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#4563489 - 11/03/17 11:15 PM Extremely lucky to be alive...
SonofJoe Offline


Registered: 07/23/16
Posts: 1052
Loc: Europe
The wife & I are just starting one of our regular, long holidays in South Africa. I picked up a relatively new Toyota Etios rental car at Cape Town airport.

I'm driving along the N2 motorway. Everything is just fine & dandy. South Africans drive us the left like us Brits, so no confusion there. The conditions aren't great (the roads are wet from a bit of fine rain) but not bad. I'm in the overtaking lane doing a steady 80-100 kph.

Suddenly I'm aware the car parallel to me, on the inside lane, is heading broadside into me. I suspect I was in his blind spot, he wants to overtake but he doesn't know I'm there.

I swerve to the right to avoid being hit. Immediately I know I'm in big trouble! I turn the wheel left and it's like I've massively overcorrected and am swerving back into all of the traffic. I turn the wheel to correct again and the swerve right is very violent. I'm now off the road, onto the central reservation (a flat, grassy patch of land) and skidding, out of control, straight into two lanes of oncoming traffic and there's absolutely bugger all I can do about it!

BOOM! I hit a van. The car spins 360° and stops, half on the road, half on the central reservation. I'm alive. The wife's alive. I get out & open the wife's door and she gets out. The van I hit is on it's side some way up the road. The front of my car is a horribly mangled mess!

Almost immediately the cavalry arrive. Strangers helping us. The police, ambulances, a fire truck too (although nothing's on fire). South Africans really are the nicest, kindest of people. After an hour, a replacement rental car arrives (thank you First) and we continue on our merry way with just a few cuts and bruises.

So BITOGers! I'm been driving for 40 years and nothing remotely like this has ever happened before. It felt there was this massive, heavy, swinging pendulum attached to the front of my car. What happened and what should I have done differently??? I should add that all this happened in a matter of seconds and all rational thought stopped functioning almost immediately but even so, any thoughts???



Edited by SonofJoe (11/03/17 11:17 PM)

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#4563497 - 11/03/17 11:34 PM Re: Extremely lucky to be alive... [Re: SonofJoe]
SonofJoe Offline


Registered: 07/23/16
Posts: 1052
Loc: Europe

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#4563499 - 11/03/17 11:35 PM Re: Extremely lucky to be alive... [Re: SonofJoe]
SonofJoe Offline


Registered: 07/23/16
Posts: 1052
Loc: Europe
That's what the car looked like...

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#4563500 - 11/03/17 11:35 PM Re: Extremely lucky to be alive... [Re: SonofJoe]
mbacfp Offline


Registered: 09/02/15
Posts: 837
Loc: California
Incredible story...so glad you both are ok. Sounds like at that point you either swerve for be hit by other car and sent god knows where. Not sure what else could have been done. Again, glad everyone is ok.


Edited by mbacfp (11/03/17 11:43 PM)
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#4563501 - 11/03/17 11:36 PM Re: Extremely lucky to be alive... [Re: SonofJoe]
gathermewool Offline


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 6005
How bald were the tires?

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#4563503 - 11/03/17 11:38 PM Re: Extremely lucky to be alive... [Re: SonofJoe]
Leo99 Offline


Registered: 03/30/14
Posts: 3052
Loc: NJ
Lucky! The front of the car crumbled like it's supposed to. Hope you don't have any lasting effects.
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#4563507 - 11/03/17 11:52 PM Re: Extremely lucky to be alive... [Re: SonofJoe]
SonofJoe Offline


Registered: 07/23/16
Posts: 1052
Loc: Europe
The tyres were in near perfect nick. I always check rentals before I accept them because in the past I've had a couple of issues. In fact, judging by the state of the interior, the car couldn't have been that old.

The Etios is however a car built specifically for emerging markets so wouldn't come with stuff like Electronic Stability Control which is now mandatory in the UK. Glad that the front did it's job and absorbed most of the energy of the impact.

Interestingly, none of the air bags deployed. Not sure if this was due to how the car got whacked.

PS - the wife is developing the most magnificent black eye I've ever seen. I'd post a photo but she'd kill me if I did!


