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Thread: What's My Load?

  1. #1
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    What's My Load?

    Interesting article on highway debris.

    Can you guess what this guy is hauling?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/11/us...th&oref=slogin

    I had a scary encounter a couple summers ago with a hydraulic jack that fell off a truck. Rush hour, traffic flowing at about 70 MPH, and this thing falls on the pavement RIGHT in front of me. Luckily I was in the left lane because I hit it with the left front and it put me up on the right 2 wheels. I managed to hold my lane (you should have seen the chaos behind me as cars were dodging what they must have thought was certain to turn into a major wreck).

    I was fortunate to have only lost a wheel and tire. That thing could have really torn up the undercarriage. It was quite the impact; like a small bomb went off under the front of the car. The flanges of the wheel were smashed in almost to the hub.

    Nice ending though; a co-worker was about 4 cars back of me and he pulled over behind me once I got to the shoulder and acted as a shield (big truck with flashers) while I changed the tire. He was pretty impressed at how high the left side of the car got without losing control.

    Sometimes it's good to be good, and a little lucky.

  2. #2
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    It almost looks like a small plane fuselage.

  3. #3
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    Maybe a big piece of some sort of rooftop ventilation/circulation equipment?

    Maybe he visited that rocket parts graveyard I saw recently (on Mythbusters I think?)

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    I hear you, FJD. My coworker was following a truck that lost its grill. The thing went through her windshield (thankfully, on the passenger side where nobody was sitting!)

    I was following a pickup loaded with loose boards. Every now and again one would slide out. I managed to get past him without damage to my car. Yikes.

    When I was 17 or 18, I was asked to bring a pickup full of tires to the dump. The dump was up a steep hill. The pickup's gate wasn't properly secured, and it came open at some point. Somehow, I didn't lose any tires. (Although I think I lost a year's growth when I realized just how much of a mess that could have caused and how close I came to making it.)

    Recently, a friend of my father's was helping us bring a large (real) oak TV cabinet to my home. The thing weighed a lot. It was put face-down in the pickup but the pickup didn't have any tie-downs. That day I learned why you want to secure your load even if the furniture is heavy, and that the Bernoulli effect is both real and significant. The 300+ pound cabinet literally flew out of the pickup. The one rope we had on it prevented it from completely destroying itself (and the glass on it wasn't damaged). Somehow, only one corner took scraping damage, but it doesn't really show unless you're looking for it.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

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    Be happy you don't live in some other countries...
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  6. #6
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    Someone was towing a trailer with their SUV and lost it while crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The bridge was practically shut down for several hours during yesterday evening's rush hour, with the only alternative a two-hour (on a good day) detour up to Delaware and around Baltimore.

    There was a controvery for years in the state of Maryland about whether trucks hauling gravel and such should be required to cover their loads. I thought this would be a slam dunk, having been showered many times with wind-blown debris from such vehicles, but apparently the truckers' lobby (or somebody) managed to keep squashing it. I think it finally passed a few years ago - at least I haven't had such problems in quite some time.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  7. #7
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    A truck once dropped a bit of submarine (I think; possibly battleship) turbine on the Tacoma-Narrows Bridge. It punched a hole in the bridge deck and paralyzed traffic for probably a day--for miles around, in fact, because of all the people waiting for the bridge. (We should've just driven down to Olympia and back up the other side of the Sound instead of waiting for three hours. It would've taken less time.)
    _____________________________________________
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose View Post
    I hear you, FJD. My coworker was following a truck that lost its grill. The thing went through her windshield (thankfully, on the passenger side where nobody was sitting!)
    Thru the windshield - now THAT is scary.

    I dodged a sheet of plywood once. That one was truly luck since it had come off a truck and was flitting thru the air like a deranged butterfly. I just guessed my best, did a quick swerve and it went flying by (in a relative manner) at about 3' off the ground at 5 or 6 feet to the side.

