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A recent accident in Somerset involving an HGV and a car towing a caravan shows just what can happen when drivers are careless. A dash cam mounted on the HGV recorded the entire incident, clearing the HGV driver of any wrongdoing. The car driver, on the other hand, could probably use some trailer training before heading back out onto the road with a new caravan. It’s a wonder no one was hurt or killed in the accident.

The video shows the HGV driver accelerating from a complete stop on the A39 between Street and Glastonbury in Somerset. As he worked his way through the gears, a red car safely overtakes on the right before gently gliding into the right lane. A few seconds later, the HGV driver is seen braking hard and moving to the left, as a blue car towing a caravan overtakes on the right before quickly attempting a left lane change while running out of space.

Unfortunately, as the car and trailer cut in front of the HGV, the caravan clipped the front of the cab. This caused a jack-knife that severely damaged the caravan, causing it to break apart and strew its contents on the street. What was left of the caravan remained attached to the car. Amazingly, the car and caravan did not turn over. They were moving fast enough that they could have. It is also amazing that the HGV driver got his truck stopped as quickly as he did.

The Daily Mail, which published the video, said the HGV driver is a 24-year-old who was so shaken by the accident he did not sleep well that evening. They gave no details of the car driver.

Vehicle and Trailer Matching

Video evidence clearly shows the car driver was in the wrong in Somerset. He should never have attempted to overtake in such a short amount of space, especially while towing a trailer behind him. Having said that, we cannot help but wonder whether the car and trailer were mismatched.

The law requires the combined weight of a trailer and tow vehicle to be under a certain limit unless the driver has the appropriate endorsements on his/her licence. Moreover, while this is appropriate, it can lead to trailers and cars coming in at just under the limit despite being unsafe together. This may have been the case in Somerset. The car in question barely looks large enough to handle the caravan it was towing.

We may never know whether the car and trailer were correctly matched. However, we believe it is safe to say that trailer training might have prevented the crash had the car driver adhered to some of the fundamental principles of towing. It is accidents such as these that cause us to remind our readers continually to undergo trailer training, even if their caravan and tow vehicle combinations do not require a special licence.

Be safe. Undergo trailer training for yourself and everyone else on the road.

Sources:

  1. Daily Mail – https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3030474/Dramatic-moment-caravan-completely-destroyed-driver-towing-loses-control-trying-overtake.html

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