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Towing Trailers


Anderzander
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Hmmmmmm. Those that passed even the most rigorous test can still lack common sense / act impulsively at times. A qualification does not guarantee perfect performance and behaviour for evermore. 

Edited by Happyoldgit
I hate it when the phone replaces "passed" with "past" so I changed it back again!
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9 hours ago, Happyoldgit said:

Hmmmmmm. Those that past even the most rigorous test can still lack common sense / act impulsively at times. A qualification does not guarantee perfect performance and behaviour for evermore. 

I'm with you on that!  A test is no substitute for experience.

A guy I work with passed his trailer test then a few days later bought a 3 axle plant trailer and went to tow a mini-digger.  He only got a few miles before he rolled the whole rig off the side of a motorway.  Wrecked the truck, trailer and digger!  I think the test had given him too much confidence - but didn't teach enough about how to load, how to drive, maybe about appropriate speeds.  I think mostly it's about the feel of how the trailer is behaving - and what to do about it if it's all going a bit wobbly.  That's the thing you only get with experience.

I've had my share of frightening experiences towing - but I 'learned' on a small single axle trailer on the back of a Defender.  I doubt the trailer could have rolled the LR, regardless of how bad things went - but it soon taught me about weight distribution and the finer points of towing, which actually translate into towing safely.

The first time I towed a big (transporter) trailer, it was like a dream!  It was stable and I could see it in the wing mirrors.  I'm just glad I learned with a trailer where the consequences of getting it wrong were not too serious.

 

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The first time my wife towed was a 16 foot beaver tall on the back of my tomcat at night. So the perfect set up and time.......not, However we were on the motorway it was empty and I was with her (abet half asleep hence why she was driving). She wasn't phased by it and didn't reverse it. Later she collected the club trailer for me (2ton box trailer) she hitched towed and reversed it onto our drive without me there. When I asked her how it went she just said "I'm glad you weren't watching but it was ok". I think half the battle is spending time with somebody else who has towing experience and seat time even if it's only the passenger seat. She will happily tow anything I can throw at her but she does prefer if I load it (not that she can't).

Mike

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23 hours ago, simonr said:

I'm with you on that!  A test is no substitute for experience.

 

 

“Wisdom is the accumulation of experience.  Experience is usually from a lack of wisdom.”  (Terry Pratchett).

HOG, you’re quite right that a qualification is no substitute for experience, but it does give a safe basis from where to start gaining experience, or should if the course and test are correctly constructed.  As has been said a few times, a badly constructed course and test can give false confidence and be entirely counterproductive.  
 

But experience is also worthless without the correct attitude.  Someone with low experience but a cautious attitude and diligent approach to a task will outperform an experienced but slack person.  I see it all the time.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/17/2021 at 9:34 PM, Happyoldgit said:

Hmmmmmm. Those that passed even the most rigorous test can still lack common sense / act impulsively at times. A qualification does not guarantee perfect performance and behaviour for evermore. 

I suspect all of us have done this at sometime ........

I passed my test long ago, so can and have towed lots of different things over the years, but I believe the driving test and standards of driving are not what they were. I think EVERYONE should be made to tow a trailer as part of the standard test, as well as something like a JCB, and an articulated truck. Not particularly because they may ever tow or drive one of these things, but because they would have some first hand insight on how an articulated rig behaves, and be aware to give room on turns and roundabouts, and how the driver cannot always see you.  Also learn first hand how hard a JCB type thing or tractor to stop when cut up by some inconsiderate (word of your choice) 

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41 minutes ago, smallfry said:

I think EVERYONE should be made to tow a trailer as part of the standard test, as well as something like a JCB, and an articulated truck. Not particularly because they may ever tow or drive one of these things, but because they would have some first hand insight on how an articulated rig behaves, and be aware to give room on turns and roundabouts, and how the driver cannot always see you.  Also learn first hand how hard a JCB type thing or tractor to stop when cut up by some inconsiderate (word of your choice) 

I think everyone should spend some time on a low powered motorbike, but I guess the death rate would skyrocket!

I passed my motorcycle test on the same day as my car test and never touched another motorbile less than 2 years later as I expected to come to a sticky end.

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19 minutes ago, Anderzander said:

Motorbikes are a powerful learning tool. The vulnerability sharpens the mind in a way nothing else does I think. 

