Even truck owners who are experienced in towing a boat, camper, or trailer know that you have to be extra cautious on the highways. Towing a heavy load dramatically changes the handling of the truck. Something as simple as a heavy gust of wind, pothole, or steering correction can throw the weight distribution off, putting the truck driver and others at risk of an accident.
Deadly Pickup and SUV Accident in Cheyenne County
On June 26, 2020, a family from Aurora was taking their boat out for the weekend. The driver, 45-year-old Jian Zhong, was driving an F-150 and towing a boat on a trailer. The truck was heading westbound on Highway 40 between Kit Carson and Hugo.
The truck was passing a semi-truck, driving in the eastbound lane, when it struck a Chevy Silverado going eastbound. The Ford caught fire and all 4 occupants died. The four occupants of the Silverado also died at the scene of the accident or at the hospital. An 8-year-old boy and 9-year-old girl were among the victims.
Passing While Towing a Boat
The section of Highway 40 where the crash occurred is relatively flat and open. However, passing a semi-truck on a 2-lane highway has to be done with plenty of time to make the pass and enough speed to pass quickly. Even if the road is flat, the acceleration and deceleration of an F-150 towing a boat can be compromised, taking more time to get up to speed and more time to slow down.
Passing a semi may also cause some trailer sway. Trailer sway can be caused by steering wheel movements, high winds, or even the change in airflow off a large tractor trailer. Drivers are generally supposed to take their foot off the accelerator to regain control, which can further compromise the driver's ability to pass the other vehicle in time.
Passing while towing takes more planning and effort compared to passing in a passenger vehicle. It also takes careful judgment and if you are not sure you can make the pass with enough of a safety buffer, do not make the pass.
Driver Survives Truck Plunge 700 Feet Down Mountainside
On June 24, 2020, William Hardaway was helping a friend move from Littleton to Arizona. Hardaway was driving westbound through Wolf Creek Pass, driving a Dodge pickup and pulling a trailer with a Jeep and a UTV. According to CBSN Denver, “Hardaway's truck went across the lanes of traffic, off the shoulder and hit a tree, before rolling down the mountainside.”
The truck plunged 700 feet down the mountainside, landing in a creek. Hardaway suffered compound fractures and spinal injuries but when the truck started filling up with water, he realized he had to get out of the cab. He spent the night hoping he would make it out alive.
The next day, Colorado State Patrol Trooper Josh Lewis saw skid marks going off the road in the Wolf Creek Pass, and stopped to take a closer look. The trailer was spotted and the officer investigated the scene. Within about 20 minutes, Hardaway was found. After 2 days in the intensive care unit, he was released.
Truck Towing Trailer Accidents in Colorado
Inexperienced drivers who do not know how to handle towing a trailer can put other drivers and passengers at risk of injury. If you were injured in a traffic accident involving a trailered boat or camper, you should not have to pay the price for another driver's inexperience. Contact accidentdenver.com today at 303-642-8888 for a free consultation. We are here waiting for you.
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