This has to stop! Police alarmed by van rollovers

Published: September 10, 2020
Caravan rollover

A spate of caravan rollovers in regional Western Australia has sparked an urgent warning from police for drivers to take extra care on the roads.

“People may not be used to towing vans regularly, or towing at all … so they should just travel with caution,” Kalbarri Police officer-in-charge Sergeant, Darren Connor, told the ABC. “And make sure you have the correct fatigue management, because towing a larger vehicle you do tire quicker.”

Sergeant Connor said correct vehicle maintenance was also vital.

The warning comes after a caravan flipped over after reportedly going onto gravel on the side of the road south of Kalbarri. Incredibly, no-one was seriously injured in the crash which left the caravan totally destroyed.

Just a day earlier, a family of five rolled their caravan near Augusta after losing control of their vehicle in stormy conditions. The driver Craig Smith told the ABC that his partner suffered a fractured rib and swelling on her spine but their three children were unharmed.

Mr Smith said he was travelling under the speed limit at the time and had taken all the necessary precautions before the journey.

“The car aquaplaned and then completely flicked off to the left and jackknifed and took everything straight off the road,” he told the ABC. “The car ended up pretty much inside the caravan on its side … it was pretty traumatic.”

The increased number of WA tourists on the roads due to Covid-19 has prompted the Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia (RAC WA) to offer free caravan safety sessions as part of its Safe Travels initiative across Perth and regional WA.

The sessions are in Esperance on October 16, Albany on Oct 18, Port Hedland on October 31 and November 1 and Kalgoorlie on December 6.

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Andrew O'Brien
1 year ago

There are many news organisations and caravanning groups that report on the crashes as they occur. As we know many of crashes result in little physical damage to the people but destroy the vehicle and van. Then there are a few crashes that either kill or severely injure those involved. Whilst reporting the crash is interesting what would be far more useful to all caravanners is knowing what actually caused the crash. Not all crashes are thoroughly investigated but any deaths usually result in a coronial inquest and the findings are publically available. So an annual report on the official causes of the more serious crashes would be useful to all caravanners. The result could be fewer crashes if we all take note and any necessary actions to avoid repeating previous dangerous events.

Peter Dawson
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew O'Brien

I agree with Andrew’ comments. If we are informed of the details we can all learn from the reports and keep everyone safer.
Cheers

Ando
1 year ago

It will happen.
Many a new vanners hitting the road for the first time.
Ease up travel at max 90 stay safe enjoy the trip

Paul C
1 year ago
Reply to  Ando

Ando, unfortunately travelling at maximum 90 mph will not keep you `safe`
I have witnessed first hand several vans go over, at well under 90 kph, and its not a pretty sight.
Load distribution, correct weight, tow vehicle matched to van, and training, training, training. Doesn’t matter where the training comes from, as long as its the correct training! I took a friend out in my car/van and within an hour had him reverse parking, reversing into driveways, checking ball weight etc. He has now covered more than 25,000 klm in his new van and 4×4 comfortably towing at the speed limit when he wants to.
My qualifications- over 3 million kilometres driving anything from road trains to caravans. Maybe I should start a caravan towing course?
Stay safe and keep the shiny side up!

Pamboz
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul C

Unfortunately caravan towing classes are rare and super expensive, that’s probably why inexperienced people think they will manage. I have been trying to find one for my husband who has never towed, I have, but we plan to set off to GRR next year, it would save a lot of arguments if someone other than me were to be teaching him!

debrapurtell
1 year ago

If weight is an issue (and I’m NOT saying it was in these cases) why don’t the main road dept have their truck weigh stations usable by the travelling public, not a certified weight but would give you an indication. We should not have to rely on private weighbridges or hope the rubish/tip has one, and the scales you can by are soso. That would surely reduce that as a problem.

Lisa Wanderess
1 year ago

People need to realize a big contributor to these swaying, jackknifing and rollover incidents is too much weight loaded into the rear of the caravan, spare wheels, bicycles, tools etc.
It’s so important to keep most of your load weight up the front, or over the wheels, or better yet, keep the heaviest stuff in the car! Even too much weight in the overhead cupboards (canned food etc) can be a problem.
I never travel if it’s too windy, all delays are better than losing it all! I travel with zero weight in the back of my van and have no problems with sway. I’ve followed behind other vans loaded with bikes, spare wheels and jerry cans and watched their asses wobble around on every bump and truck passing and it’s terrifying to watch. Also, I read that you should always keep at least a B-Double-sized gap between you and the vehicle in front, for both delayed braking reasons, and to allow truckies room to overtake if needed and I think that’s another good rule of thumb to abide by.
Stay safe out there fellow nomads!

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