Not again! Shock at week’s third caravan rollover

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caravan rollover
Disaster ... a caravan rollover caused chaos on the Bruce Highway. PIC: Troy Davis/Sunshine Coast Daily

Australia’s horror week of caravan rollovers has continued … with a large van going over on the Bruce Highway at Morayfield north of Brisbane.

Once again, those involved have miraculously avoided serious injury.  Queensland Ambulance crews attended the scene and transported two patients with minor injuries in stable conditions to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

The Sunshine Coast Daily newspaper reports that the accident took place at about 10.30am today and caused huge delays for southbound motorists.

Both the dual axle caravan and the tow vehicle were left on their sides following the incident. There had been some rain in the area.

The latest caravan drama follows two similar incidents earlier this week.

A rollover on Monday caused chaos on the  Reid Highway near Perth  and, a few days later, there was a miracle escape for the driver following Stuart Highway rollover near Katherine.

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65 Responses to Not again! Shock at week’s third caravan rollover

  1. I believe it’s time for those who tow a caravan(including trailers), to SLOW DOWN!!!! Remember you’re towing a heavy vehicle that can be twice the size of the average 4WD. Personally, I am traveling(permanently), with a fully laden single axle box trailer and rarely exceed 80kph and have never had an issue. It may take a little longer to get to where I’m going.. I figure that my next destination will always be there.. It’s certainly not worth risking an accident trying to get there at break neck speeds.

    • In NZ you are limited to 90k when towing any trailers this includes all heavy transport as well

    • i agree speeding is a large contribution. but traveling at 80k in a 100 110 zone can be just as dangerous happy travelling to you but i hate being stuck behind inconsiderate caravaners

      • Sorry Chris. .but seriously you need to Suck it up
        Yes most of us pull off as soon as we can to let you pass but don’t expect us to drive at 100/110 because this is what happens.

        • Having caravans limited to 80kph is a good idea, as is the requirement for a special licence with appropriate testing. What is most annoying is the habit of caravans travelling below the speed limit until they get to nice straight roads when they speed up tothe speed limit. Also having them in convoy without allowing space for cars to overtake one at a time is also an annoyance.

          • Try being military. We’re limited to 80kmph but we have established distances between vehicles in a “packet” and then greater distances between “packets” to allow people to overtake. It’s common sense…but that may not be so common!

        • If the vehicle is set up correctly and the caravan is set up and loaded correctly there should be no issue going 100km

          • Driver experience also has a huge impact, so it would be stupid for an inexperienced (ie. new to towing caravans, trailers etc – or the weekenders) to be sitting on 100k. Where the speed limit is 110 it’s normally dual lanes so passing (and patience) shouldn’t be an issue.

        • hi tom.
          yes unfortunately i am forced to suck it up most of us caravaners are conscientious drivers but there are alot who are not.if you feel unsafe to drive at the recommended speed limits get off the road and have your rig professionally setup.if you need gizmos and gadgets to correct ur ride something is wrong.distributing weight to the rear of your van to decrease your ball weight is a common practice for manufacturers to get compliance.this is a big no no.unfortunately there are drivers out there who cannot and wont wait for a passing lane or for slower drivers to pull over that is why it is dangerous to travel so far under the you suck it up and get your rig setup properly so you can safely travel at the given speed limits

      • Maybe people like you were patient instead of being closeup bebind if them
        That makes .me nervous conqzider us trying to drive carefully

      • Caravanners travelling at a safe speed are not inconsiderate. They are only inconsiderate when, looking in their rear view mirror and seeing a huge line of traffic behind them, don’t pull over at the first opportunlty to let them pass.

      • Slowing down on Motorways/Highways when towing a heavy trailer or a caravan is an incredibly safe and considerate thing to do. Hats off to those who do exactly just that. Marvellous

    • Agree! We travel at 80, and are passed regularly and left behind in the dust by many others…..on the way in Longreach last week, a fellow towing a 19ft, white and black, passed us and crossed over so close in front, our front end warning system went of, causing us to brake dangerously….and keep your freeking hands and eyes in the wheel and road….too many people wave madly taking their hands off the wheel and eyes off the road….

    • Brett l can only whole heartedly agree with your coments. The only thing l would add would be that before towing that requires registration, the driver should successfully complete a safe towing course. Graeme

    • It not speed it is experience
      Most caravan are towed to slow because the drivers are scared of what they are towing.
      All caravan towers should be taught the right way to tow a caravan
      Also the cars that they tow them with are not heavy enough to tow.

      • Agree with Mac, most people I see towing under 90klms appear to lack experience on towing. Most states limit towing buy weight with limits of 100klms. WA is 100klms for anything towing.

