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13 Travel Trailer Horrible Accidents, And What They Did Wrong

Published on July 8th, 2019 by Camper Report
This post was updated on November 17th, 2020

13 Travel Trailer Horrible Accidents, And What They Did Wrong

If you’re reading this post, I think you know what to expect. But there are a few things you should know before we start discussing and looking through these different travel trailer accidents.

First off, we need to keep in mind that each of the accidents listed below shows live footage of traffic accidents. This means that real people and vehicles were hurt in each of them. As such, we need to treat each accident with an air of respect, even if they might seem humorous at first.

Secondly, each video below came from the YouTube website. Many of them are parts of larger compilations of accidents. Not all of the accidents are applicable to the topic of travel trailer crashes though, so not every entry on the video made the cut.

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Some clips are included in the same compilation, so the video will be listed more than once. When this is the case, I’ve adjusted the time stamps for each accident. Just click the play button and you’ll see the correct accident for each specific entry.

Because this is a post about traffic accidents, specifically ones involving travel trailers, some of the videos can be quite intense. There’s a lot of destruction involved and people can and do die in situations like this. Brace yourself for the possibility of graphic and violent content when you view the following video clips.

Not every clip contains this imagery, but it’s still advisable that you only watch them if you are 18 or older. These are also high stakes situations filmed by real people, so some language is present in these examples.

Finally, neither myself nor the website was involved with the editing or music choice for any of these videos.

Some of them contain music that doesn’t fit the severity of the situation or titles that seem to mock the misfortune of the drivers involved. Please know that our hearts go out to the people who suffered in these accidents and we don’t want to make light of their situations.

With all this in mind, let’s look into 13 accidents involving travel trailers, and what the drivers could have done to prevent them.

RV trailer sway

This accident shows an extreme consequence of trailer sway while you’re on the road. This is something that every trailer owner needs to know about, and it’s something that can usually be avoided before it gets this bad.

As you can see above, trailer sway is a problem that occurs when an attached trailer begins to drift off track and over correct back and forth. If it’s not properly corrected by a driver, it can lead to both vehicles flipping over and additional damages to other drivers.

This problem usually happens when you’re driving a back-heavy trailer at high speeds. The sway itself is usually triggered by wind hitting the sides of a trailer. Sudden changes of direction can also contribute to an unstable trailer. If trailer operators also travel past semi trucks, the slipstream of turbulence around them can cause trailer sway as well.

If you notice your trailer beginning to sway back and forth, there are a few things you can do to prevent it from getting worse. First off, DO NOT speed up or brake suddenly.

Simply take your foot off the accelerator and hold the steering wheel straight. If you’re surrounded by cars at the time, you should also activate your hazard lights to let them know that you’re unstable.

Let your vehicle slow down naturally and continue to keep the wheel as straight as possible. Don’t try to swerve into your trailer’s sway because that will just increase its momentum.

Once you’ve regained some control, get off the road and head toward a safe place where you can park. Then readjust the weight load in your trailer so that it’s more front-heavy.

Trailer sway is the culprit of a lot of travel trailer accidents, so this is important to know right off the bat.

Once again, the problem in this video is incorrectly handled trailer sway. This is a good example of why you shouldn’t try to manage the swerving yourself, but let it right itself while you hold the wheel straight.

One of the biggest mistakes in this example is the fact that the driver of this trailer doesn’t slow down once they realize there’s a problem. You can see them getting further and further ahead of the person filming this.

Situations like this one are not times that you should worry about maintaining the speed limit. The faster you’re going, the more damage you can cause. So to prevent this situation, the driver should have held the wheel steady and taken their foot off the accelerator. This would have helped them control the situation and maintain a more manageable speed.

This is an especially sad example because it would have been easy to correct at the beginning. It’s such a small movement at first and it would have been easy to straighten out. Always be aware of what’s happening with your trailer while you’re driving so you can address mistakes as they happen.

Make sure you have the proper hitch for your trailer

This is what I was talking about when I mentioned accidents that might seem funny on first glance. While it’s a good thing that no one died or was injured in this example, there was still a good amount of damage done to the trailer and the traffic light. It’s extremely lucky that there were no cars next to it on the street and no pedestrians on the sidewalk.

The driver will still have to pay for damages, so try not to take this one too lightly.

The mistake in this video is, obviously, that the trailer was not properly connected to the tow vehicle. It’s hard to tell from this angle and our limited information, but it seems like the hitch must have broken or disconnected right before this incident.

Since we don’t know the exact cause for this disconnect, here’s some general advice to help you avoid these problems. First off, make sure that you have the proper hitch for your trailer. Not every hitch and connector are universal so make sure it’s a proper fit. Too loose or too tight, and it can come off at the worst time.

Another good preventative measure would be safety chains. These are chains that connect to the base of the tow vehicle and the trailer. They act as an additional layer of protection if the hitch should come undone. They aren’t meant for heavy use, but they can keep your vehicles hooked together until you can park and fix the situation.

The driver of this trailer made a few mistakes here. As you can see, this video isn’t shot in the highest quality, but it seems like the driver was trying to crest a hill that was quite steep.

From what I can see, the road conditions also don’t seem ideal. The road seems to be wet, and there might even be mud on the road. The car is also quite small and doesn’t seem to have a four-wheel mode.

All of these factors combine to create a pretty bad situation. The car seems like it’s just barely big enough to haul the trailer. It doesn’t have much extra power to spare for making difficult hill climbs. As such, it doesn’t have the power to fight back once the weight of the trailer starts to pull it backward.

To prevent problems like the ones in this video, there are a few things you can do. First off, make sure that you’re towing trailers that your tow vehicle can safely handle. This trailer seems quite large in comparison to the car and it ultimately wins out when they fight against each other.

