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Trailer towing

  • 27-11-2021 7:29pm
    Registered Users Posts: 11,301 ✭✭✭✭

    I am interested in you thoughts on appropriate speed for towing cattle trailers, laden and unladen.

    I’m not talking about legal speed limits. Let’s assume you are on a motorway. My interest is in what is a safe speed. I am never sure and would range between 50-60mph unladen and probably stay closer to 50mph laden.

    My fear is that you get no warning. When I was a kid my neighbour went into a speed wobble and it’s all too late then. He wrote off his vehicle, trailer and cows.

    so how fast is too fast?



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,124 ✭✭✭funkey_monkey

    It would depend on what is in the trailer and how tightly loaded they are.

    I think 50 is fast enough with a load - especially cattle as when they turn they have the ability to affect the stability of the towing vehicle.

    With sheep you could get away with a bit more speed as your main cobden would be a side wind.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,186 ✭✭✭blackbox

    Is the limit different on a motorway for trailers?

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,130 ✭✭✭Grueller

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,130 ✭✭✭Grueller

    I think that with a good load of cattle about 70km/h is plenty. Any more and if the trailer starts to wobble it's change the underpants time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,566 ✭✭✭Cavanjack

    Wouldn’t cross 30mph with cattle behind me on the roads round here anyway.

    Would keep under 50 then with an empty trailer.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 18,249 ✭✭✭✭Bass Reeves

    Depends on the road. Seldom on a motorway with cattle. On by roads generally 30-35mph( 50-55kph). On a good N road ( with a hard shoulder) 40-50 mph(65-80kph). If it's a narrower N road you be at 38-42mph

    I stick the RAV on the cruise control on an N road. It's a great job. Generally you are travelling slower than other traffic and can just drive away

    Slava Ukrainii

  • Registered Users Posts: 544 ✭✭✭Mr321

    Kinda need to take the road and conditions into it.

    50 to 60 km is plenty. You get the general feel from the vehicle what's what when it comes to the load and speed.

    Its like driving in snow or frost you can be as careful as you like but it's the ejit your meeting around the bend the problem.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    All depends on the road really. I think 80 is sensible as a top speed. After that it's about reading the road.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,090 ✭✭✭✭wrangler

    I'd always keep ahead of the lorrries, 100kmh on the good roads and whatever on the bad roads. but I never have cattle in the trailer

  • Registered Users Posts: 170 ✭✭Jim Simmental

    You are limited to 80km/h when towing a trailer

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,948 ✭✭✭alps

    A lot depends on the condition of tyres, and the capacity of the load to move around.

    How many would replace tyres when they're 7 years old, regardless of how much they are worn? How many park the trailer in the same exposed position to sunlight? How many overload a trailer?

    Good gear, proper tyres, no overloading, should be able to tip on at 80k without issue..

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,090 ✭✭✭✭wrangler

    I know that but never have been caught speeding, I'd imagne lorries appreciate me staying out of the way

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,296 ✭✭✭FintanMcluskey

    As you say, it depends on the load.

    Livestock is one the more unpredictable loads that anyone will carry, in comparison to gravel etc

    IMO 80kmh is to fast for a jeep and laden trailer

    Traveling at 22 metres per second, things can go wrong rapidly.

    Especially with the drawbar trigonometry set up on a jeep/car trailer. On a jeep or car the coupling point is behind the rear axle by a few inches, this distance affords the trailer greater leverage over the towing vehicle and unstable loads like livestock can exaggerate the trailers movement on the towing vehicle.

    The 5th wheel on a lorry is the only safe coupling to travel at that speed with a load on. The coupling point is forward of the towing vehicles axle.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,964 ✭✭✭✭Wishbone Ash

    That's a terrible mentality. It's not about being 'caught'. It's about the safety of others even if you've no regard for your own safety.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,090 ✭✭✭✭wrangler

    100kmh isn't fast, A trailer loaded right is more important. The hilux wouldn't even know a trailer was behind it. I see farmers with a jeep and trailer with cattle doing about 50kmh, They're not breaking the law but they're doing their best to cause an accident. We've great roads around here, a trailer isn't safe if there's a fear of it swaying. shoudn't be on the road

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,090 ✭✭✭✭wrangler

    I doubt if that jeep that overturned in limerick was even doing any speed yet look what happened.... lucky he didn't bring a few with him

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,038 ✭✭✭minerleague

    Maybe asked before, are the trailers you see in US with hitch in bed of crew cab type jeeps legal here? would love to try one

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,090 ✭✭✭✭wrangler

    There's one in the midlands somewhere, I've seen it in tullamore, and a local had a livestock trailer on a landrover forty years ago but it wasn't very manouverable reversing, poor lock on the landrover made sure of that

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,090 ✭✭✭✭wrangler

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,124 ✭✭✭funkey_monkey

    Yes - I've just been looking at them. There is a version that looks like a hand held vacuum cleaner on top of the hitch which is supposed to do the same thing - I think they are effectively brake pads working on the tow ball. With the state of the tow ball on some of our jeeps the pads would be struggling for grip.

