turn.

My favorite experience was at the junction of AZ 71 and US 60.   It's a T intersection on a slight downgrade, shortly after a set of railroad tracks.  The bouncing caused by crossing the tracks confused the controller and it released the trailer brakes at the worst possible moment.  I wound up being unable to stop at the intersection and had to turn onto US 60 at a high rate of speed.   Fortunately there was no oncoming traffic.

I recently picked up a used MasterBrake controller and installed it in the truck that pulls my Arctic Fox trailer, replacing a Tekonsha Prodigy, which is one of the best inertia based brake controllers.   The MasterBrake places a sensor in the hydraulic system and uses the pressure reading to apply the trailer brakes in direct proportion to the vehicle's braking.  It makes a night and day difference in not only the smoothness and consistancy of the trailer braking, but how the rig handles during braking.   I'm literally not aware the trailer is there while stopping - anywhere from a light application to a panic stop.
We get through that area about two weeks ago. Yes, it is a bit stressfull do to the amount of traffic. One has to wonder if the 70 MPH speed limit might have something to do with it. I believe that there are certian areas that should have reduced speed limits. More importantly they should be enforced. Secondly you should have a brake system on your towed vehicle. I would never travel without mine. I also have a remote system directly into the tow vehicle's brake system so I know that the brakes are applied. It is also a good idea, as mentioned in an earlier post, each time when I stop I always do a walk around. I check tires, connections, tow bar and any leaks. It's just smart.

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