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Old 10-16-2007, 05:19 PM   #1
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Sorry about the provocative subject - for those who don't know all of the trucker lingo, an "Alligator" is the carcass of a retread tire that had a catastrophic failure and exited the truck wheel. Usually you see these sitting serenely and non-threateningly occupying the shoulder of the road.

We left Las Cruces, NM headed for Tucson, AZ yesterday and were about 30 miles East of our destination. I was driving as is customary in the afternoon and following the tractor-trailer in front a safe six seconds or so when I saw this huge black "thing" erupt from underneath his rearmost trailer axle. It took me a couple of seconds to recognize the threat and my first instinct was to brake. I applied the brakes and then realized the futility of braking so I just gritted my teeth while this black Alligator (turned on its side, no less!) rumbled under the 40 feet of the coach and then the car.

Wow! - that was exciting. Coach seems okay. Car looks okay in the rear monitor. Got to our destination and nothing seemed amiss.

This morning while we were getting the coach and car ready for the road, I looked over the tow bar setup like usual and glanced at the left front fender of the Jeep. The fender was about half-detached from its mating surface. The front left marker light was toast. Moving on to the right rear tire, I noticed a huge black scuff mark on the aluminum wheel from the Alligator passing by.

We were lucky the retread didn't break the Jeep's aluminum tire valve stem with the Doran pressure monitor thingy hanging out on the end of it

There is not much you can do when you are in traffic and something suddenly presents itself in front of your rig. There is absolutely no point in trying an evasive maneuver - you will probably get yourself in far more trouble. Just not a good situation to find you and your rig confronted with.
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Old 10-16-2007, 05:19 PM   #2
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Sorry about the provocative subject - for those who don't know all of the trucker lingo, an "Alligator" is the carcass of a retread tire that had a catastrophic failure and exited the truck wheel. Usually you see these sitting serenely and non-threateningly occupying the shoulder of the road.

We left Las Cruces, NM headed for Tucson, AZ yesterday and were about 30 miles East of our destination. I was driving as is customary in the afternoon and following the tractor-trailer in front a safe six seconds or so when I saw this huge black "thing" erupt from underneath his rearmost trailer axle. It took me a couple of seconds to recognize the threat and my first instinct was to brake. I applied the brakes and then realized the futility of braking so I just gritted my teeth while this black Alligator (turned on its side, no less!) rumbled under the 40 feet of the coach and then the car.

Wow! - that was exciting. Coach seems okay. Car looks okay in the rear monitor. Got to our destination and nothing seemed amiss.

This morning while we were getting the coach and car ready for the road, I looked over the tow bar setup like usual and glanced at the left front fender of the Jeep. The fender was about half-detached from its mating surface. The front left marker light was toast. Moving on to the right rear tire, I noticed a huge black scuff mark on the aluminum wheel from the Alligator passing by.

We were lucky the retread didn't break the Jeep's aluminum tire valve stem with the Doran pressure monitor thingy hanging out on the end of it

There is not much you can do when you are in traffic and something suddenly presents itself in front of your rig. There is absolutely no point in trying an evasive maneuver - you will probably get yourself in far more trouble. Just not a good situation to find you and your rig confronted with.
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Old 10-16-2007, 05:33 PM   #3
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John, good advice.

Did I ever tell you about the time 4 deer ran in front of my coach heading home from T-giving in NY? Clobbered one on the left front. A second hit right behind the passenger front wheel and tumbled into every compartment door. The other 2 (luckily) missed.

My golden retriever was standing up front like she always does watching the world go by. DW was in the kitchen pouring me an ice tea. Not a drop was spilled.

When I saw the deer, I choose to 'grin and bare it' holding steady and tried no evasive maneuvers. Heard some thumping sounds, but no other impacts to the forward motion of the coach.

$4K later (with the help of the insurance company) all was well.

You should have heard my call to 911 when I finally stopped to report the incident. The dispatcher on the phone made it more colorful than it was (thank goodness)!

There's more to this story, but I'll stop here. All's well that ends well.
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Old 10-16-2007, 06:08 PM   #4
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I applied the brakes and then realized the futility of braking so I just gritted my teeth while this black Alligator (turned on its side, no less!) rumbled under the 40 feet of the coach and then the car. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">When I saw the deer, I choose to 'grin and bare it' holding steady and tried no evasive maneuvers. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Both signs of excellent drivers. Many are killed or kill others swerving to avoid animals or road debris.



