Think about the last time you tossed an object into the back of your pickup truck and didn’t think twice about it. Most objects stay put but sometimes they don’t.
One Canadian recently survived a freak RV towing accident when a flying ratchet tie down caused nearly $6,000 in damage to a truck towing a fifth wheel trailer.
Nobody expects to join the freak RV towing accident club. But that’s exactly what happened to a Canadian snowbird hauling his triple-axle toy hauler fifth wheel last season.
The return trip from the Southwest to Canada was just like any other during the last five years. Canadian snowbird John Smith (not his real name) was enjoying an uneventful drive north in West Virginia while towing his 2009 Chevy Silverado and 40′ toy hauler down the highway.
Life was good at 55 miles-per-hour until the split second he felt a sickening jerk motion coming from the rear, followed by a loud “Pop!” explosion from the cab window.
Shocked and uncertain about what just happened, Smith instantly took his foot off the accelerator to stop the rig. He glanced in his rearview mirror and couldn’t believe what he saw.
The Chevy window shattered to pieces.
He managed to safely pull the 50-plus foot rig over to the shoulder. All he could see was shattered glass when he looked around the truck. But then he spotted a mysterious liquid trailing from underneath.
At that moment he understood the gravity of the situation. Smith quickly got he and his wife out of the truck, walked a good distance and then called his emergency roadside assistance provider. Within minutes they arrived at the scene. After dropping the RV at a nearby campground, they towed the truck to a repair shop. That’s when Smith was astounded to learn what caused the shattered truck bed window.
An ordinary ratchet tie down like this caused the freak RV towing accident.
According to Smith, somewhere between California and West Virginia he tossed the strap into the bed of his truck and forgot about it.
“The loose end of strap found it’s way down between the box and the cab,” he explained. “It wrapped around the drive shaft, taking the ratchet with it.”
The ratchet tie down didn’t just take out the rear window. “Then it continued down between the cab and box, damaging both, and then flailed around under the truck ripping off the fuel lines and shredding the fuel tank shroud,” he said.
Smith and his wife got lucky. The flying ratchet strap didn’t rupture the fuel tank. Had it done so he might not be alive to explain what happened. This freak RV towing accident is something that isn’t quite so unusual after all. Other people have experienced the expensive and potentially life-threatening damage from flying ratchet straps in online discussions like “Flying ratchet strap not good!”
The total cost to repair Smith’s truck? $5,900 Canadian dollars! The next time you toss something into the back of your pickup truck, think twice. Remember how even something as ordinary as a ratchet strap can cause a freak RV towing accident that hurts in more ways than one.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.