Watch This Speeding SUV Lose Control and Flip While Towing a Camper
Trailer sway strikes again.
As we've discussed before, safely towing a heavy load—be it a janky old Subaru rally car or just a big old camper—is far more involved than simply connecting truck and trailer and hitting the gas. Weight balance is key, as are smooth inputs and a safe traveling speed. It appears the driver of the Ford Excursion in this video followed none of these rules with predictably disastrous results.
Dashcam footage from a semi-truck driver shows the accident happened on a clear, dry day on Interstate 82 in central Washington State. All seems well as the truck descends a hill, and the dashcam's built-in speedometer shows he's cruising safely at around 65 mph. That was apparently too slow for the driver of the Excursion, who overtakes the truck at around 0:48. Things begin to unravel almost immediately.
The trailer is already swaying dangerously as the unfortunate driver finishes passing the semi, and it quickly oscillates out of control. The SUV veers off the left side of the road and both truck and trailer disappear into a cloud of dust as they roll several times in a violent wreck. Fortunately, the truck driver stops and reports in the video description that the man driving the Excursion and his two sons were uninjured.
There are a couple of lessons to take away from this video. First, it's pretty obvious that speed and a lack of finesse played huge roles here. The trailer likely began swaying as the driver pulled into the left lane abruptly to pass the truck, and his decision to wrestle with the wheel instead of immediately engaging the trailer brakes to slow the oscillation is what led to the wreck. Of course, it's also possible the trailer was unbalanced with more weight in the rear, which badly exacerbates trailer sway.
But still, even the most perfectly balanced trailer in the world can step out when confronted with a windy highway, jerky steering inputs, and a lead-footed driver. This wreck also illustrates the dangers of riding in a trailer like this at highway speed—camper trailers aren't really designed with rollover safety in mind. Hopefully another video like this doesn't come out of Labor Day Weekend, where millions will take to the road for one last gasp of summer.