Semi Trailer Brilliant Recovery!

Submitted: Wednesday, Sep 25, 2019 at 09:54
ThreadID: 139102 Views:5179 Replies:6 FollowUps:8
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I have just watched the dash cam footage in an ABC news article.

See link below.

Whilst the recovery of the semi may have been “brilliant” I question how the rig got into the situation in the first place. Looking at the footage multiple times it looks like the truck prime mover ran off the road and was then jerked back onto the road. The rapid change in direction of the prime mover causing the rear trailer motion.

It looks like driver inattention to me that caused the situation in the first place.

Not ever having driven a B double I am not qualified to criticise. It just looks strange to me as to the manner in which the rear trailer sway was induced.

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Reply By: RMD - Wednesday, Sep 25, 2019 at 10:18

Wednesday, Sep 25, 2019 at 10:18
I think you are spot on. It appears to be suddenly corrected and THEN the trailer sways. He continues and it pulls the rig straight again. Keeping going is the only thing he could have done. ONLY after it was over did he brake or change anything, which people saw and interpreted that as a magnificent save. Just lucky his inattention didn’t crash it. He was most likely fully awake afterwards though. Adrenalin is a great reviver.
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Reply By: Mick O - Wednesday, Sep 25, 2019 at 22:54

Wednesday, Sep 25, 2019 at 22:54
I also concur with your thoughts. Driver drifts off the road to the left either through distraction or carelessness. He is lucky. That sudden correction when realising that they have drifted off the road has resulted in the serious injury and death of so many drivers on our roads, both young and old. It takes a great degree of skill to fight the startle reflex that makes you jerk the wheel to correct the errant drift off the bitumen.
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, Sep 26, 2019 at 07:48

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019 at 07:48
You are right Mick. So often the problem is not just getting two wheels off the road, it is the correcting over-reaction that puts the vehicle into an uncontrollable swerve.
I could offer that young women in particular are prone to impetuous over-reaction but if I did it may be viewed as sexist so I won't suggest that.

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Follow Up By: RMD - Thursday, Sep 26, 2019 at 08:12

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019 at 08:12
Quite right Allan, but I have one question, When did you leave the diplomatic service?
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Reply By: Ron N - Thursday, Sep 26, 2019 at 00:12

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019 at 00:12
I'm in agreement with all. Nothing "brilliant" about a swerve back onto the highway, after running off the road due to plain carelessness - or outright distraction, as is more likely the case.

This sheer carelessness when driving, gets a lot of people killed - and truck drivers (particularly those driving B-doubles and road trains) are expected to have superior driving skills and experience.

But unfortunately, the level of driving skills is still too low in many sections of the trucking industry.

I recently followed a tandem skip-bin truck along Reid Hwy (W.A.), heading towards Midland, at around 6:00AM.
It was still dark, and raining lightly, and as I came up behind the truck, I could see both right rear tyres were more than half flat.

But the driver was sitting on 90kmh, and totally oblivious to the half-flat tyres.
After several kms, the traffic all pulled up at the lights at the intersection of Roe Hwy, Gt Northern Hwy and Reid Hwy.

I pulled into the lane to the right of the skip-bin truck, got out and went back to the truck driver to tell him he was running two half-flat tyres on the rear.

But he had to take his music earpieces out of his ears to be able to hear what I was saying - and at the news, he looked quite surprised.

Despite being able to see the bulging tyres in his rear view mirror, if he'd looked, it was pretty obvious he hadn't looked in the mirror for some time, he was just one "switched-off operator".

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Thursday, Sep 26, 2019 at 08:21

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019 at 08:21
All good to have/expect experience in Large vehicle drivers, but many are younger blokes and their employer doesn't really like them to throw a B double around and corner hard etc to get experience. In real life they may have a scare or always drive within the laws of physics. Either way when something goes wrong the result is predictable. Not talking about manoeuvering skills and vehicle placement/negotiating corners etc.

Just how some spell fisiks or their understanding of it is the problem.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Thursday, Sep 26, 2019 at 10:25

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019 at 10:25
RMD, I'm old enough to remember when people with East-West (across the Nullarbor) trucking businesses, would not employ anyone under 25 to drive East-West - and even at that, anyone wanting to do East-West truck driving, had to demonstrate top-class driving skills and experience, to get the job.
It was a source of pride to be an East-West truck driver.

These blokes not only had to have superior driving skills, they had to have initiative, be able to change multiple truck tyres, as well as wheels, in remote areas, without killing themselves, or having the truck or trailer fall off the jack.

They were expected to be able to fix any moderate mechanical problem with the truck, to keep the rig going.

They had to contend with vast distances where they saw few people or vehicles, and had minimal communications, making their decision-making skills very important.

Today, we have "truck drivers" (and I use the term loosely), who are not allowed to even change a truck wheel - they have to call up the main office, and the office will send out a "specialised" tyre fitter from Bridgestone or Beaurepaires - and every second truck today has automatic transmission, so no gear-changing skills needed there, either.

This whole trend of "dumbing down" operators of every type of equipment and vehicle, continues on an accelerating path every day - and I have little doubt the majority of the population in the next few years will have no ability or skills whatsoever, they will be totally reliant on computers and AI to do everything for them.