    • I totally agree and I think 80 to 90 should be top speed we drive a large motorhome and tow a small car we rarely go over 80- 85ks and caravans tare past us

    • I would be happy to ruise along at 80ks but the semi trailers would run over me or there would be traffic banked up behind for miles. Whats been your experience in this regard?

      • If the rig is properly set up and loaded, the conditions allow it and you are a competent driver, there is no reason why you cannot sit safely on 100kph which is the max speed limit in most of this country for a van.
        The important thing is to be able to recognize when the road, conditions or your rig prevent you from doing this speed with safety.
        I travel east west with my van fairly regularly, and if the conditions are good, sit on 100kph without effort across areas such as the Eyre Hwy.
        However, I would never be critical of someone who did not feel comfortable travelling at more than 80. Each must assess their own rig and abilities in a given situation.
        There are many reasons for a MVA to occur, not least of which is avoiding other numnuts on the road, which there seems to be a considerable number these days, so without knowing the facts, I do not think we can make assumptions on a particular accident.
        I do agree that driver training before being able to tow a van is a good idea however.

        • Hey Greg. Agreed. I am a heavy vehicle driver regularly towing large trailers. When out with my correctly set up and loaded van l choose to travel around 90kph as l can travel a lot further on a load of fuel. I do however have a uhf radio and communicate with the other proffessional drivers (truckies). Granted, as a truckie l know what is required to pass a van but this should be a part of tow training. My opinion, if your towing on a busy highway consider those using the road to make living. Spend a few dollars and install a radio for communicstion. Most of all when a truck comes behind hold a constant speed, the truckie knows his/her rig and will pick the safest place to pass.

    • If only it was as simple as that, there are many factors that contribute to a van rollover and although I agree that some people do travel faster than they should towing a such a large mass it is more often than not the ball weight and weight distribution in relation to the axles that causes such rollovers….

  2. Until there is a change I the law with licensing and more stringent driver training it will continue until it becomes “Fatal Accidents.”
    Along with speed restrictions, I am regularly passed by caravan drivers found in access of 100 klms per hour and not a clue as to what action to take in an emergency

    • How do you know they don’t have a clue what to do? Just by looking at them? Don’t make assumptions.

    • More heavy freight on trains more overtaking lanes and test for people towing any trailor over 1ton and full medicals for over 70 yrs old make driving safe for everyone. Its not about blame its about safety. In the construction industry we have to refresh our high risk tickets every two years isnt driving with a heavy awkward load high risk? Im sure it wouldnt hurt making sure that were all compedant and confident to drive safely would it?

      • Why over 70 for a full medical? I’m 73 & wager I’m fitter & in better health than many 45 year olds. I recently heard of a 30 year old having a heart attack, so maybe a full medical for all over 30 might be in order.

  3. They should make you get a special licence to tow a caravan. Everyone except me should have to do it.

  4. Interesting to hear what caused the accident

    • That is a good point what caused the accident with the amount of road kill out there which can be an issue .We have a motor home now but when we had a big caravan the speed on the bruce highway was 90 km for trucks and caravans worked well, cars were able to pass easily did not seem to slow the trucks but they passed easily as well.

  5. Its very sad to read the news again of another caravan accident and we all feel for the people involved.
    There will again be a lot of comments about how, what, when and where as well as Ive done this and Ive done that.
    The realality is there is a very large number of caravans on the roads over a very large area of this big country during this time of the year doing thousands of kilometres.
    As much as we try, and as safe as we may be there is always a possibility something could go wrong, at any moment.
    My Army training taught me to always expect the unexpected and to be highly vigilant and focused.
    If I feel Im not up to that I pull up and rest…sometimes for a few days or more. I try to treat it as a lifestyle without a deadline or an agenda.
    I understand not everyone can do that….So..!
    Be safe, stay safe and have as many breaks and rests as you can. We all deserve it…!

  6. i dont feel people need driver training although some people shouldnt have a license.most of the problems come from incorrect ball weight and or putting airbag suspension or trailer stabilizer bars isn’t fixing that problem all its doing is transferring improper ball weight to your rear axles putting more load on your cars axle and when you do get a bit of a sticky situation it all comes undone.this is where people need to get their training happening on improper loading that is what causes swaying and even the best drivers come unstuck

    • A great percentage of brand new caravans are not road worthy, my brand new van was well over the stated weight on the compliance plate unloaded.some dealers don’t give a dam,and what is worse the ACCC supports a rogue industry putting lives at stake.

