When everything goes wrong

Feb 15, 2013
Be sure to read the drivers comments before watching.
IMO I just think he was going a little fast into the intersection

My name is Brad. I was the driver of the car and caravan.
Without going in to too much detail, I will explain a bit about what happened.
I am 53 years old and am a truck driver holding an MC licence with a lot of
experience driving heavy vehicles.

When we left Woody Head, I commented to my wife about the
amount of oil on the road. The posted speed limit is 100kph, I travelled at
80kph, through the small town, the speed limit is 50kph, I travelled at 40kph.
As I approached the intersection I was breaking as per the conditions of the
road and was successfully breaking. At about the last 50 to 30 metres the car
started to slide and the ABS started operating and was doing nothing to slow
the slide. As I have electronic brakes on the van that where working and adjusted
correctly, I attempted to use the manual operation but that had no affect
either. I had two choices.enter the intersection travelling straight or try to
turn left to avoid crossing the intersection. I decided to turn left. This
caused a jack knife of the car and van.now I dont know if that was the right
decision or not. BUT If the van hadnt have jack knifed we would have been hit
right at the drivers door..I will leave the rest to your vivid imagination
Garth and Renae.

I spoke to the truck driver and he said it did not look like
I was going fast. Even the police officer who viewed the video said the same. I
can assure you I was not speeding and the police report will state that.

The driver behind me had actually telephoned his wife to let
her know about the amount of oil on the road. Another witness told the police
the same thing. Two more witnesses stated to police they saw a truck leaving
Iluka leaking oil out of drums. Perhaps, when the truck had slowed to a stop at
the intersection the oil got heavier and this is where the loss of control
happened. I dont like to get involved in things like this, but on this occasion
as it concerns me, I felt I needed to state the facts.



Active Member
Nov 21, 2012
It's quite possible that the electronic brakes on the van were what caused him to come undone. If the cars ABS had started to function due to road becoming slippery the odds are that the vans brakes would have locked up as they are generally a constant degree of braking on the van wheels, so less friction to the road can easily equal lock up. Then applying van brakes fully with the manual override would have finished the job. Resulting in the van going faster than the car.
Whether he was going too fast for conditions I can't say as I wasn't there but I can see that an ESC might have been a bonus in this situation.
Likes: TACA


Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2012
Macedon Ranges, Vic
Correct me if I am mistaken, but an ESC does not mean your van suddenly has ABS capability, as ESC is designed to keep the van straight under breaking. If traction has already been lost by the car, the car's ABS will kick in, but as the van still has no traction it will push the car, resulting is a jackknife senario.


Active Member
Nov 21, 2012
Actually from rereading the ESC info, it could in theory make it worse. I was thinking that it would release the braking by the looks of it would increase the braking on one wheel and in the slippery conditions that could be nasty. Breaking early is the only real solution in this case.
Thanks for the pick up on that.


Staff member
Feb 2, 2012
Sydney, NSW
Very scary stuff.
I once did the same when towing my dingo (mini digger)
I got to about 50m before an intersection on a wet morning and started to brake, and it just didnt stop. No ABS, so with a bit more brake it locked up, and of course seemed to accelerate, a little less brake and no lock up but still not stopping!!! It was literally about 50m of slide and I was only going about 50km/hr, with a very slight incline. It happened so slowly that I had time to say a quick prayer and consider my options rationally as I approached the intersection! I too decided to turn left to minimise the impact from the perpendicular traffic.

Luckily my rig came to a halt just as I was to enter the intersection and all was OK, but it was truly amazing how little traction i had.

It's made me a better trailer driver ever since. I keep a very big gap in front of me and almost 'panic' when I see there could be a sudden stop coming. I'm on the brakes very early in most situations, aiming to stop well before I need to.