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Old 10-16-2007, 06:09 PM   #5
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">trucker lingo, an "Alligator" is the carcass of a retread tire that had a catastrophic failure and exited the truck wheel. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
From what I've heard, maybe 50% of the "'gators" along the road are from re-treads with the remainder being the result of tread separations on "normal" tires.

John ... Our paths have crossed! We left Tucson a week ago tomorrow and went through Las Cruces on our way to overnight at Ft Bliss in El Paso, then on to Carlsbad where we are this week.
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Old 10-16-2007, 06:20 PM   #6
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Yep, you have to keep and eye out for those road critters. The drivers mirror on the dinghy (when we were towing) had the scrape marks of one that was thrown into our lane by a speeding 18 wheeler. Scraped the left rear tires on the coach, but took the paint off the mirror.

I did use a alligator to stop a fellow from tailgating me. I was running 5 over the speed limit in the center lane in my dually. A smartA was tailgating and would not back off or switch lanes. It was a small alligator and I took the truck over the top and the last thing I saw of him was he was standing on his brakes and head fro the shoulder with thing trapped under his front end of his poor little BMW. So they can be useful as well.


Just don't try to run over a real alligator...it is pretty big bump.

Ken
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Old 10-16-2007, 07:09 PM   #7
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Wow - Hope all I see will be on the shoulders. But I guess its like they say about motorcyclists, "There are those who have fallen down, or dumped, and those who will". The only thing I've had trouble with is a big highway sign between Limon and Colorado Springs that had blown down and was laying in the middle of the lane. By the time I realized what it was all I could do was straddle it, and the underchassis turblance lifted it up and wedged it between the drive shaft and one of the springs. If it hadn't been for a gentleman from Arkansas who was transporting a new travel trailer to a dealer stopping to help I would have had lots of fun getting it unwedged. And this was all on a 2-lane highway.
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Old 10-17-2007, 03:26 AM   #8
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JOHN: A good and timely post. Been there done that and hope I never have the opportunity again. The velocity of that tire carcass actually increases underneath your chassis and is really a missile when it exits. It can rupture gas lines, break fuel lines, tear off dump valves, on & on.
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Old 10-17-2007, 04:02 AM   #9
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John and Jane all's well that ends well.
Glad you had plenty of toilet paper on board
I don't want to experience that. Jim
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Old 10-17-2007, 05:09 AM   #10
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">--snip--
John ... Our paths have crossed! We left Tucson a week ago tomorrow and went through Las Cruces on our way to overnight at Ft Bliss in El Paso, then on to Carlsbad where we are this week. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>Darn - sorry I missed you Paul!

Ken - maybe the Beemer clown learned a valuable lesson
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Old 10-17-2007, 05:22 AM   #11
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John,

You got my attention with that one. Last I knew you were in Texas. I was wondering how the heck you managed to hit a gator in Texas...

The rule for encountering most road debris is stay straight, and grip the wheel firmly. That is what we pay insurance premiums for. It's a little different on a motorcycle, evasive manuvers are sometimes a necissity but your skills had better be up to snuff.

Good advice from Homer though. When you get the chance, scoot under the rig on a creeper and wiggle and poke as much of the exposed wires, fluid lines, and fittings as you can. Better to find a partially damaged part now than later while you are rolling down the road.

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Old 10-17-2007, 06:26 AM   #12
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by SargeW:
--snip--
Good advice from Homer though. When you get the chance, scoot under the rig on a creeper and wiggle and poke as much of the exposed wires, fluid lines, and fittings as you can. Better to find a partially damaged part now than later while you are rolling down the road.

Sarge </div></BLOCKQUOTE>Fortunately we have our M3 chassis service scheduled for tomorrow here in Phoenix. I plan on telling the chassis tech about our 'encounter' the other day. Good timing I suppose.
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:33 AM   #13
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They were always called Rubber Gators for my last 60 years.
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Old 10-17-2007, 07:08 AM   #14
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John! You did good! Nice post.

I have seen way too many minor accidents turn into major's by a bad judgment call. Take the damage and move on, things can be fixed, people can't.

Sorry to hear about the damage though.

John
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