    I'm pretty sure there are rules around here about securing loads, including tarps over gravel and the like. Enforcement though is another thing.

    p.s. - I love those pictures. Reminds me of the one-wheeled haystack segment in The Aristocats. Everybody wants to be a cat.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by farmerjumperdon View Post

    Can you guess what this guy is hauling?
    A trailer?

    Quote Originally Posted by farmerjumperdon View Post
    I had a scary encounter a couple summers ago with a hydraulic jack that fell off a truck...I was fortunate to have only lost a wheel and tire. That thing could have really torn up the undercarriage. It was quite the impact; like a small bomb went off under the front of the car...
    Some years back I was driving a stake-bed truck about 5:30 a.m. while it was still dark. Looming ahead was a dark object in the middle of the lane, and I slowed down and moved right one lane. A fellow behind me in a big pickup grew impatient, sped up and passed me on the left. Just before impact, I could see the dark object was a wheel-barrow up-side-down. I braced the steering wheel, expecting the PU to be flipping one way or another.

    Remarkably, the driver hit it straight-on at full speed, and nothing happened except for a loud BANG...and then his truck lit up like a bottle-rocket as sparks flew out in a spectacular rooster-tail!!!

    Needless to say, he did eventually slow down and pull over, but I was truly expecting a multi-vehicle pile-up.

  10. #10
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    This is a pretty scary subject. I've seen several incidents and been victim of one myself. Years ago a large block of wood fell off the back of a trailer used to haul construction equipment, directly in front of me. No avoiding it, I hit it with the right front. I stopped and inspected, everything seemed ok. Next day while parking a tie rod broke, front wheels wound up pointing in different directions. A couple of weeks later the tire failed as well.

    I've also seen a door fly out of a pickup and land across someone's windshield, fortunately without any consequent crash, as well as a TV set proceeding down the road in front me at about 50MPH. Someone had all their worldly possessions tied on to a station wagon. Not nearly well enough. The set made its way off to the side before coming to a stop.

    ToSeek, the dumptruck issue seems like a slam dunk to me too. In this state a woman was killed about 20 years ago by a rock coming through her windshield which was proven to have come from a state highway construction project that was transporting materials along I405. There was a huge outcry and a law was passed mandating covers on dumptrucks. That lasted probably less than 5 years before it was weakened, very quietly, to only requiring covers if the load extends to within a very small distance of the sides. So economics trumped safety again.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    ...There was a huge outcry and a law was passed mandating covers on dumptrucks. That lasted probably less than 5 years before it was weakened, very quietly, to only requiring covers if the load extends to within a very small distance of the sides. So economics trumped safety again.
    We've had that law for many years.
    But, from my own experience, it hasn't been the load that was at issue. I have seen too many flatbeds with mud, stones, etc, that fell of the equipment being towed, and I have also seen too many dump trucks where mud and rocks and stuff comes out of every crevice when it hits a bump.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Wilson View Post
    Remarkably, the driver hit it straight-on at full speed, and nothing happened except for a loud BANG...and then his truck lit up like a bottle-rocket as sparks flew out in a spectacular rooster-tail!!!
    Not too take the danger too lightly, but that must have been a spectacular display.

  13. #13
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    Remarkably, the driver hit it straight-on at full speed, and nothing happened except for a loud BANG...and then his truck lit up like a bottle-rocket as sparks flew out in a spectacular rooster-tail!!!

    Reminds me of when I worked as a bag-boy at the local grociers. Some guy was all TO'd about something, and he stormed out to his jacked-up pick'em'up truck and peeled out of his spot. Well, he was being too stupid to notice there was a shopping cart infront of his truck. It was at a height that pushed the cart over then wedged it among the undercarraige, and as he tried to make himself look like a bad-*** by speeding out of the parking lot he tore it up pretty bad. Sparks everywhere. I love karma.

    It was funny but it upset me as well. We had employees out there (heck, I was just a few yards away) as well as customers with children. That could just have easily been a person, with much less humorous, more tragic results. Fortunately it wasn't.

  14. #14
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    Wink TV Game Show?

