Would you tamper with an unoccupied van?

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Would you tamper with an unoccupied van?

Post by bikeralw on Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:02 am

The thread about a damaged awning reminded me of an event a few years ago on a site in Italy. 
We were contemplating going out for a walk when a sudden thunderstorm broke out, biblical torrential rain for half an hour. I noticed through our window that an Italian registered van opposite and about 50 yards away had the awning out, and because the owner hadn't lowered one of the legs, it was straining under the weight of a massive amount of water, the van was obviously unoccupied. By the time the rain subsided, both legs of the awning were seriously bent.
Should I have done something?
Slackening a strut with that weight of water could've broken something or injured me. Pushing the awning up with a broom or something to get rid of the water could've ripped it.
Whatever, I'd have laid myself open to accusations of damaging his van.
Al.
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Re: Would you tamper with an unoccupied van?

Post by Gromit on Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:18 am

Hi Al

Exactly the same situation with a German van near Bernkastel-Kues.

We thought about it, but there were several occupied German vans closer than us, and we could see the occupants pointing and peering out of their windows.

Not one of them went out to help a countryman, so we thought "Sod it, if they can't be bothered to help, why should we!"

We felt sorry for the poor family (and slightly guilty) when they got back to find a totally destroyed awning and a dent in the side of the van where a pole had banged against it.

However, we would have had to walk past at least three closer German vans with their occupants staring at us, so apart from getting soaked, we may have been blamed for some of the damage. Who knows how people will react in these days of, "Quick, find someone to blame!"

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Re: Would you tamper with an unoccupied van?

Post by Bad Penny on Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:44 am

I would not give it a second thought, I would go and try and do something to save it.
On a camp site in Italy my awning was left out while we were in Rome, a storm  came up and did tear it a little, but the site staff dropped the legs and awning to the ground and saved further damage.

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Re: Would you tamper with an unoccupied van?

Post by meanchris on Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:32 pm

I'd probably take some photos of the impending disaster and then try to mitigate it, probably by using my hands to push any large amount of water off the side of the awning, then possibly lower one leg to help it drain.

Depends on the circumstances.

In the 'Germans' example above, I'd probably use sign language to encourage someone to come out of their van and help, safety in numbers and all that.

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Re: Would you tamper with an unoccupied van?

Post by Peter Brown on Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:00 pm

I've been in this position many times.

If it was on an ASOC rally I'd do whatever I could to minimise damage, knowing that the owner would understand my motives.

If on a campsite and the vans owners unknown to me, I'd try my best to advise site management and let them deal with it.

There was an occasion in 2016 when we were awaiting arrivals at an ASOC rally in Rudesheim in glorious weather when a violent storm suddenly erupted. There was a British registered large Burstner near our waiting point and one of the support arms sheared. It missed scraping the van but was flopping about; I chose not to touch it. When the owners returned, I explained what had happened and assisted them in getting the awing secured back in its housing. I think if the damaged arm had been doing damage, I would have attempted to secure it before they arrived.

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Re: Would you tamper with an unoccupied van?

Post by daisy mae on Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:03 pm

When at Weeting Steam Show a few years ago, very warm day a large van opposite to us had gone out and left the awning out, not pegged no storm straps, the wind got up and their awning was in danger of going over the roof, my husband used our pegs to secure it and tired it down, 

When they came back later not a word they just went in and shut the door, had to go and ask for our pegs and tire downs back, not so much as a thank you, perhaps ought to have left it. and not bothered.

The opposite,  when we were in France and had gone on a bike ride, the heavens opened and the wind got up, when we arrived back to camp, no sunshade out, table and chairs folded up under the van, and washing taken in by the French family next door. that is kindness ,

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Re: Would you tamper with an unoccupied van?

Post by Cymro on Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:12 pm

In an emergency, I honestly do not know how I'd react. But I'd like to think that I'd weigh up the situation thus:

If the awning (or whatever) poses a real risk of injury to a person, I'd do my best to assist. No question.

If the awning (or whatever) poses a real risk of damge to property only (be it the awning or the motorhome or whatever) I'd gauge whether effecting a remedy was within my own physical ability so as not to injure me, and whether my proposed method was that of a reasonable bystander; and if then I felt I could help, I would.

Easier typed than done in the heat of the moment.

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Re: Would you tamper with an unoccupied van?

Post by bikeralw on Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:27 pm

Regarding my experience, if I'd noticed the impending problem as the downpour approached, yes, I would've nipped out and lowered a strut. But as I only spied it when the downpour was at it's most intense, and the awning was already sagging with the weight of at least ten gallons of water, I decided as well as getting soaked, I might end up doing more harm than good.
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Re: Would you tamper with an unoccupied van?

Post by burlingtonboaby on Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:32 pm

We noticed caravans sun canopy in danger of twisting itself of the side of the van during a onshore gale at Dunbar some years back.
The wife phoned the wardens and one came out to wind the canopy back in .
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Re: Would you tamper with an unoccupied van?

Post by pstallwood on Fri Jul 20, 2018 3:07 pm

I have wound somebody else's awning in. Wind got up and awning started bouncing up and down gradually taking out the one peg in each leg holding it down. Got it in safely and owners were very grateful when they returned. 

I have seen too many awnings damaged by wind and rain pooling on the top to leave up in such conditions. We always wind in when leaving the van for any length of time and overnight.

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Re: Would you tamper with an unoccupied van?

Post by Bad Penny on Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:34 am

Having previously lost two awnings over the years, I would be delighted if someone took the time to secure mine or even wind it in.

Having said that, we now wind ours in if not in attendance.
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Re: Would you tamper with an unoccupied van?

Post by daisy mae on Wed Aug 08, 2018 6:39 pm

In my tenting days all the campers would help if needed, these days it seems as though you have to weigh up the risks, where if anyone was in trouble or tents/ awnings risk being damaged I would have thought most folk would help.like  years ago a policeman stood by while someone was drowning, a passerby went in to help. it is the joe public who are most likely to help these days.

What have we descended to.?     I will help wherever I can,

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Re: Would you tamper with an unoccupied van?

Post by Paramedic on Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:27 am

Have seen on YouTube a caravan awning suffering violent wind damage as recorded with commentary from within a nearby camper. Almost all comments poured scorn on the individual who was accused of seemingly finding entertainment in the unfolding drama rather than rescuing the situation. Recall us having to put away the awning when the wind was gusting. Pam struggled with the winding handle as I had to keep hold of the leading edge, stepping from one pair of steps to another afraid to let go until nearly stowed. Don't want that experience again hence changing to an air awning.

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Would you tamper with an unoccupied van.

Post by Pooly43 on Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:42 am

Hi all, Just back from our first weekend away with our Executive van, we had a few little niggles nothing serious, (broke two top cupboard door catches because we did not know they released by pulling on one end of the handle,  doh) so need to have a look at a repair or replace, but anyway back on topic, on the Saturday we went out for the day in my daughters car, I left the awning out, it rained and boy did it rain, when we came back in the afternoon, some kind person had lowered one of my legs to allow the water to drain off the top, I couldn't find out who did it, but i was very grateful that they did, so if you where at Hoddom Castle last weekend and lowered my awning leg ,Thanks. I am really pleased they did not just ignore it.
 Peter.
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