Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Porsche crashes, flips over, while towing a trailer

I was prompted to share this story after seeing a post by the California Highway Patrol of Solano County with photos of a Porsche Cayenne on its roof while still attached to a travel trailer. I know this stretch of road pretty well.

So why might this crash have happened?

First of all, none of us were there. Secondly, I have seen images posted by drivers in similar incidents where someone just cut them off because they were angry that they weren’t going faster. There are so many realities that it’s unfair to judge based on a photograph.

I have a friend who is an accident investigator who works for insurance companies on a contract basis. I showed him these photographs. He said the first thing he would do is take the reports from the CHP and then weigh the vehicles in question.

Having spoken with the CHP of Solano county, the trailer was a 2019 Heartland Wilderness. The smallest of these is the M-2375BH at 28’ 9”, weighing in at 5,644 pounds with a hitch weight of 690 pounds dry. These numbers are within spec for the Cayenne depending on how the tow vehicle itself was loaded and how the trailer was loaded.

My friend the investigator would look at the capacities of the tow vehicle, as well. While the Cayenne is rated to tow 7,700 pounds, it also has a cargo carrying capacity. You add all the contents and passengers in the vehicle plus the tongue weight of the trailer to determine if it was loaded within specification. If the vehicle was overloaded weight-wise, he would recommend denying the insurance claim.

Of course the insurance company makes the final decision on this, but read that carefully. It isn’t only what the vehicle can tow. It’s also about cargo carrying capacity and vehicle loading.

Do you have any theories?

Related:

From Mark J. Polk, RV Education 101: The top 5 trailer towing mistakes owners make

##RVT1014b

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Steve
28 days ago

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Last edited 28 days ago by Steve
Marc Guido
29 days ago

Tony, with all due respect, as a licensed adjuster for over 30 years I can assure you that there’s no exclusion contained in the standard ISO personal auto policy that excludes coverage for overloading a vehicle. That’s a popular misconception I often read in online RV forums, Facebook groups, etc. First-party claims are not excluded by the policy language, and in the event that the driver causes damage to someone else, in fact that’s what the third-party liability coverage is intended to do: defend and indemnify an insured for their negligent acts or omissions, which would include negligently overloading a vehicle.

Lil John
30 days ago

After towing for over 50 years I always marvel at pictures like this. I’ll bet over 3/4 of the readers saw this and said right off . . “tow vehicle too small!” Don’t skimp on the tow vehicle!

RV Safely
30 days ago

The location on the roof of the shower skylight and three vents would indicate that of the 2019 Heartland Wilderness models it is likely a WD2500RL or a WD2575RK which are shown at 32’ and 31’ respectively with GVWRs that would be just within the vehicles towing limit of 7700#.
Whether or not the rig with tongue weight was within the payload limit of the vehicle is the question. It’s also the important towing factor that most people neglect to pay attention to.

Tom Horn
23 days ago
Reply to  RV Safely

Should have been towing a Oliver or Casita.
I would bet it all that he-she was traveling down hill when this accrued.

Last edited 23 days ago by Tom Horn
Bill
30 days ago

It does look as though there are mounting points for a equalizing set-up but what about sway control, proper tire pressures all the way around, loaded below cgvwr?
Sway and over-correction could account for the appearance that the trailer slid on its side from the left lane.

HappyCamper 7424
30 days ago

I hope that you will follow up on this story with the conclusion of any investigation so that we can all learn from the facts and not have to depend on various “theories”.

Wayne
30 days ago

Always always….have enough truck!

Mike Sherman
30 days ago

My theories? #1 is speeding, the cause of many accidents. Folks who occasionally pull a trailer with the familiar family vehicle tend to drive like they always drive…maybe over the speed limit, tailgating, approach intersections with a disregard for stopping abilities. There must be a new mindset downloaded into the brain as soon as that heavy object is attached. SLOW DOWN, CREATE LOTS OF SPACE, ENJOY THE PLEASURE OF SEEING EVERYTHING FOR A CHANGE.
#2) Failure to use turnouts, even if there is only 1 vehicle behind you. Also, if you finally hit a passing lane and you have a dozen cars behind you, back off the gas. It is okay to drop from say 50-60 mph to 40 mph, give EVERYONE a chance to get past you. You will still arrive on time, because you don’t have to punch a time clock when you arrive at the campground.