    Fancy caravans now seem to have automatic trailer control which brake the trailer if it detects snaking. I don't think any of these are an option on livestock trailers yet.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,301 ✭✭✭✭downcow

    Has anyone had a very serious out off control snake or even worse an accident (or know of anyone) and what were the speed / circumstances.

    certainly I drive at what I think is safe but I had a 80mile round trip last week and very occasionally I go to Stirling bull sales (400 miles round trip) so the difference in 10mph can be an extra hour the animals are standing in the trailer. But unfortunately with cattle all is hunky dorey until they move around - or is it? Can a trailer just suddenly head into a terminal wobble for no apparent reason?

    I have a Mitsubishi L200 which supposedly has a built in computerised correction to snaking - sounds questionable to me? And again I won’t know if it doesn’t work until it’s too late

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,517 ✭✭✭✭_Brian

    Our caravan has an Alco hitch as you described above. When you hitch it on the handle presses down and clamps each side of the tow ball. Hard to know how good it is but never had any problem towing.

    caravan is very stable up to 95kph. Particularly on continent we would stay in inside lane and match speed of trucks who would all be sticking to limiters. Saves them passing us or us having to overtake, makes for more leisurely drive around 90kph.

    having a truck pass or passing a truck with the caravan isn’t nice, if they pass too close the caravan is drawn towards the truck significantly which can be disconcerting.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,090 ✭✭✭✭wrangler

    That's the reason that i do it too, someone that's long hours in a lorry doesn't want you in the way.

    If I was getting caught it'd be different, OH is going mad cause she's been caught four times speeding...... without the trailer

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,090 ✭✭✭✭wrangler

    Once it starts snaking, it's difficult to stop it, It's important to use a gate in the trailer for half loads. our 12ft trailer is deadly behind the car, ball hitch is too low and the trailer is balancing on the front axle.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,517 ✭✭✭✭_Brian

    Was on way to Rosslare few years ago on the N11.

    would have been doing around 80kph steady.

    Mondeo with large twin wheel caravan passed me, I recon he was doing well over 100kph givin how quickly he passed me. He immediately lost it, snaked all over the road, I had to break hard to give me space from him. I’d say pure luck he got it back in line but had covered the road from one side to the other. He pulled over and I passed him.

    maddening as he pulled into the queue for the ferry behind me and we had about 90 minutes to wait for boarding so there was no sense in speeding other than stupidity.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,090 ✭✭✭✭wrangler

    OH was driving on teh motorway in England when a volvo 240 estate passed passed with a caravan, he pulled in in front of us and immediately started snaking and ended up jacknifed with the car on its side. We got something in his car to prise off the ball hitch and pushed the caravan off the road and rolled back the car and pushed it to the side too. He said he wouldn't have had a clue what to do and was relieved to get it off the road

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,776 ✭✭✭paddysdream

    Happened me once about 25 years ago with a car and single axle trailer .

    Collected 8ft concrete fencing posts of a Sunday morning after finishing a job the previous day .

    They was only 10 or 12 of them but overhanging the trailer .Trailer started to fishtail on wide N Road at about 40mph and ended up a passenger as it shoved me over and back across the full width of the road .Took about 300m to come out of it and for luck no other traffic around. Very frightening experience.

    Has never happened me with a livestock box or flat trailer (yet ).

    Sheep not a problem but half loaded with cattle is the worst for being unstable.

    Would be on the road maybe 2 days every week with stock so trailer hitch ;tyres ,springs etc always checked and changed if worn .

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,038 ✭✭✭minerleague

    Just started driving, went in VW jetta (1980version ) and 8x4 2 axle timber cowbox for 2 bullocks from mart. A car came out of T junction in front of me ( I was on straight road doing 40 - 50 mph ) and had to swerve slightly to avoid, trailer started weaving and came off hitch ending up on side. Cattle were fine ( father was in car and had wanted to get haulier to move them in first place ! )

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  • Registered Users Posts: 18,249 ✭✭✭✭Bass Reeves

    A right one about 30 years ago. I was driving s Ford Sierra. I had a 4 wheel trailer behind it with 11 in No 13' long railway irons that I had bought for a cattle grid. It bounced up and down and went over and back at the same time. The road was bumpy as it was on top of a wet ground. It was one of the longest 30-60 seconds of my life before I got control back.

    Had a second incident about 2 years. I had got some treated lengths of shiplat sheeting. I think I had got about 25 on the back of a small long 2 wheel trailer. About a mile out the road the timbers started to sway. The tail of the timber would go left and the nose of the car right and visa versa. Another fairly long 30-60 seconds

    Slava Ukrainii