Some people have bad days that just get worse. As an accident reconstructionist, I’ve experienced some cases where the driver just could not catch a break.
John was driving his pickup in a Pennsylvania rainstorm on a 2-lane state highway when an oncoming sedan lost control and spun into his lane. The impact on the front and side of his truck forced him onto the narrow shoulder to his right and into contact with the guiderail. A bad day for anyone, but it didn’t end there. His pickup struck the guiderail, rolled over it into the ditch beside the road and landed upside down. That was bad enough, but remember, it was raining. The ditch started to fill with water. His gas cap had been damaged in the collision, and gasoline began seeping onto the surface of the water. And, you guessed it – it ignited. John was able to escape with minor injuries and burns, but he had faced the possibilities of drowning or being severely burned from the same incident.
Adam, just coincidentally another pickup driver, was driving on a 2-lane state highway in New York when he observed the car ahead of him wander into the opposing lane. The car swerved back, but was struck in the rear side by an oncoming tractor-trailer dump truck carrying a load of salt. The dump truck lost control and veered across Adam’s lane in front of him. He was able to slow his pickup to a near stop as the tractor-trailer crossed in front of him. However, the now cross-wise dump trailer tipped over, crushing the front of Adam’s truck up to the windshield. As the tractor trailer came to a stop, his pickup was rotated slightly to the right. But, we’re not done yet. Along came the car behind Adam, which ran into the exposed passenger side of his pickup. At this point, he had still escaped serious injury, but there was more to come. The dump trailer still had several tons of salt in it, which was now pouring through the opening in the pick-up’s broken windshield, burying Adam in the cab of his truck. Fortunately, passers-by were able to scoop out the salt as it poured in, and Adam escaped serious injury.
If you or one of your clients has had a “bad day”, ARCCA’s accident reconstructionists can help to determine what happened and why.
DONALD EISENTRAUT, BSME, P.E., ACTAR, is a mechanical engineer at ARCCA, specializing in vehicular accident reconstruction and forensic analysis of crash protection systems and components.