It does sharpen the mind, removes complacency and heightens situation awareness, I have to say nothing else is as exhilarating as riding a fast bike on or off road regards Stephen

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1 hour ago, smallfry said:

I suspect all of us have done this at sometime ........

I passed my test long ago, so can and have towed lots of different things over the years, but I believe the driving test and standards of driving are not what they were. I think EVERYONE should be made to tow a trailer as part of the standard test, as well as something like a JCB, and an articulated truck. Not particularly because they may ever tow or drive one of these things, but because they would have some first hand insight on how an articulated rig behaves, and be aware to give room on turns and roundabouts, and how the driver cannot always see you.  Also learn first hand how hard a JCB type thing or tractor to stop when cut up by some inconsiderate (word of your choice) 

This, with any large lorry/bus/tractor. I don't remember anything at all in my learning to drive (~2007), even within the theory test the older people wouldn't have done. It's probably only through my interest in all things lorry and agricultural machinery that I learnt about the space it takes to stop/manoeuvre things that large and heavy. Talking of the theory test, I found part of that extremely pointless as you lost points if you highlighted the danger/developing too soon :angry:. Wouldn't work and would take longer, but would be far better IMO talking through what you're looking at/judging as you drive.

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1 hour ago, landroversforever said:

Talking of the theory test, I found part of that extremely pointless as you lost points if you highlighted the danger/developing too soon :angry:. Wouldn't work and would take longer, but would be far better IMO talking through what you're looking at/judging as you drive.

Yes, this has always seemed strange to me, because almost everything is a potential hazard

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I've said this before on here and I'll say it again!

I agree about the theory test. I rode mopeds then motorcycles before cars and it gives you a better perception of dangers even as a carefree youth.

A BBC show about driving showed a clip where you had to spot dangers, at the end they announced that a Police Officer had spotted 18 potential problems, the slimy, gloating presenter asked how many did you spot much less for sure. As a motorcyclist I spotted 24.

 

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Several years ago I was towing the club trailer (2.5T 16ft box) with my tomcat. We were on a dual carriageway with a car coming down the slip road, the outside lane was full of traffic. It was quite clear the guy on the slip expected me to move, when I didn't he broke hard then drove straight into the side of the trailer. At no point had he realised I was towing a great big blue box, needless to say he was wide awake when we stopped. Fortunately minimal damage to either and we were both able to continue.

Mike

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On 9/28/2021 at 8:21 PM, landroversforever said:

Talking of the theory test, I found part of that extremely pointless as you lost points if you highlighted the danger/developing too soon :angry:. Wouldn't work and would take longer, but would be far better IMO talking through what you're looking at/judging as you drive.

Why wouldn't it work? It's exactly what you do if you sit an advanced driving test - you give a running commentary to the tester. You're also encouraged to give a running commentary to yourself when training, which is surprisingly effective (and pretty, well, surprising - you realise how often you fail to make decisions as early as you should when forced to make timely ones so you can vocalise them).

I sat my test well before the theory test came in, but I've had a go at a practice version of the hazard perception - I'd also have failed for identifying hazards too soon and identifying hazards that the test didn't consider hazards... Maybe it's better now, but that was a deeply flawed test!

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1 minute ago, geoffbeaumont said:

Why wouldn't it work? It's exactly what you do if you sit an advanced driving test - you give a running commentary to the tester. You're also encouraged to give a running commentary to yourself when training, which is surprisingly effective (and pretty, well, surprising - you realise how often you fail to make decisions as early as you should when forced to make timely ones so you can vocalise them).

I sat my test well before the theory test came in, but I've had a go at a practice version of the hazard perception - I'd also have failed for identifying hazards too soon and identifying hazards that the test didn't consider hazards... Maybe it's better now, but that was a deeply flawed test!

I mean it wouldn’t work as the way the testing is setup with theory passed first before you can do the practical. Combined with it probably making the test take longer too. 

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On 9/30/2021 at 3:35 PM, bishbosh said:

I often think the advertising campaign "Think Bike" should be amended / appended with "Think Biker, Think!" judging by the suicidal manoeuvres I witness all too frequently.

That's actually a very clever campaign. The human brain is very efficient at filtering out irrelevant sensory inputs so you can concentrate on the ones that you need to perform whatever task you're doing. Scientific studies (no, I'm not digging out the references* right now 😋) have shown that drivers e.g. pulling out of a junction see hazards they're expecting to see - so if they're expecting there may be cars, lorries or buses approaching then they'll notice any of them. But it's likely their brain will filter out the approaching motorcycle. In other words, when someone says "I looked, but he came out of nowhere!", they may well be being completely honest - they weren't being careless, they really did look but still failed to notice the bike.

