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Video: RV smashes into vehicle-killer underpass

This is the 158th crash on this low bridge since 2008, and the second last month. On Sept. 22, a fifth wheel trailer being towed by a pickup truck lost its air conditioner and other equipment as it passed below the legendary bridge. The driver apparently ignored the posted low clearance sign and the overhead warning light. The result is not pretty.

The driver didn’t even stop for the red light.

The bridge is in Durham, North Carolina, and is nicknamed the Can Opener.

And now that you have seen this crash, in the video below watch dozens more at the same location — trucks, RVs, etc.

Be sure you know the height of your RV and don’t even attempt to try to pass below any underpass or bridge or through any tunnels unless there is plenty of room to spare. And if you don’t know the height of your RV, get a tape measure out immediately and measure it, and don’t forget to include air conditioners and any other objects that extend the actual height of the rig.

If you travel in unfamiliar territory, we highly recommend you carry along the Motor Carrier’s Road Atlas, which lists all low bridges and tunnels on American highways. The 2021 edition is available here.

##RVT968

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Vanessa Simmons
5 months ago

Once you measure add 6″ just to be safe in case the road was repaved recently and they forgot to change the signs! Also don’t forget to convert to meters if you are heading into Canada.

Sharon L Boehmer
5 months ago

I measured our 5th wheel at its highest point and added the bedroom ac, 13’6″. Ended up on a road construction detour in a city I had never been through with a RR overpass listed at 13’8″. I was confident in my measurements, but you know I crossed my fingers and said a little prayer…….aahhhh……made it. Now I will never attempt anything less than 13’8″. In Glasgow, MT there is a low RR overpass at 11′ something, it is not marked on google or RV Parky and the only sign was right before the right turn to it. We missed the sign, turned and stopped dead in our tracks! Apparently, the townsfolk had this happen before and everyone was kind enough to stop and help us make a u-turn back up to the main road and give us alternate directions. I sent the info to both google and RV parky and it still doesn’t show.

Drew
5 months ago

Seriously, I don’t think a road atlas made by anyone will fix these problems.

isatnleft
5 months ago

Retired truck driver here(37 years). One of the first things I had to learn to do when another truck driver was teaching me the ropes of driving a semi-truck 37 years ago, was to recall the last information signage(MPH, Curves, Animal crossings, Mile marker, CLEARANCE, etc.) that I drove past. That lesson has served me absolutely fantastically. I now drive an RV and feel that any driver of any trailer, RV or otherwise, should be trained or at least practiced in the art(s) of driving something other than a car or pick-up truck. I used to gripe about so much of the stupid crap that RV’ers did out on the road. I still do. We need to have either a designated license or at the least, an endorsement that is required for operators of a vehicle that is bigger than a car or pick-up truck. Period!

Joe
5 months ago
Reply to  isatnleft

Some states require a non commercial CDL class A or B drivers license. I live in Penna and am required to have a class B license to drive my 40 foot diesel pusher, if I was towing over 10,000 pounds it would require a class A. One of the major things it taught me was how to test my air brake system alarms and lock out systems. Since there are many states that do not require a special license for motor homes I would suggest to RV travel to investigate and run a tutorial on how to test the air brake system. It just may save a life!

Brenda
5 months ago

We have an train overpass that gets trucks all the time in Syracuse. You showed sign 11’8” painted +8 on it but the sign before the overpass says 12”4’. Many forget to add air conditioner or other things. Ours is 13’3 and we won’t go under if less then that. Know your rig or stay off those roads.

Richard Hughes
5 months ago

The guy is an idiot. Full speed through a red light! He got what he deserved. Thankfully, he didn’t kill anyone.

The Lazy Q
5 months ago

So close, now turn around and go back through…you’ll clear it now,

littleleftie
5 months ago

Aside from RVers, the rest of the trucks affected were all rentals. You might think that the rental companies would TELL their clients NOT to go that way!!

Brenda
1 year ago

There’s one in Syracuse,NY that’s the same. That’s the thing, there is no signage of height restriction, and if it is, it’s not in sight. We have one in Rome, NY that’s not posted until you get to overpass, then have to figure out how to be able to turn around.

Donald N Wright
1 year ago

Why do RV manufacturers put A/C units on the roof ?

Bob p
5 months ago

Why don’t RVers learn to drive?

Drew
5 months ago

Donald, Sorry but trying to protect people from themselves doesn’t work.

MattO
1 year ago

At some point wouldn’t it be cost effective to raise the bridge?

How much must that city pay in repairs, traffic jams – imagine if a tanker hit it.

squeakytiki
1 year ago
Reply to  MattO

They did raise the bridge last year by a whole 8″. But it’s still low enough to give taller vehicles a shave.

Bob p
5 months ago
Reply to  MattO

Tankers aren’t that high, only cargo trucks and RVs.

