Saturday, November 8, 2014

NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE

There's an old saying about experience being the best teacher....and that is the reason for this blog post.  We are in our seventh year of full timing all over the USA in our motorhome, and we learn something new just about every day.  RV loves this lifestyle and thoroughly enjoys maintaining our coach.  RV has added a new dimension and meaning to the word "anal" while taking care of us and our coach.  During our travels RV frequently checks our tires, tire pressure, fluid levels, and general appearance of our coach as well as our tow car.
Our 2007 Allegro Bus and Tow Car 10 2014
A couple of  weeks ago, while on the last leg of our 4 month road trip we exited Interstate 10 just north of Lake City, Florida, onto U.S. Highway 41.  This is a very well traveled 2 lane road with a sloping shoulder.....not a good combination if you happen to experience a blowout with a 40 foot coach and tow car trailing behind.  We both heard a loud explosion and the coach began to vibrate violently and it was obvious that we were dealing with a potential life and death situation.  RV successfully maneuvered the coach to the shoulder, about half on, half off, on our side of the highway.
Rear Passenger Tire Blowout - 10 28 2014
Thankfully, we were not physically injured and RV subsequently exited the coach to assess the visible damage.  The first thing he noticed was the rear passenger slide was partially extended (10-12 inches) toward the rear of our coach.  There was also a large amount of what appeared to be steel wire, apparently used in the construction of the tire.  The wire was situated adjacent to the tire well and also appeared to be wrapped around the wheel (rim).  For about as far as we could see there were rubber tire remnants along the highway behind us.
Rear Passenger Tire Blowout - 10 28 2014
Rear Passenger Tire Blowout - 10 28 2014

 Prior to making any telephone calls for assistance we turned on our emergency flashers for both the coach and the car.  We immediately disconnected our vehicle because RV was concerned about how much the coach was leaning toward the passenger side because of the sloping shoulder.  We didn't call for emergency assistance (911) as no other vehicles were involved and we were not injured.  We called our roadside assistance company and then contacted our insurance company.  It was approximately an hour and a half before someone arrived with a new tire and rim.  While waiting, several law enforcement vehicles drove by and never stopped.  We were surprised they didn't stop to inquire whether we needed any assistance.  The only person(s) who stopped and asked if we were all right was a garbage truck operator and a local resident.  In situations like this a cell phone with the broadest coverage is an absolute necessity.

Remember our brand new leveling jacks we had installed when we returned to Red Bay, AL from Dallas, TX in September!?  The one located behind the passenger rear tire will have to be replaced. Visible damage included a severed hydraulic line, electrical lines, cracked tire rim, paint/body damage, and a broken windshield.   The most important thing is that we weren't injured nor was anyone else. Other RVer's haven't been as fortunate and some have even lost their lives.
 
Rear Passenger Tire Blowout - 10 28 2014
Broken Windshield - 10 28 2014

Rear Passenger Tire Blowout - 10 28 2014
Hopefully you might benefit from this post and never have to experience a similar situation.  But if you do, I would recommend you take a few minutes to review the following video produced for the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association by Michelin North America, Inc., in conjunction with the Nevada Automotive Test Center, which could possibly save your life and the life of your loved ones.

We are currently staying at Alliance Coach in Wildwood, FL, and waiting for an evaluation and estimate of the damages to be submitted to our insurance company.  More breaking news and blogs to follow.
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