    The title of this thread reminds me of a TV game show title for some reason. Picture the scenario:

    Three or four panelists take turns asking questions about a truck driver's load until they guess it or their questions run out, the money prize for the trucker growing with each question.

    In one special round the panelists would be blindfolded next to the truckload, within range of smell and hearing. The same rules would apply.
    Panelist #1: Do I detect a fecal component in the smell?

    Truck Driver: Yes ma'am.

    Panelist #2: Do I smell hay?

    Truck Driver: Yes, sir.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToSeek View Post
    Someone was towing a trailer with their SUV and lost it while crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The bridge was practically shut down for several hours during yesterday evening's rush hour, with the only alternative a two-hour (on a good day) detour up to Delaware and around Baltimore.
    The pictures from that were rather nuts. Two vehicles were reduced to completely unidentifiable piles of sheet metal.

    I've got a few ideas as to why that trailer came loose. And Maryland does have laws concerning securing loads in place. I got called on this by a Howard County cop about three years ago when I was driving a truck full of scrap to the landfill off of Interstate 70. I lost a little piece of stuff off the back, and she pulled me over. No ticket, not even a warning, but she had me adjust some stuff that looked like it was threatening to take off.

  16. #16
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    I was riding a motorcycle when a pickup truck being used to move what looked like an entire household entered traffic in front of me. The tailgate was down, the load was unsecured, and topped by one of the biggest dining room tables I've ever seen - upside down and at an angle to slide right out the back. And as the driver booted it to stay ahead of me, it slid out. I've had a few adrenalin rushes riding motorcycles, and that one ranks near the top. I swerved around the table and past the truck without a problem.

    Much as I wanted to stop and give the guy a piece of my mind, two things stopped me: The prospect of going to jail for what I really wanted to do to the driver, and the fact that the loss of the table was probably an expensive and effective lesson for him

  17. #17
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    Three people, including a father and son (both volunteer firefighters from Queen Anne's County) were killed in the Chesapeake Bay Bridge incident. Not that long ago, wood framing from a big flatbed fell from an overpass and killed a motorist on the Beltway-I270 interchange. It keeps happening, and like the Times article indicated, it seems to be getting worse.

    When I lived down in Clear Lake (Texas) we were pulling up on a pickup towing a flatbed trailer loaded with with hay bales. Not liking the look of it, I "punched it" and passed him - and just after that my rear view mirror was occupied with a cloud of hay as the bales fell and "detonated" on I-45.

    I've had minor stuff fly out of the back of my pickup, and I've learned my lesson. I transported a mattress and box spring some distance once. I sandwiched them upright between two thick pieces of plywood to which I had affixed eyebolts, and cinched the whole thing crosswise, forward, and back with tiedown straps. No worries.

  18. #18
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    Even when you think you've done everything right, things can go wrong.

    When I was a kid, my older brother saved up his money and bought a little boat (it was an 8 or 10 foot plywood dinghy). The family piled into the car, loaded the brand-new boat onto the roof rack, and headed home.

    About halfway home there was a loud bang, and looking back we saw the dinghy cartwheeling along the road behind us. Fortunately there was little traffic and no one got hurt, but the new boat was a mess. You might have thought that my Dad had just failed to tie it down properly. Wrong. The boat was still tied firmly to the roof rack. The whole rack had come loose from the car.

    The coda to the story is that, after the sick feeling wore off, we loaded the mangled boat back on the car and brought it home. My dad and brother went to work on it, repaired the boat (had to replace the entire transom, among other things), and it remained with the family for years afterward.

  19. #19
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    The trailer is piled with small aircraft parts...

    I find it amusing that around here the construction haulers have these "We are not responsible for broken windshields" signs all over the place. As though that actually means anything. They're *supposed* to have the covers over the load, but I think it's a seatbelt law - a good 50% of the time loaded trucks don't have the tarps on.

    The car wasn't a Ford was it? A while back I had a Taurus (I *NEEDED* a car, and it was there.. ) with a luggage rack on the trunk (yeah, like you are supposed to actually USE that?).

