Accident Report

Posted by Kurt Maurer on Sep 24, 2004

The cradle assemblies are in the photo below. The contact pads on the articulating thingies were broken off on the forward cradle; they had been glued and nailed, and the failure of the joint involved lotsa torn up wood (one seperated entirely; the other dislocated by some 60 degrees of rotation). Both cradle assemblies were rotated forward about 45 degrees by the impact, though the U-bolts had been checked for proper tightness quite recently. The racks are Yakima, which sport a rubberized coating on the cross bars, making the forces required to rotate the cradles considerable. The connection brackets between the racks and the Brahma camper shell were made by me, out of aircraft grade tempered aluminum. I just about tore my shop to pieces making them, too... it's true. It's incredibly tough stuff to bend, yet both driver-side brackets were badly twisted.

I may be able to get photos; if so, I will post them!

I normally use a foward tie-down of 5/16" high quality nylon rope tied in a "trucker's hitch" knot for reliable tightness, and one light-duty 1" wide nylon strap per each roof rack cross bar applied per CLC's suggestion. No aft tie-down was used. (Holler at me if you wish, but I have had MY pudding today, thankyouverymuch.) (I consider the front tie-down to be more of a "tell-tale" than anything, whereas it will show me any changes in position that might occur with the yak(s) upstairs while underway.) I normally apply all my strength when tightening down the main two straps, and if they break, I replace them with new ones (of course).

The wreck itself was essentially a broadside collision, whereas I rammed a static full-sized pickup truck at between 50 and 55 mph, and which very obviously totalled both vehicles (he made a VERY sudden left turn directly in front of me, and was cited for failure to yield right-of-way; my skid marks were measured at between 12 and 15 feet long). I had only time to complete half an evasive maneuver before impact, resulting in the right front of my Toyota Tacoma impacting the GMC truck in its bed, just before the passenger-side rear wheel. As for the GMC, the force of the collision broke off the rear right wheel, dislocated the rear axle and drive shaft almost entirely, and partially dislocated the bed of the pickup... but missed the cab altogether; so the evasive maneuver was in part successful. The right front of my truck was driven back to within one foot of the bottom of the windshield, the passenger side cabin partially collapsed, and the engine's block was breached as evidenced by the sudden and free release of copious amounts of motor oil, transmission fluid, and coolant. No fuel was observed to have leaked from either vehicle. The engine continued running (at idle) after the collision, and I shut it down normally, using the ignition key, before exiting the cabin.

I give high regards to Toyota. That lovely little truck of mine died saving my life as far as I am concerned, or at least sparing me a hell of a lengthy recovery. Thank God, and I thank God each and every day no matter what happens anyway, that that old 10-year-old airbag worked right when I needed it the most!

Hope this explains things thoroughly; if not just ask, and I will fill in any particulars.

Cheers, Kurt

In Response to: Re: Simply Smashing by M Davis on Sep 24, 2004