If you can get people to think about motorcycles then their brains include them in the "relevant filter", and they notice them.

Obviously, works for anything else too - and is part of the reason even a hands free phone call (or anything else that takes your concentration) increases the risk of an accident - if your brain is focused work/whatever you can manage to filter out pretty much anything!

* Somewhere I've got a fascinating, if rather dry, book on the psychology of driving - it's pretty much a collection of scientific papers. That was one of the most interesting.

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On 9/30/2021 at 7:11 AM, miketomcat said:

Several years ago I was towing the club trailer (2.5T 16ft box) with my tomcat. We were on a dual carriageway with a car coming down the slip road, the outside lane was full of traffic. It was quite clear the guy on the slip expected me to move, when I didn't he broke hard then drove straight into the side of the trailer. At no point had he realised I was towing a great big blue box, needless to say he was wide awake when we stopped. Fortunately minimal damage to either and we were both able to continue.

Mike

I have had it both ways, oo er. I had a 4x4 pull out of a side road at night fully expecting me to evaporate before him and people so eager to let them out that they swerved across the front of me., but he was indicating so it must be my fault.

Then there was the dick in a RR Sport who drove at me head on in my lane as he has a RR and I should have used the cycle lane to give him room killing the cyclist already in it presumably.

Sorry in a fanting mood, still looking for petrol for my wife to visit patients this weekend.

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On a broader note. I was amazed how my kids were both taught by two different professional, full time, driving instructors the importance of keeping traffic flowing. How they should not come to a dead stop at junctions if they could help it but rather to keep rolling while you check if it is clear to proceed. How it is important to keep your foot on the clutch and vehicle in first gear when near the front at traffic lights and not to make use of engine braking. They both passed their tests within the last five years and were told that these things and others are what an examiner will be looking for during the practical test. Many aspects are so different how I was taught to drive [by a police examiner] around 46 yers ago so much so that I feel postively uncomfortable with how they drive whenever I am a passenger in their vehicles. Both are good, considerate drivers but the desire to keep shuffling on means the risks of actually not seeing something an approaching vehicle or bike are higher now.

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Similarly taught by a traffic officer, or whatever they were back 28 years ago, you were told not to keep your foot on the clutch as it wore things out, brakes were there for using alongside engine braking, and keeping the flow was never mentioned once.

Though now, with many more cars on the road, more jams I can sort of see the logic, dithering was always frowned upon and this is likely an extension of it.

With more robust vehicle componentry I guess the whole clutch thing makes little difference.

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I can see the logic but suspect clutch components will still wear prematurely.  I do wonder if some of the many mishaps at junctions and such are down to the taught urge to get a move on so people are not actually looking and responding to what is there but sometimes missed. Of course it was ever thus but people seem to be willing to pull out in front of close approaching traffic far more these days.

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Ahhhh, so its chaps like you I sit behind each day on my commute :P. It was the same when I was learning in ~2007. The idea behind the braking part is a lot to do with the fact brakes have improved vastly over the years and are cheap to replace. Comments were also made about the brakes being cheaper than a gearbox, but I don't see that having much merit. That said, the gearbox in the daily died last year after ~75k miles. As for the clutch.... I can't see it making that much difference to the life... I edge forward whenever it's needed and when the gearbox was replaced last year after ~75k of hard miles the clutch was still good enough to warrant not replacing it.

Going back to my tongue in cheek dig at the start, it makes a huge difference being ready to move off when the lights change. I think its a fair comment that the roads are a hell of a lot busier now than in yours/my parents day. My old dear is terrible at lights/junctions roundabouts, by the time the handbrake is off, and shes started moving I'd be a couple of car lengths gone already. I'm talking traffic light grand prix starts either. She'll also always come to a stop at a roundabout no matter what rather than looking and keeping going. Both of my routes to work include traffic lights and the number of times I'm ~15+ cars back and ready to go yet those within 5 cars of the front dither so much the ~6th person gets stopped again. The lot over the river you can easily get ~15-20 cars through it, but people are so slow at moving off it can take 4 changes of the lights to get though at least. That set of traffic lights backs up over a mile in the mornings and ~30min wait. 

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