    I was buzzin' down the highway, taking the monsters to the local train museum, when we heard a loud **Bang** from the back of the car. A quick look in the mirrors, and various checking with steering/brakes/etc didn't show anything wrong, so I assumed I ran over something.

    BUZZZZ! The entire luggage rack had popped its rivets and flown off into the underbrush. I could understand that if I had a load on, and/or was travelling at warp 10.. but not at 45 MPH on an off-ramp.

  20. #20
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    Re: What's My Load?

    Having commuted between 85 and 150 miles each day, I've seen my share of horrible accidents.

    One involved a person who drove his Continental into a bridge support. By the time I and the other EMTs had gotten there, all his blood had been drained by the steering column to the floor/foot mat and then underneath.

    It's kind of eerie removing an ashen white corpse from a wreck.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    A truck once dropped a bit of submarine (I think; possibly battleship) turbine on the Tacoma-Narrows Bridge. It punched a hole in the bridge deck and paralyzed traffic for probably a day--for miles around, in fact, because of all the people waiting for the bridge. (We should've just driven down to Olympia and back up the other side of the Sound instead of waiting for three hours. It would've taken less time.)
    Isn't that the bridge that collapsed in the 1940s due to wind resonance?

    It's not only cargo that can cause problems. On a highway, a few days after a big snowstorm, a friend and I were driving on the freeway - we were passed by a SUV that had this thick layer of frozen snow on its roof. At some point, a large (>2 foot in diameter) chuck of that flew off. We were in the next lane but if we were in the same lane, it would've landed right on our windshield. I can 't say for sure it would've caused damage, but I'm glad we didn't get to find out. At a minimum, it might have blinded us for a bit, which isn't that pleasant when you're going >50 mph.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Skunk Todd View Post
    It almost looks like a small plane fuselage.
    Given the paint, the shape, etc., I'd have to agree with you.

    However, what's the problem? I've never encountered debris from small carriers, of even major items.

    But I've often encountered debris from licensed carriers, including the following:

    1. A truckload of sleeping bags Westbound on I-10 in Mississippi. The truck never stopped, so after 5 minutes of guarding his load, we took two, threw them into our car, and left (yeah, I know - give me a break, but the scavengers were eying them, and they were the last two there by that time).

    2. A large (5' x 9') sheet-metal plate which came within half a second of slicing into my car had I not swerved into the next lane (near Blacksburg, VA). As it was, it grazed my car anyway.

    3. A large chunk of roofing material which did hit my car, scraping the snot out of my paint job on the roof and my rear spoiler.

    And that just the stuff that hit me - I've dodged dozens of times more items over the years - all from licensed haulers

    But from the small folk, they only thing I've been "pelted" with was a few strands of hay.

    Whoopie.

    Certainly cause for alarm and an immediate world-wide mandate to force all people who haul anything outside their vehicle to attend a $1,000, one-week safety course, apply for a $500 "hauling license" to prevent the massive mayhem that must be happening on the roads given the evidential pic of the airplane fuselage in the first post, huh...?

    Relax, folks. It's not the small haulers we need to worry about, regardless of the grossly inflamatory news press which is doing nothing more than inciting fears so as to sell more papers.

    The sooner we realize this, the sooner we citizens and our government can go back to making laws which enhance both our freedoms and protections without strangling both of them at the same time.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mugaliens View Post
    However, what's the problem? I've never encountered debris from small carriers, of even major items.
    Speak for yourself, Mugs.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose View Post
    Speak for yourself, Mugs.
    Don't we all? I think's specifically against the forum rules to speak for others....

    More to the point - what's your point?

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    I've been lucky with stuff coming off of other vehicles--the only time Ive been hit was when I got a ding in the windshield of my truck from a rock that came off a muddy 4x4 that roar past me a over the speed limit.

    But then I've also had three birdstrikes on my previous vehicle--one at 60, and two at 70mph. The only damage was from the one that hit my windsheild at 70--it tore off my wiper blade. (it hit hard enough to make my CD skip and shove the whole windsheild in visibely, although it only left a minor ding)

    The last one at 70 did no damage--i hit right below thw front bumper. I was still finding feathers in crevices in the truck a year later whn I sold it.

