I should write this while I’m still fresh, with a knock on my noggin and a rather tender shoulder. While it’s still raining outside, while there is still hail flying through my bedroom window. Of course, while my ducks are enjoying puddles with our lone Egyptian visitor.
…no life flashing, only crystal clear slow motion footage, of shit happening right now
Early hours of this morning, I am sad to say that I destroyed my families beloved Opel Corsa. The very same one that my brother bought new. I’d love to have some amazing excuse like “A tree fell at me, the hail blinded me and a truck pushed me off the road.” All that though would be a lie.
Coming down Wynberg Hill towards Constantia, I noticed the my speed has climbed a little higher than what I thought was safe, I was a fraction above the speed limit at that point, but with the rain pouring, I confess, that was stupid.
I let off the accelerator, and almost instantly the car was side ways. I had hit a stream of water, that decided to cross from the gutter on the left side of the road, to the right. Pretty much making an invisible river that I hit just under 100Km/h.
This is the second time I’ve been in a situation where I know that the car isn’t going to come off in a good way, and I’ll enjoy even less. Both the previous time, and this time was the same. I remember everything in perfect slow motion detail.
I’ve heard from Q.I. That it’s thought that people’s lives flash before their eyes during near death experience’s, as to try and recall some event from the past, that might get them out of this current sticky situation.
For me, there was no life flashing, only crystal clear slow motion footage, of shit happening right now.
As soon as the car was sideways, I flung the steering in opposite lock, just like I’d do in a go-kart. This did nothing and I kept going towards the line of Oleander bushes. So then did my best to turn away from the plants. By this time I was already flying through them. Hearing sharp cracking sounds. Before I knew it I was back on the road, though to be honest, I never knew which side of the free way or in what direction. I remember thinking “Let me hit breaks hard, I’m already sliding across grass, so what if I lock my wheels? Oh wait, I’m on tar again, let me release the breaks and see if the car just rolls itself to a stop?”
As clear as this might be in my mind, I’m sure if there was a video of me, you’d only see panic in my eyes while I was randomly stomping on the break while attempting to turn in arb directions. All, of which seemed to do nothing.
I believe the car went through the bushes, hit something hard and that flung me out onto the road again. This something hard was also the moment when my head decided to greet the window.
After what seemed like an age, I found myself stopped, nose towards the plants, tail out in the road. I turned the car off, and switched on my hazards. At this point, I was still in the thought “Maybe I just slid a bit”. Sadly, this was not the case, as I discovered that I had to force my drivers door open to get out of the car.
I slipped out, standing in the rain, and I swore… I swore a lot. Next thing I went to check the front tire, since we had just put new ones on. The tire was off the rim, destroyed. I’m not sure why, but I as very worried about the wheel. I also then noticed that the silver sunscreen visor thing was lying in the middle of the M3 about 10m back. I went to pick it up. Slightly confused since it was on the back seat. It took me a while to notice that the back window had been smashed. The right side of the car had taken a rather hard and “crumpley” beating.
I took out my phone and attempted to SMS, and a little note. Touch screens do not work in the rain at all well. Sms’ing didn’t seem to help, and I had no call time, but luckily a good hearted Samaritan pulled over, and let me use his phone.
I’ve managed to destroy my families workhorse car, for that I feel unbelievably guilty. But at least I walked away. Others have not been so lucky. I fear that I wont be the last car to be claimed on that hill this winter. So, please drive carefully. Rain or no rain, don’t take risks and look out for water on the road.
And here is a little bit from GoSwerve.com about Aquaplaning:
The worst thing about aquaplaning is it takes you by surprise. You can just be driving along, when all of a sudden your car begins to skid or slide just like you’re on ice. In fact, you have about the same amount of control as driving on ice. So, what do you do?
Just like driving on ice, do as little as possible. I know that doesn’t sound like very good advice, but think about it.
If you brake, it will make the skid or slide even worse.
Step on the gas – accelerate – and it will make things worse.
The best advice is, very slightly, ease off the gas pedal – gently. And then keep the front wheels pointing straight ahead – even if it means driving towards something you don’t want to.