Trailering a boat is often more stressful – and more dangerous – than running the boat on the water. And today, I saw a near-disaster that reminded me of how common this particular problem can be.
Uneven pavement is the culprate. We’ve all been driving down the road, and had a tire of the car or truck slide down off onto a lower (or up onto a higher) section of roadway. Usually, this issue arrises where they’re re-paving the road. And as you probably know already, this can jerk the steering wheel around and cause a momentary loss of control.
Well, if this happens with your trailer tires when you’re moving at high speeds, it can be disasterous. The natural reaction is to jerk the steering wheel back the other way, to pull the tires back onto the same level. Unfortunately, this isn’t the wisest move. It can cause the trailer to start swaying, then jump pavement levels, and as you counter-steer, sway back the other way. This is what I watched happen this morning, and the truck and boat ended up swerving into oncoming traffic.
Luckily, the car coming the other way saw it happening, and slid off onto the shoulder with plenty of room to spare. If he hadn’t…
When his trailer tires slid down onto the uneven pavement, what the driver should have done was steer his tow vehicle in the same direction, and allow the truck tires to drop off to the same level. That way, there wouldn’t have been any swaying or jumping on and off of different levels. Then, he could have taken his foot off the gas and allowed speed to bleed off until he was going slowly enough (say, 30 or 35 mph). Then, it becomes possible to steer back the other way and jump the uneven pavement in a more controlled fashion.
The driver I was watching was so shaken up, that after regaining control I watched him pull off onto the shoulder and stop. I’m sure he was counting his blessings at that point – let’s hope we don’t find ourselves in a similar situation, as we’re heading for the boat ramp in the future.