    I always have plenty of rpe in me truck to tie stuff down with--and if I know I'll be (or even might be) hauling something that precludes me rolling the bedcover over the bed, I take along my tarp and cargo net...

  26. #26
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    hrm

    My daily commute is almost exactly 50 miles round trip. I rarely see accidents, much less load-loss. (other than the aforementioned freely flying rocks). Speeds vary from 90 to 0 (posted speeds from 75 to 25).

    I think the worst I've personally seen is some car's right rear tire suffer catastrophic loss of containment - a chunk of it flew back and put a 10-inch scrape on the right front fender of my wife's car. But that hardly qualifies as load-loss.

    I did just remember, I do recall seeing a number of occasions where people fail to sweep all the snow of their vehicle, resulting in emergency driving behavior on the part of the trailing drivers. I admit, I used to be one of those non-sweepers. (it's kinda keen looking in the rear-view and seeing that trail of snow blowing off). However, as I've garnered life experience, I've come to reallize just how stupid it is.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by mugaliens View Post
    More to the point - what's your point?
    What's yours? How else am I supposed to read:

    However, what's the problem? I've never encountered debris from small carriers, of even major items.
    Just because it hasn't happened to you yet, doesn't mean it hasn't happened. It has and it does. That's the problem. My point is: speak for yourself Mugs.

    It has little to do with who's pulling the load or what the load is. It has everything to do with how well the load is secured.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by LurchGS View Post
    I think the worst I've personally seen is some car's right rear tire suffer catastrophic loss of containment - a chunk of it flew back and put a 10-inch scrape on the right front fender of my wife's car. But that hardly qualifies as load-loss.
    I've seen somebody pulled over having realized they've lost a tire on their single-axel trailer. Actually, let me correct that. They didn't lose the tire. They lost the entire rim. Judging by the groove in the road from dragging the axel, they lost it somewhere on top of a hill. The rim+tire were nowhere to be seen.

    I didn't hear about any damage to houses or cars at the bottom of the hill, so maybe he got lucky and lost it at the bottom somewhere reasonably safe.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr obvious View Post
    Isn't that the bridge that collapsed in the 1940s due to wind resonance?
    That's the one. They're just finishing up the second one (or third, depending on how you look at it) which will open in a couple of months. Traffic gets really bad there at times, they need the extra lanes.

    I think Gillian was right, it was a piece of submarine that came loose. They dismantle old subs up the road at Bremerton.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by mugaliens View Post
    Certainly cause for alarm and an immediate world-wide mandate to force all people who haul anything outside their vehicle to attend a $1,000, one-week safety course, apply for a $500 "hauling license" to prevent the massive mayhem that must be happening on the roads given the evidential pic of the airplane fuselage in the first post, huh...?

    Relax, folks. It's not the small haulers we need to worry about, regardless of the grossly inflamatory news press which is doing nothing more than inciting fears so as to sell more papers.

    The sooner we realize this, the sooner we citizens and our government can go back to making laws which enhance both our freedoms and protections without strangling both of them at the same time.

    Did I miss something? Nowhere in the article did I see anyone suggesting one-week safety courses, or "hauling licenses". I didn't find the article grossly inflammatory. It stated that in North America there are more than 25,000 accidents a year caused by litter. Empirically, a potentially deadly phenomenon is becoming more common, and since it is a preventable phenomenon, it's that much more worthy of news coverage.

    And nowhere in the 21 posts preceding yours was there any suggestion of increasing the bureaucracy to deal with it. What I read were numerous descriptions of damage done and close encounters with highway debris from unsecured loads falling off a variety of vehicles. And small loads are part of the problem. We even had admissions of from people here who had lost loads or parts thereof, and I presume, lessons learned.

    In the case I described, the situation could have been fatal had there been a vehicle in the other lane into which I escaped. Had I been driving a car, a whole lot of damage could have occurred. I can't remain relaxed about something like that.

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