I just got back from a 4500 mile trip out west. Took in the Badlands Park and then crashed the Harley party at Sturgis. I crossed the Black Hills into WY then through Casper and Laramie to go south into CO. I had always wanted to do the Trail Ridge Parkway and the views didnÔÇÖt disappoint. Fortunately I got beautiful weather up there and with the narrow road, steep drop offs, no guard rails, and strong winds above 12,000 ft it was really a thrill.
There was an incident on the way home which IÔÇÖd like to relate. I was headed east on I80 in Iowa. It was just past the flooded Skunk River. It was surprising to see what looked like lakes until you saw the roofs of cars and half submerged houses in the middle of them. Anyway, further a long there was a pick-up towing a camping trailer with a serious fish tailing problem. The fish tail was intermittent but started to get so bad that I could smell the burning rubber from its tires. Me and the other traffic were slowing to stay out of this guys way. Finally he got hold of it and regained control. I was trying to make time and decided to pass the rig when it was safe so that if something happened it would happen behind me. As I approached he passed another vehicle and was accelerating to better than 75-80 mph. I decided then that this guy was clueless and that I didnÔÇÖt want to be side by side with him for even an instant. I slowed in the left lane and let him go on ahead in the right lane. Sure enough the trailer started to swerve again and this time there was no holding it back. With me about 50 yds behind him the trailer swerved hard to the right digging up a bunch of dirt from beyond the shoulder. The rear of the pick-up lost traction so it was now pointing to the left and in an instant shot across my lane into the grass median strip and into a ditch where both truck and trailer flipped over violently.
I couldnÔÇÖt pull over because of traffic coming from behind. By the time I made the shoulder I was a good quarter of a mile down the road. Drivers in the west bound lane were stopping at the scene and I figured there wasnÔÇÖt much I could do. The ditch in the median strip was the only thing that prevented the rig from going into the opposite lanes. I always thought that ditch was for drainage but it sure worked to prevent an even greater disaster.
Not sure if thereÔÇÖs a lesson to be learned from this except that if you see a vehicle with an unstable trailer in tow give him a very wide berth.