‘Caravan crash still haunts me a full five years later!’

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Caravan accident for grey nomads
Police inspect the scene in the aftermath of the crash (above). Ken (inset above) and his wife were lucky to escape without injury.

It seems like barely a week goes by without news filtering through of yet another terrifying caravan accident on one of our highways or byways.

Unless those involved are known to you or perhaps you witness the accident, it is easy to become almost immune to the trauma and heartache suffered by those involved, even those who are lucky enough to escape physically uninjured.

It’s nearly five years since grey nomad Ken Howard was involved in a crash … and he is still suffering the consequences. In July 2015, Ken and his wife were travelling south from Mackay in their 2012 Ford Territory AWD diesel towing an 18’ Coromal Excel.

“About 40 kilometres north of Marlborough we caught up to two semi tippers with long drawbars designed for tipping without disconnecting the trailer,” said Ken. “They were only travelling at 85-90km/h with a good gap between them and, as we were in the 110km/h zone and on a long straight, I decided to overtake one first and the other when safe.”

And that’s when things went badly wrong.

A man in a ute travelling behind Ken saw what unfolded.

“The witness told myself and police that the van was pulled suddenly to the gap and then shot violently to the right and, at that stage, he said the left tandem was three feet off the ground,” said Ken. “This sent us into a violent left turn across the front of the truck.”
Ken’s wife watched in horror as the truck’s bull bar was bearing down on her and said later that all that went through her mind was: ‘I’m dead’.

“The right corner hit us at the centre door pillar and fortunately it shunted us into big slide to the right,” said Ken. “The car and van did a 180° spin and wound up virtually facing back to Mackay … I will always be grateful we never rolled and that we weren’t further across in front as he may have passed over us.”

Incredibly, no one was hurt.

After their insurance company paid out, the couple eventually decided to keep travelling and they bought another Territory and a second-hand 20’ Coromal Seka, which they had fitted with sway control.

However, the story doesn’t have a completely happy ending.

“This all affected both of us to varying degrees and unfortunately, over the last three years, has helped destroy our marriage which recently ended,” said Ken. “The car and van were nothing compared to that … I will travel as long as I can and health permits, but it won’t quite be the same alone.”

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2 Responses to ‘Caravan crash still haunts me a full five years later!’

  1. Very sorry to hear mate. I hope to see you on the road and have a chat and maybe a beer or two. Tough gig loosing a loved one . Cheers Paul

  2. Caravan weight about 2 t (if not overloaded or with poor weight distribution) , Territory weight is about 2 t (plus passengers and gear), and then beside a truck passing at over 100 km/hr….just a comment without knowing any details, and not making any judgement.

    My car is 2.7T, our van is 1750kg full and I wasn’t there, but I wouldn’t have attempted that pass, I’d behind the last truck at 80-90 km/hr, seriously.

    Marriage is a challenge at times when all is going well, add the impact of a near death experience.. and so on….jeepers, that’s terrible Ken. Keep vanning Ken, go easy, go well, and keep the shiny side up.

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