Leonard W Peterson
1 year ago

Using the Motor Carriers Road Atlas is good advice, however, be aware that if a route is prohibited to commercial vehicles that any low overpasses on the prohibited route ARE NOT LISTED.

Vanessa Simmons
1 year ago

He (being sexist here) RAN THE REDLIGHT! I learned in RV Boot Camp and RV Basic that you should always add 6″ to your height just in case they have not updated the signs since the last paving.

David
1 year ago

I can’t believe after so many accidents the city still has not correct this simple problem. This is not funny at all. 158 accidents in the last 12 years and, the athoritys haven’t fix anything. CLASSIC GOVERNMENT INCOMPETENCE !!!

Vanessa Simmons
1 year ago
Reply to  David

WHAT? Spend hundreds of thousands to adjust this bridge for a bunch of idiots! But one thing they could do is about a mile up the road put a hanging swinging sign that says if you hit this you need to exit this road. I have seen that at a few places but idiots still ignore it.

MattO
1 year ago

How much do the repairs cost? Other drivers could get hurt by these crashes.

I agree that drivers should be more cautious but a lot of those looked like rentals.

Not hard to see this happening to people who never drove a big vehicle before.

Last edited 1 year ago by MattO
Bob p
5 months ago
Reply to  MattO

Trucking companies lease most of their trucks especially the smaller companies.

Bob p
5 months ago

You can’t fix stupid! This is why large RV owners should be tested and licensed to drive it. A truck driver has to be trained and tested to prove they are capable of handling that truck.

Kevin Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  David

Ah David, it’s not hard to research but easier to shake your fist at the evil government isn’t it? The railroad owns the right of way and has steadfastly refused to raise the bridge for decades and major sewer pipes lie just below the surface of the street that would require millions of taxpayer dollars to relocate, if even possible. I doubt you’d congratulate any government effort that decided to spend the money required to remedy so perhaps you’ll have to accept that individuals are responsible for the damage.

MattO
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin Smith

Why would raising the bridge require moving/relocating sewer lines?

Bob p
5 months ago
Reply to  MattO

If you’ll notice that’s a railroad bridge, you don’t simply raise the train tracks. Quit trying to cover for the stupidity of drivers who are to lazy to measure their RV or pay attention to the warning signs. How many vehicles pass under that bridge successfully every day, it’s the ones distracted by their stereo or more likely their phone that have the accidents.

Skip
5 months ago
Reply to  MattO

Can’t raise the bridge. The Railroad owns the right of way. As stated they refuse to raise it.

Skip
5 months ago
Reply to  Kevin Smith

Well said!

Jack
1 year ago
Reply to  David

That looks like a railroad Tressel, yeah it would be a huge deal to raise it!

Tony Barthel(@tony)
1 year ago

How much stupid can you put in a single video? Runs the red light, ignores the height sign or doesn’t know the height of their rig, gets caught on video (two camera angles!).

Sometimes you meet people and wonder who ties their shoes for them in the morning.

Lou FInkle
1 year ago

In Ohio, I remember driving through a city during a week day. I followed the GPS and turned to the left. About ten car lengths in front I faced a 10′ 2″ maximum train underpass with my 12′ class A coach pulling pickup truck toad. I got them stopped a couple feet before hitting the bridge. It took police more than an hour to back up dozens of vehicles while I unhitched, backed a few hundred feet with each separate vehicles. IT HAPPENS!

Bob p
5 months ago
Reply to  Lou FInkle

GPS’s are set up for cars unless you buy one specific to your type of vehicle. The easiest way to tell if your ok is watch for trucks going that way. If you don’t see big trucks going that way, don’t go.

Montgomery Bonner
1 year ago

Trust me when I say “some people are just too stupid to own RV (car, plane, boat, put appropriate mechanized device here), and will never learn because of that stupidity. We read about them in the news daily. It is not a matter of learning, it’s a matter of “life and it’s rules do not apply to me”.

Bob p
5 months ago

Amen brother, you can’t fix stupid!

Kaeleen Buckingham
1 year ago

The signs just before the bridge say 12′ 4″ – which is it? We would fit the 12′ 4″ but not the 11′ 8″!

Alice S
1 year ago

It’s now 12’4″. The bridge was raised 8″ a year ago to help prevent some of the crashes. I don’t know how much it’s helped. According to the video it’s still an issue.

MrDisaster
5 months ago

If you search youtube for the 11’8″ bridge you will find one that show the time they spent raising it to the current height. The video also explained why it wasn’t raised any higher. There is also a large warning sign at the traffic signal.

Doug
1 year ago

Penske got a lot of free advertising – is there a rental location down the block or something. Reading English matters.

Grace
1 year ago

Glad we have our Garmin RV760. Plus, always watching out for low clearance signs.

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