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Follow Up By: RMD - Thursday, Sep 26, 2019 at 11:21

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019 at 11:21
The A I you mentioned as a factor, might be Artificial Insemination to get only the best gene pool of truck drivers.
They have to have everything done for them because most of the newer drivers have only wrangled with Xbox controls previously if their lives. you know how hard those games are, so skill levels must be excellent. Their score said so. Most truck drivers can multi task, ie, driving and texting at the same time. See it everyday. Delivery drivers are definitely the best, a proven record of continual communication while getting to next delivery.
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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, Sep 26, 2019 at 09:04

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019 at 09:04
Interesting that the truck driver hit his hazard lights as soon as he had it stabilised. Wonder how long he left them on? Maybe until he had finished changing his underpants? lol

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Reply By: Ron N - Thursday, Sep 26, 2019 at 23:39

Thursday, Sep 26, 2019 at 23:39
Here's another brilliant example of the quality of todays truck drivers - a truckie who flies down the ranges into Adelaide on the South Eastern Freeway, at excessive speed, using only brakes - instead of holding the truck back at a low descent speed in low gears, and only touching the brakes occasionally.

The result is entirely predictable - the bloke loses his (smoking and fading) brakes, and runs through a red light at the intersection at the bottom of the descent - narrowly missing another vehicle.

How do these blokes get behind the wheel of big rigs with so little truck-driving knowledge and instruction??

Truck drivers near miss on Sth Eastern Fwy, Adelaide

Cheers, Ron.

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Reply By: 9900Eagle - Friday, Sep 27, 2019 at 04:23

Friday, Sep 27, 2019 at 04:23
John, Trailers can get out of hand very quickly as the further back you go the worse the sway flick is compounded and he was lucky to get that one back from the brink.

I see a lot of rhetoric here about truck drivers but as usual, much of it just picks on individual cases or supposition.

Now to start with a very, very high percentage of truck drivers are well over 50, many in the 60's and some like me who lasted into their 70's before giving it away. They are not pups but on occasion do make mistakes the same as EVERYONE on the road, that is except for the perfect ones.

Now if others would like to read the following correct quote regarding heavy vehicles please do and get a true picture and these are 2019 stats.

Heavy Truck Involvement
Heavy truck accidents cause considerable more damage than normal vehicle accidents. Contributing factors are the time it takes trucks to respond to unexpected road conditions because of their total weight. It takes a truck considerably more time to slow down and stop than it does for a regular vehicle.
Over 80% of crashes with heavy truck involvement are classified as multiple vehicle and only 10% are counted as single vehicle incidents. Comparing this to the statistic that 45% of non-truck involved road crashes are classified as single vehicle, reveals that truck drivers are much less likely to crash on their own than normal car drivers. 15% of all road crash fatalities and 4% of all road crash injuries involve heavy trucks, but only 20% of those crashes are attributed as the truck driver’s fault, demonstrating that on average truck drivers are safer drivers than other vehicle drivers.

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Follow Up By: Member - J&A&KK - Friday, Sep 27, 2019 at 06:52

Friday, Sep 27, 2019 at 06:52
Thanks for the comments Eagle.

As stated in my opening thread I have no experience in driving a B double. I do understand the physics involved with a long heavy load and multiple linkages.

My post was not meant to be a criticism of truck drivers in general. It was just an observation that the prime mover did not appear to “need” to leave the bitumen in the first place. If the truck prime mover had stayed on the bitumen the “brilliant save” would have been unnecessary.

We all learn from our mistakes, and if the B double driver was young, he has hopefully learned something apart from washing his pants.

Why the prime move left the bitumen is just speculation that it was driver inattention. It could have been other things.

I am a firm believer in statistics and the normal distribution. 3% of drivers will be brilliant and 3% hopeless with the rest in the middle.

Cheers John
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Follow Up By: 9900Eagle - Friday, Sep 27, 2019 at 09:31

Friday, Sep 27, 2019 at 09:31
Sorry mate, I didn't mean to imply that there was anything wrong with your post or any malice n it.

My reply, was more for the few knockers that straight away stuck the fangs in to young drivers, drivers from other countries and truck drivers without even knowing the real stats.

He was one lucky fella to have caught it when he did.

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Follow Up By: RMD - Friday, Sep 27, 2019 at 16:18

Friday, Sep 27, 2019 at 16:18
I agree many drivers are experienced and not young either. While driving a 12.5m coach, 49 people on board near Coffs Harbour down the Pacific Hwy, 2 in the morning at 103kmh, a B double quickly, very quickly caught up and tailed me. I could easily see the red reflection of my rh tail light in his Bull light, around 600mm from the coach rear at 103kmh. I had a second driver sleeping in a bunk 150mm inside the rear fibreglass. That meant the B double bull bar was about to kill him. I turned off the pacific onto the north entry to Coffs to evade him. 25 min later, a Bdouble of same description had run up the rear of a parked Double about 30 km south of Coffs. I was fortunate. I later checked such a reflection with another vehicle to make sure I wasn't imagining it.

While parked at Tarcutta in roadside, another 2am night drive, I checked the water level after a repair and parked a bit more than a vehicle width from the road embankment. I had barely closed theRHs side bin and walked to front and a B double at approx. 95kmh went between the coach and the wall. I had been standing there 5 seconds beforehand. 2 rigs racing each other was the situation. Again I was fortunate, because 5 seconds earlier he would have killed me. However, I have a balanced view and seen many very skilled drivers of doubles.
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