"We like camping better!" --Raymond Alexander Kukkee

view of the north shore Critter Pond, KOA Canandaigua NY [c] 2009 jcb

Towing a travel trailer: A brief encounter and a "what if?"

by Jim Bessey, editor

I've talked about travel trailer towing safety at length in these two posts:
towing a travel trailer with a pick-up truck
Before you go: Safety checklist
On the road: Safe towing tips

Just last week, I had occasion to be very happy that I was not towing the camper. Here's what happened...

Why, oh why, do moronic drivers pull out or turn left directly in front of me on the road?? Please tell me.

Saturday, on the way to our reunion picnic, some idiotic woman made a sudden left turn from the oncoming lane directly in front of my 55-mph-moving bumper. I feathered the brakes and hammered the horn. I actually saw her brace for the impact!

Had I been moving a bit faster, or paying as little attention as she was, my SIX THOUSAND POUND truck would have plowed into her passenger-side door, perhaps all the way into her seat -- most likely fatal for her.

We'd have suffered bruises from our seat belts and the air bags, and the truck would have been totalled. But she would probably have been dead.

Why? Was she on the phone? Texting? Doing her make-up? Daydreaming?

I drive a big truck, with bright white daytime running lights blazing. I'm careful, perhaps a bit compulsive about defensive driving (with good reason?), and rarely exceed the speed limit. When I'm pulling my 4000# camper (for a total of five tons, if you're mathematically-inclined), I'm downright paranoid.

I'm 50 years old, have driven nearly a million miles (not kidding), my brakes need some work and my reflexes aren't nearly as good as my teenage son's are. Yet every day, invariably, someone along my way seems to dare me to hit them. I haven't killed anyone yet; but I wonder...

Will the day come when I'm a half-second too slow on the brakes? When I just happen to be distracted for the slightest moment? When someone really DOES cut it just too damned close?
If I had been pulling the camper on Saturday, there's no way in hell I could have avoided hitting that woman who turned in my path. That would have ruined my vacation, and probably the rest of her life (or ended it). I pray it never happens that way.

Does this only happen to me? Somehow I doubt it. Does it happen to you?

This post originally appeared as a forum reply on Helium.com, here: I just gotta Rant... _______________________________________________
Have you ever had an unfortunate on-the-road incident during a camping trip? What happened? Was your vacation ruined?

Here's a good guide from Amazon.com: Towing is not for the faint of car; Be careful when choosing a vehicle to pull trailer.(Financial Wire): An article from: Winnipeg Free Press


  1. Jim, you answered your own question. They are morons! Hence, they have no sense in them and yes, they will eventually kill themselves. Hardly your fault.

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