  7. With the large amount of caravans on the roads these days I am surprised that there is such a low amount of accidents !! Only three in the last week in a country of over 24 million people and most weeks there are none there must be a lot of good drivers out there ……

  8. People just need to start taking responsibility and setting up their caravans properly my caravan is fitted with electric anti sway. I have Hayman Reese level riders and Hayman Reese sway control bars. Towing a 24 foot caravan behind a LandCruiser and my caravan does not move. It’s not the case of how fast you are you just have to set up properly and be responsible

  9. Well said D Middleton people want caravan ears to go slower than they get angry and do stupid things caravan ears are in tilted to use the roads and take there time they are on holidays trying to enjoy yes some of them need to be more considerate and pull over when they can to let other motorist pass.We are grey nomads and travel a lot and find it frustrating sometimes with those sort of people so we just stop and have a break. Don’t take away another Australian lifestyle because people can’t be patient. Yes there are a lot of caravans and not as many accidents as cars

  10. Well said D.Middleton & chris Philips.
    I too have been towing caravans now for 9 yrs since the death of my husband & I know good driving of a caravan is all down to weight distribution across the caravan & towing vehicle. E.g Don’t if there is a bathroom in the van, fill that space up with out door chairs, tables or BBQ equipment. That changes the weighton the tow ball & could increase swaying at higher speeds.
    Check on the tow vehicle the maximum weight to tow. Many vans are over 4 tons now.. Don’t tow a caravan of this size with a vehicle that will only tow 3 & 1/2 tons. Stay in the left lane & let all pass you. Maintain a safe speed for yourself to feel comfortable with be aware of of what is in front of you not what is behind you. That is their ressponsibility.
    I have towed over 100, 000 kms now , across this land of Australia & that includes over & under overpass’s, & tgunnels in State Capitals.

  11. Caravans over 18ft should be towed by a truck!
    Vans were once used for a cheap holiday, and not luxury apartments

  12. Don’t worry about the licenses restrict the speed. NZ England USA all have the speed on trucks lower than the cars. Let the cars do the overtaking not the trucks or vehicles towing. A petition needs to be put to parliament and maybe we will all be safer. Not commenting on what went wrong cause I wasn’t there so let’s not blame anyone

  13. Licensing for all drivers who wish to tow a caravan or trailer of any sort. Speed limiting ALL large vehicles including trucks & marking it Law that all cars towing have to fit extended mirrors for better vision. Have seen many cars without mirrors & they DO NOT have a clue what is happening behind or beside them.

  14. We are just on our way down from Darwin I sit on between 80 & 90 I found it gives me time to adjust when a truck or another caravan wants to pass I have a camera on the caravan and got vision who is coming up behind truckies can cause caravans to roll and I have seen that people cause accidents not the car or caravan so check tow ball weight as well.

  15. There should be a qualification and strict guidelines on towing a caravan. To many inexperienced people buy a van and tow. The majority can’t even back a caravan.

    • You are making assumptions here! How do you know they can’t reverse a van? How do you know they are inexperienced.

  16. Suggest all have CB radio tuned to truck channel.
    Communication is essential!!

  17. I don’t think there should a blanket speed restriction – the truckies are angry enough already! It’s all about driving to the conditions. We have just returned from SW Qld and many of the roads are very uneven so we reduced to about 80 kph to avoid bouncing around. But 100kph on the M1 should be fine as long as the van is loaded correctly.

  18. a lot of the problem is the way it is coupled to the tow vehicle towbars are to high tortion bars pulled up to high which takes weight of the vechles rear wheels the fromt oof the van should always be 1 inch to 1.5 lower with some ball weight gront of van up causes the van to sway

  19. we have recently bought a new van had electronic stability control fitted my lady partner does all the driving have uhf on and as soon as we can get off and allow trucks and cars to safely pass we get a lot of feedback from thankful truckies a big bit of curtesy goes a long way

  20. WE travel between 80 and 90 k’s as it is my belief that we are driving safely for us and more so for the other road users.We rarely pass anything except the mower tractor on the road.
    We want for people to arrive on time, but not DEAD on time.
    Just travelled 300 k’s which is a lot for us in a day, and not one issue for us or for other road users.Well!!! that is how we saw it.
    Unfortunately r.v. bad news becomes good news for the media.

  21. The photo of the rollover at Morayfield clearly shows that this van did not have ESC fitted to it. I am assuming it was a sway caused roll over. If people knew how good these systems work they would definitely invest the little bit extra but most good vans now come with them fitted as standard.

    • I don’t see how you can assume that. ESC is not a perfect solution. There are many factors that could have caused this unfortunate event.