Edited by SonofJoe (11/03/17 11:54 PM)

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#4563508 - 11/03/17 11:52 PM Re: Extremely lucky to be alive... [Re: SonofJoe]
ndfergy Offline


Registered: 03/28/16
Posts: 418
Loc: burlington ,ontario, canada
Thank God you and your wife are OK. That was one heavy impact.

I'm guessing the other driver abruptly changed lanes sans signalling that caught you unawares. Nothing much you or anyone else can do in that situation from a defensive driving standpoint. It's easy for me to say brake, horn and steer gently but that would be second guessing without knowing the complete situation. It usually takes 10 minutes or so of moderate to heavy rain to wash the oils off the road so maybe that was a contributing factor.

Again, glad you're OK.
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#4563511 - 11/03/17 11:56 PM Re: Extremely lucky to be alive... [Re: SonofJoe]
Nick1994 Online   content


Registered: 02/19/13
Posts: 10136
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
It was likely a combination of a third-world-country car's engineering, not very good tires, and wet conditions.

Originally Posted By: SonofJoe

So BITOGers! I'm been driving for 40 years and nothing remotely like this has ever happened before. It felt there was this massive, heavy, swinging pendulum attached to the front of my car. What happened and what should I have done differently??? I should add that all this happened in a matter of seconds and all rational thought stopped functioning almost immediately but even so, any thoughts???



What I'd do differently is move over if possible, but don't swerve out of the way. Let them hit you, it's their fault. I have a dash cam running at all times, and take it with me when traveling. If someone wants to scrape the side of my car while driving, go for it. I️ have a video showing me in my Lane.

But all of this is easy to say when I wasn't in the situation

Glad to hear you guys are ok.
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#4563513 - 11/04/17 12:06 AM Re: Extremely lucky to be alive... [Re: SonofJoe]
Silk Offline


Registered: 07/26/03
Posts: 4567
Loc: New Zealand
Where's the left hand lanes ? You are a long way from them...or has it changed to a 2 lane road ?
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#4563522 - 11/04/17 12:27 AM Re: Extremely lucky to be alive... [Re: SonofJoe]
SonofJoe Offline


Registered: 07/23/16
Posts: 1052
Loc: Europe

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#4563523 - 11/04/17 12:32 AM Re: Extremely lucky to be alive... [Re: SonofJoe]
SonofJoe Offline


Registered: 07/23/16
Posts: 1052
Loc: Europe
Silk,

Apologies for the poor photography but the photo above shows both carriageways of the N2. If you look closely, you can see the skid marks I made in the mud.

It also looks like I might have taken out a couple of the wooden posts which were laughably supposed to act as a crash barrier!

The ambulance you can see in the distance is just in front of the van I collided with. One of the guys had a bad head cut, which bled a lot, but they told me he was basically going to be okay.


Edited by SonofJoe (11/04/17 12:36 AM)

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#4563525 - 11/04/17 12:34 AM Re: Extremely lucky to be alive... [Re: SonofJoe]
OneEyeJack Offline


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 7480
Loc: S California
Most drivers have no experience behind the wheel when the car is sliding. Steering into a slide may not come naturally to someone that's never experience anything like that. Most often you will steer where your look and that usually ends up with someone looking the other way and making the skid or slide worse and turning a slide into a spin and maybe turning over.

At least now you've had your accident and survived without any obvious injuries other than your wife's shiner. That's good news.

Next time you get a rental car find a large gravel covered area and ...........

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#4563540 - 11/04/17 01:09 AM Re: Extremely lucky to be alive... [Re: SonofJoe]
Marco620 Offline


Registered: 02/25/14
Posts: 2195
Loc: Deplorable Kansan,HK fan!
You survived,right? banana
That is all that matters.
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#4563542 - 11/04/17 01:29 AM Re: Extremely lucky to be alive... [Re: SonofJoe]
Shannow Offline


Registered: 12/12/02
Posts: 39932
Loc: 'Stralia
Modern car safety is amazing.

So glad that you are both OK.

Spent my formative years in Toranas (Vauxhaul Vivas, extended to take the local straight 6), playing in pine forests.

But a couple of the driving books that I've read state that when you realise that you have zero control, jam the brakse on as hard as you can. Locked wheels straighten out your trajectoy, and ensure that whatever happens is at the slowest possible speed.

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