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tractor trailer stability?

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  • tractor trailer stability?

    Just to throw this one out:
    A fully loaded tractor trailer loses control and jumps a jersey barrier (k-rail). After sliding for about 50ft the tractor gets stuck with the rear axles on the barrier, with the front axle of the tractor on the other lane, with tires flattened. You look at the barrier and see that the section the vehicle is sitting on does not have any damage, other than some scraping at the top. Patient is conscious, and just complaining of soreness. No need for extrication, just removing patient from the vehicle.
    Here's the question: How stable do you consider this vehicle? Should you chock the wheels of the tractor and the trailer only or start stabilizing to the frame of the tractor. And if you try stabilizing to the frame, how do you account for the severe angle (30 degrees) the tractor is sitting at? Let's hear what you would do.

  • #2
    Your Question has many unanswered questions.
    Fist of all as a truck driver for nearly 20 years and a firefighter there would be nearly no way for a loaded tractor trailer to jump a three foot high jersy barrier. I have seen trucks carriene off a barrier break trough them but never go over one. I have also seen trucks loose control and turn over ontop of a barrier. Theoritacally if a truck were to end up in a positioon like you describe the trailer would turn over and or the king pin would break off, and yes I have seen them break. In which case the truck would possibly come off of the barrier or turn over itself. To stabilize a truck in the position as you describe, the best means would be to strap the truck to the barrier with either chains and come a longs or a ratchet strap, chocking the wheels that are in contact with the ground would be the first thing to do. interesting question

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    • #3
      Well Rich, believe it or not, it's exactly what happenned last week. Truck came down an off ramp that was posted no trucks. Either came down too fast or fell asleep. He saw what was happenning and tried to turn the truck. Left front tire went over the barrier and broke a small piece off the first section and the truck didn't clear it any farther than the rear axle. It skidded along on top of the barrier approximately 50 ft. The trailer stayed up on it's wheels and the pin of the fifth wheel didn't break(I spent several years in the truck parts biz and I couldn't believe what I saw when we pulled up). This caused a fuel spill of about 200 gallons(wouldn't you know he just stopped for fuel 10 miles back).
      We chocked the tires, and dropped the landing gear on the trailer and cribbed to it. We attempted to plug the 2 holes in the tanks but they were too large.

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      • #4
        Strapping the tractor to the barrier is a good step as well as chocking the wheels that are in contact with the ground. One thing not to forget to look at is if the cab is an air ride cab. If so, place some 4X4 wedges between the frame and cab. I understand the driver wasnt hurt this time, but what about next. 2 well placed wedges will stop the up/down movement once the frame is stabilized by strapping it down. If you dont have the equipment to strap it down, how about one of the tensioned buttress systems (ZMag ground pads, etc). They work as well, but I would prefer securing the unit to the barrier.

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