Jeff
30 days ago

My observation of coming up on a Ghost trailer going down the road with what seems like no vehicle in front towing it is. When you finally catch up and pass them. The idiots never have extended tow mirrors. These trailers are at least 12 inches wider on each side of car. SO DRIVER CAN NEVER SEE BEHIND OR ON THE SIDE UNTILL THE CUT OFF SOMEONE WHILE THEY MAKE A LANE CHANGE.
I have seen this way too many times. Jeff

Mike Albert
30 days ago

Not making a judgement on the tow weight capabilities, it appears from the photo that the vehicle was in the left lanes of the roadway going up hill. There is a scrape mark on the pavement going towards the rear end of the trailer indicating that the trailer travelled across the road until it came to rest on it’s side. Questions to be answered would be why driver was in left lanes? What their speed was? And what the driver was doing at the time of the incident ( tuning radio or other devise, texting or making a phone call or eating and talking to passengers). Operator distraction is a major cause of crashes in our country. Hopefully no one was seriously hurt!

Last edited 30 days ago by Mike Albert
Bob p
30 days ago

Without measurements you can’t say for certain, however I have a 22’ travel trailer and the roof looks much smaller than the roof in the pic. Our son in law has a 28’ Mallard and his roof looks smaller than this, so I suspect this is closer to 30-33’ that the weight fell into the 7700 lb rating of the car and the RV sales person was more interested in the sale than the safety of the occupants. The person buying the trailer didn’t do any research just liked the trailer and said I want that one. You can see these potential accidents sitting in every campground around the country. There should be laws demanding RV dealerships evaluate a customers vehicles to determine whether it’s capable of controlling a trailer, towing it down the road is just a small part of towing, controlling it in an emergency maneuver, and stopping it is the major parts. I don’t care if the trailer has brakes, adjusting them right is not a guessing game, the dealer may set it up at purchase but I’ve never had a dea

Bob p
30 days ago
Reply to  Bob p

Cont’d. lership show me how to properly adjust it, I found out by reading the manual. How many people actually read their manuals?

Tom Horn
23 days ago
Reply to  Bob p

Not me, hammer down

PETER H COLLINS
30 days ago

There is also the WD 2300 DB, which is shorter at 27′ and lighter at a GVWR of 7400#. Roughly scaling the photo, I am estimating it is much closer to 27′ than 28’9″.

https://www.heartlandrvsource.com/specifications-2020-heartland-wilderness-travel-trailer-floorplan-wd-2300-db-tr43821

Mark M
30 days ago

I have a Cayenne diesel and tow a Lance 1475, which is about half the length and weight of this trailer. I have a equalizer hitch and the tongue weight is just over 200 lbs, so 1/3 of this setup. Although it tows great, drives nice with no sway, plenty of grunt with the diesel, I can’t imagine towing anything much heavier. Even though the Cayenne has a 7700 lb capacity I like to be much lower, just as I always have with any setup, including when I had a 28 foot with a 3/4 ton.

H Goff
30 days ago

As an experienced professional engineer with over 20 years investigating failures – some for insurance companies, I hope the sentence: If the vehicle was overloaded weight-wise, he would recommend denying the insurance claim.” is just a journalistic allowance and not the accident investigator’s actual opinion. Investigators have no know (or should not) of the policy coverage. Their job is to just give the client an opinion, then the insurance agent can determine coverage. This kind of comment would be great fodder for a plaintiff’s attorney when cross examining the investigator.

Paul H
30 days ago

speed…

Jayalanby
30 days ago

The wheel base is too short and too narrow to tow a camper like this safely. The frame is inadequate. The horsepower and transmission are irrelevant.

John
30 days ago

Short wheel base may be nothing to do with the crash itself as long 3 conditions are met.1/ Weight Distribution Hitch with sway control is installed, setup/configured correctly.
2/ Integrated Brake Controller is set correctly sending appropriate voltage to the electric brakes. 3/ Trailer/cargo weight limit set by RV and vehicle manufacturer and calculated correctly

All I can think of is swerving very hard avoiding sudden obstacle or the crosswind pushing the trailer over or going too fast causing to flip over.

John from around here
30 days ago

Wind could be a factor, unsatisfactory hitch arrangement, can’t tell from the picture if there is a WD hitch sway control system. That trailer is LONG, and dual axle, so it should be stable regardless, so I think wind or outside influence like an emergency maneuver that got out of hand.
Maybe medical emergency loss of control.

Randall Johnstun
30 days ago

Looks like a case of the tail wagging the dog.

Edward
30 days ago

Agreed.

Steve
28 days ago

Yes sir

Chuck
30 days ago

I’ll also bet that the Porsche had plenty of power leading to a false sense of control over it.

Tom Horn
23 days ago
Reply to  Chuck

If I had the dough to drive a Porsche, I would be camping at the Ritz-Carlton

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