Well-Known Member
Mar 26, 2014
I reckon he was just travelling to fast. Oh and not speedng is relative. You dont have to be over the speed limit for the accident to be classed as speed related. If the Police deem you to be travelling to fast for the conditions, you can be done for speeding.
Likes: TACA


Active Member
Apr 27, 2012
Although not speeding, considering the roads were so so wet I think a little slower in those conditions may have avoided it. Coming into the turn off looked like he was traveling a lot faster than I would have in the wet. Very lucky for all though.


Well-Known Member
Jan 8, 2013
Newcastle NSW
IMHO the van is too big for the car, this is why tow limits on some brands are considerably lower than others, nothing to do with the power, it's the ability to stop it all. I also think he was going to fast and probable lack of attention as the brake lights come on after he is turning.


Well-Known Member
Nov 22, 2012
Swan Valley Perth
wholly snapping duck fish........
I am glad all came out alright - could have been a nasty one

I agree with@BigSkiddy I watched it a few times......... (Cruise Control, stab brakes.................. maybe?????)

dunno, as I said, glad all are ok....

Moto Moto

Forum Moderator
Staff member
Mar 15, 2011
The Gong
Scary Scary stuff. A sobering reminder for all that tow vans.

The combined weight of a 200 and that huge van would take some stopping, especialy in the wet.


Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2012
Macedon Ranges, Vic
As always it is a sobering reminder that these things happen - not nice to see something like this, glad everyone was OK and wherever possible, try to learn from it.

IMO it looks like he didn't hit the brakes until the car was at 90 degrees. Watch full screen and you'll see it.
Yep @BigSkiddy - Can see it. Watch for the brake lights. The brake lights only appear to come on once he has jackknifed and as you say, the car is at about 90 degrees to the van and at the point of crossing into the intersection. Looks like he has come up to the intersection and suddenly realised it, turned and then applied the brakes.

But then, we are being armchair crash investigators!

Looks like a New Age or a Lotus van, so would be close the the 2.5t mark, but with a LC200 it does have a towing limit of 3.5t. Vehicle seems to be riding flat and looks like WDH is also fitted.

As a close friend from the local police highway patrol (TOG) says - it does not matter how good a driver you are, how well your van and tow vehicle are set up or matched, once traction is lost, what happens next is up to physics and you are simply along for the ride.


Active Member
Mar 25, 2011
Ditto that everyone was ok. Driver of the truck should be commended for keeping the truck straight as there where any number of very bad outcomes. Pooling water and aqua-planing and oil and water are two very dangerous conditions that will affect car braking. Add a caravan to that and the results are in the video. I do not think that braking timing at the time of seeing the caravan in the video made much difference the slide and jack-knife had already started and they where along for the ride.

The leason here is that if you consider the road is wet with pooling water or that you have an oil / water mix then what ever speed you think is safe then reduce it, what ever distance you think is adequate to stop then increase it. The single hook-up point for caravans and trailers means that under brakes if the van will not stop as quick as the car then jack-knifing is a big possibility.

ESC may make it worse as it locks up the caravan and on water/oil mix means that you have little braking on the caravan and no directional control.

Safe driving, we do not want to be on these videos .......
Jan 21, 2013
Merimbula, NSW
The truck driver should be commended.there are some cowboys out there as well as some fantastic operators but lucky in this case the driver knew what he was doing.
Due to him they are still alive.

I come from the heavy vehicle training industry and have seen some horrible outcomes from inexperienced drivers from trucks colliding with caravans.
Aug 30, 2014
Wow only just saw this. I used to be a crash investigator and it was really interesting to see the vehicle dynamics.

The jackknife at the end would most probably be down to the abs allowing the vehicle to steer to the left while the poor old van can't "steer".

As an investigator the fact the 4wd was able to steer indicates the front tyres had traction.

How lucky all around.


Well-Known Member
May 10, 2014
Mornington Peninsula
interesting thoughts, once again only an arm chair opinion, but appears a little quick , certainly not rolling up to the intersection.
And i know if it was me in that situation there would have been no way i would have taken my hands off the steering wheel ( out of panic and fear)
to adjust elec brakes.
BUT at the end of the day , its just lucky the circumstances worked out for the better, as it could have been a lot worse.