  22. Caravans travelling at a safe speed are not the issue.The problem is a lack of patience and courtesy.

  23. If that’s the average roll overs for caravans for the week australia wide I reckon that’s to bad I being a truck driver for fifty years I remember a truck holding up caravans from passing but I suppose the horsepower the trucks have today and the speed of cars it is different it shows how impatient drivers are these days I was or one of those drivers too but if you are lucky enough to see your
    retirement you will be doing the same thing so let’s all have bit more patience

  24. I urge caravaners and other towers to drive at a speed they are comfortable with. Everyone seems to be in a hurry to get wherever they are going. Perhaps going to work, meeting for coffee etc. It seems there is a bit of envy or resentment out there re retired caravaners enjoying life. I’m sure there were motor bike and car accients around our island today.

  25. Agreed with Andy BRAVO, you must obtain licence to drive trucks & Semi-trailers, why not towing caravans? People can’t reverse cars but caravans? They should seat theory & driving test & over 75 years of age should tested every year.

  26. Safe driving comes with common sense and no amount of safety equipment fitted prevents anyone with a fully functional brain from driving to the conditios of the roads or weather. P plated drivers are talked about constanly as being bad drivers let’s not get that reputation

  27. We have a caravan and travelled thousands of kilometers. The mainissues for me are skills at the wheel towing. Knowing how to attach the van and level it. Drive at a safe speed according to road conditions. I need to fit a camera to the van as fools get so close I can’t see them even though I have good size extended mirrors. I also use my radio to ineract with truckies who appreciate our cooperation. Many roads don’t have enough places to pull off so our courtesy is experienced. Maybe signs one kilometer before overtaking areas or pull off areas are coming to give us time to prepare to stop. Sadly common sense on the road is lacking. Maybe car drivers could also express appreciation for our courtesy as they pass and we will be more encouraged to extend courtesy again.

  28. Caravans are to high.
    Centre of gravity problem.
    Been saying this for years

    • Bullshit…. More than 3/4 of a Caravans weight is in the bottom half of the structure, namely the chassis, water tanks, batteries, etc. Problem with people is they point the finger at the van first, but never themselves (driver error), the tow vehicle or the way they load the van. Lots of factors could have caused the accident but definitely not high centre of gravity.

  29. Would interesting to know the cause of these accidents , could it be lack of driver skills , caravan have become hugh travelling road block often ,we manage to travel safely at 100 with out 1500 kg poptop without issue whilst most towers seem to manage a reasonable pace – I suspect other shouldn’t be on the road

  30. A properly loaded and balanced caravan will not sway at speeds up to the speed limits. ESC only comes into play when a van is not properly set up. It’s comforting to have ESC but if it activates there’s something wrong with your van. I have towed for 48 years and have never had my van sway because I load and drive correctly.
    As an aside would all you oldies please proof read your posts and use a dictionary to hopefully reduce the terrible spelling.

    • love the last comment.

  31. every one seems to miss looking at the photo properly and the tow vehicle its obvious that a major problem has happened with the rear axle one of the springhangers has failed just look closely at thre axle angle and the angle of the tailshaft

  32. Assuming caravanners are responsible and have weight and balance, correct set ups covered they should still ask themselves a simple question: “do I want to crash at 80km/ hr or at 110/100km/hr. I know my preference.
    As the road safety adverts say “Speed Kills”.

  33. I read with interest your goings on about speed, weights,balance,training , and the such.If we treated everyone as we would like we might all get on. If you feel you should drive at 80k then you are allowed to by LAW.If you drive any vehicle you have a max speed,not a minimun . Just do your best and enjoy,move over if you can andlet others pass.If you are not sure your rig is set up the best it can be, go to your local RTA branch and they may be able to help.

  34. Interesting reading the above comments. I have yet to hear of van mishaps whilst they are travelling uphill. This suggests speed might be a causal factor on level and / or down hill travelling. Again, whilst talking to some rig drivers they often claim that their fuel consumption is so much better when they engage cruise control! Much better if their brain was engaged! Forget hitches and other bandaid patches, bring on common sense (which unfortunately isn’t so common), and legislation will never defeat stupidity. My driving history involves heavy vehicles as well as caravanning.

  35. I think that rather than making mandatory steps, courses for caravanners would be a good idea, along the lines of advanced or defensive courses for car drivers. Maybe these could be supported by insurance companies offering financial support, at least one van insurer does this for vans fitted with anti-sway devices. Sadly, travelling the Bruce Highway with a 5th wheeler and a tow vehicle that feels comfortable at 90 kph, equipped with uhf, has brought everything from great co-operation with heavy vehicles, to being tailgate by little buzz boxes to heavy vehicles. Communication via uhf can be very helpful. Sadly, opening a conversation with a lesson on swearing does not help anyone. Another factor is the lack of passing lanes. The road from Noosa to Maroochydore is one example. You are in deep strife along much of that if you have a problem, let alone trying to help other road users to pass.

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