To keep things balanced and to help you through difficult situations like this, always leave a safety margin of 15 to 30 percent between your tow vehicle’s tow capacity and your trailer’s fully laden weight. Don’t push the upper limits of the tow capacity!

Finally, you need to be especially careful when you’re driving on wet roads. There is less traction and more of a risk of getting caught up in opposing water flows. Approach dangerous road conditions with extra caution when you’re pulling a trailer.

This crash is an interesting case because it doesn’t seem to happen at very high speeds. Trailer sway may be a bit of an issue, but it doesn’t seem to be the main reason for the tip. The driver seems to be driving fairly straight and not going too fast.

It’s hard to tell exactly what caused this trailer to fall, but it seems like it may be improperly loaded. When trailers have the majority of their weight toward the back, it’s much easier for them to tip over on the road. It’s like when you ride in the back row of a roller coaster and feel the turns much more sharply. You’re on the receiving end of all the speed and inertia, so everything is intensified.

I wouldn’t say that this accident reflects a mistake on the driver’s part, but it could have been prevented if the trailer was loaded differently. Putting more weight toward the front would make it more balanced and less likely to tip.

This is another example of incorrectly handled trailer sway. As you can tell, the car and trailer are already swaying a little bit as they approach the semi truck. This is something that could have been corrected by slowing down and straightening out.

Their biggest mistake here was continuing forward and passing the semi truck. The turbulence of its slipstream made the shaking worse and threw the car off course. This then caused it to collide with the side of the semi and ultimately flip around.

As soon as they felt the balance start to shift this driver should have slowed down. They were not in a position to pass anyone, let alone a semi truck. Luckily it doesn’t look like there were any fatalities in this case, but that combination is a recipe for disaster.

This accident wasn’t directly caused by the trailer itself, but it was a situation that the driver should have been paying better attention to. It’s usually the highway driver’s duty to move out of the way when others are trying to mere, but in this case, all the adjacent lanes were occupied.

There was no safe way for the trailer to merge when it did, and the car had to choose between hitting the trailer and swerving into other lanes.

To prevent the damage in this example, the trailer driver should have been more attentive to their surroundings. This would have shown them that it wasn’t a safe time to merge. They could have slowed down and waited for an opening.

Doing this might have annoyed the car behind them, but it would have been better than causing all that damage. Trailer operators need to remember that they have the potential to cause much more harm than other cars on the highway.

To tell the truth, I’m having a hard time even figuring out what’s going through the mind of this trailer’s driver. What they did wasn’t necessarily damaging to a ton of people, but it was definitely ill-advised and illegal.

It’s important to follow the laws any time that you’re driving and this is even more true when you’ve got a large and heavy trailer in tow. This driver seems to be passing into multiple different lanes, and the car behind them seems to be following them. This is a bad example to other drivers and it ultimately ended with the other car stuck in the opposite lane.

And, I feel like this should go without saying, but you should never drive on the sidewalk. There are a lot of mistakes in this video and you should avoid all of them.

The main issue with this example is that the driver s either trying to merge without signaling, or is drifting dangerously inside their own lane. Either way, they get far too close for comfort to the other truck.

From what I can see, it looks like the trailers driver is trying to move out of the way of the tow vehicle with all the cars. It’s lane is ending, so it’s trying to make room. This is a good thing to do, except that the other lane is occupied!

It’s possible that the driver’s mirrors didn’t catch the truck because it was right next to it, but the driver needed to be more attentive. This could have easily been much worse. They should have slowed down and looked at their surroundings more closely when they realized that the lane was ending.

I have no idea how this trailer even got stuck in the first place! The solution to a stuck vehicle is never more engine power though. Once they realized that the trailer couldn’t get out on its own, the authorities and/or an auto-body shop should have been called.

The main advice I have for this example is to know the size limits of your trailer before you enter cramped spaces. Make sure that the space is wide and tall enough to accommodate you or else you could get stuck.

Also, don’t try to force your way out of tight places like this. You’ll just end up causing more damage in the end.

This video doesn’t highlight an accident as much as it shows the aftermath of one. It looked like the drivers of this trailer either tried to jump a curb, or had too wide of a turn when they were coming into the parking lot.

If it was the first one, you should never try to drive over a curb with a trailer. They have a low clearance on the botton and can easily get stuck on small ridges. They also don’t have the engine power of a car, so they can’t drive over the top of difficult terrain like this.

If it was a wide turn, than the drivers of this trailer should have been taking it slower and preparing in advance. Other cars on the road will give you more leeway if they see you preparing to turn. No one wants to get hit, so just let other driver’s know what your plans are.

Luckily the owners of this trailer called someone with the right equipment and didn’t try to pull out of this by themselves. That was the right call on their part.

It’s a little bit hard to see the trailer in this video, but it does pan over for a second. When I was looking through the description of this video, it says that this trailer actually got stuck in this parking garage, which triggered the sprinklers. So the trailer is the cause of everything that’s happening.

The solution for this problem is pretty simple. Make sure that you know the size limits of your trailer and don’t take them places where they don’t fit. Parking garages usually have signs that tell you the ceiling height so you can make sure you’ll fit.

This mistake caused a lot of inconvenience for everyone, and especially for the people who were stuck below and couldn’t leave because of this trailer. Be considerate of others and understand that parking garages are probably off limits once you’ve chosen to tow a trailer.

This video is a simulation and not a real-life example of a car crash, but I feel like it has an important message. This describes the dangers of towing a trailer and how a hitch can become detached on the road. This can cause the trailer to break loose and roll into oncoming traffic.

When your hitch isn’t connected properly, it’s prone to disconnecting during turns. Double check every piece of the hitch before you even go out onto the road. This video takes place in a controlled environment, but imagine the damage this could cause on the highway.

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