Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Herbert W. Buoling


The rapidly increasing recrational activities of the American people have created a significant expansion in the use of motor vehicles for recreational purposes. The advent of mobile camping units and the development of water recreation areas has resulted in the rapid growth of a new class of vehicles on the highway system - the trailer towing combination. This study was conducted to examine the involvement of trailer towing combinations in traffic accidents and define the factors affecting their safe operation on South Carolina highways. The study was limited to traffic accidents ocurring in 1971. Registration data on utility, boat, and camping trailers were collected; and traffic accident reports involving trailer towing combinations were analyzed to determine potential safety problems. Of the three classes of trailers studied, only camping trailers are subject to inspection. Approximately 20 percent of all traffic accidents involving utility and boat trailer towing combinations were attributed to equipment defects on the trailers. However, only 5 percent of the traffic accidents involving camping tailer towing combinations were attributed to equipment defects. An annual inpsection of all trailers shoudl reduce traffic accidents involving utility and boat trailers which result from equipment defects. High rates of speed, in combination with aerodynamic forces, were found to play a significant role in traffic accidents involving the loss of control of camping trailer towing combinations. Female drivers operating trailer towing combinations had the most difficulty when subjected to varying wind conditions and unanticipated driving maneuvers.