It’s every driver’s nightmare: Losing control of your car and rolling it down a steep embankment.
In a split second, that very scenario happened to a Honda Fit driver in Irondale, Alabama. In this case, he survived the nightmare.
The scary crash, which took place in December, was captured by the driver’s dash camera.
In the video, the car speeds along a highway in the rain (a little too fast given the weather conditions) when the vehicle apparently hits a patch of standing water. In seconds, the car veers out of control and tumbles down the side of the highway.
The driver says the car rolled seven times. Miraculously, he was able to walk away from the wreck. As for the Fit, the small car held up remarkably well after rolling down a hill at high speed.
And yes, the driver says he will be buying another Fit.
See the video below:
So, what happened, was it avoidable and can we learn anything from this drivers’ mistakes?
First from what we can see in the video, it was totally avoidable and it was completely driver error. This incident cannot be blamed on wet weather or bad roads.
Let’s take a look at the video and see what appears to have unfolded.
It was obviously raining and had been for some time as puddles had formed.
To start with, the driver of this Honda Fit should have been driving slower in these conditions. As he enters the highway from the on-ramp, standing water is noticeable on the road surface which should tell every driver to slow down.
Next, there is clearly a situation on the side of the road. A vehicle has stopped and, judging by the flashing emergency lights, there is obviously a condition that requires full attention. When there is a service vehicle stopped on the side of the road with its warning lights activated it should tell every driver something has occurred that requires their attention and to slow down.
The vehicle directly in front of the Fit driver is slowing and braking as seen by the brake lights coming on. This is also another warning to the Fit driver that his speed needs to reduce if the traffic in front is slowing. It should also say to the Fit driver that maybe the driver in front knows something about the road conditions there that the Fit driver doesn’t know about yet.
In this case, it appears another vehicle has already slid off the road in the same spot the Fit goes off of and the service vehicle is there to assist. If a vehicle is off the road and in the ditch, that should tell all drivers approaching that maybe that section of road has an issue. In this case it was deep standing water on the roadway.
What becomes evident next is the deep pooling of water on that stretch of road. The spray coming off the vehicles in front intensifies, suggesting the water on that part of the road is deeper. Standing water can be seen on the road itself.
The Honda Fit appears to hydroplane on the standing water and goes into a rear skid. Because he is slowing while hydroplaning and on a curve, the rear end of his Fit starts to slide out. The driver does not know how to correct a rear skid in a front-wheel drive vehicle. This technique can be taught and should be known to all motorists.
How could this driver have avoided this scary and expensive experience?
First, he should have slowed down on wet roads. Wet roads offer up only about half of the tire grip available on dry roads. The wetter the road the less grip available. This road was obviously very wet.
Secondly, he should have been practising better vision techniques by looking farther up the road. This vision technique would have allowed him to see the stopped vehicles and the crashed vehicle off to the side of the road a lot sooner.
Thirdly, by staying focused on his driving, he should have processed all that driving information that would have told him to slow down before he encountered the standing water.
Fourthly, he should have taken an advanced driver training course to learn all about these safe driving techniques. It would have been a lot cheaper and less painful.
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