Thursday, July 06, 2006

Anatomía del accidente

As I mentioned recently, the level of accidents involving HGVs in Spain is much higher than other EU countries. The following accident occurred on the A-7 highway at san Roque, km 118.

Picture 1:

The truck in the background has just hit a car from behind. The cloud of dust he threw up indicates that he did not see the traffic queue in front of him in time, and that he was going too fast.

I estimated his speed to be 100kph+ as he came round the bend and saw the slow-moving traffic just 100m in front of him - giving him 3.6 seconds to react and stop 26 tonnes of truck. He covered at least 25m (0.9s) before applying the brakes. Being unladen, the rear wheels immediately locked.

Picture 2:

That was an Opel Astra. The occupants (hidden behind the van) have been evacuated to the side of the road and are in a state of shock, and probably suffering whiplash injuries.

Note that the truck has finished in a position in front of the car it hit. It appears that the car was pushed out towards the right hand lane and then drifted back into the left hand lane after impact and the truck had passed.

The car is an insurance write-off. The rear crumple zone did its job, but the car is a foot shorter.

Picture 3:

Truck with extra ornament.

Further on down the road was the cause of the traffic queue - workmen were cutting vegetation on the central reservation and had coned off the left hand lane only up to 10m from where they were working, and with no advance warning signs WHATSOEVER. This despite the fact that they were working on one of the busiest roads in Southern Spain during peak traffic (just before 10:00).

Two pieces of advice:

1. Road works and maintenance are frequently very poorly signed and with very little advance warning. ALWAYS maintain your safety zone. You MUST be able to stop in the distance you can see.

2. Inevitably you have to share the road with HGVs. Give them as wide a berth as possible, and if caught in slow-moving traffic, keep well over to one side of the road to allow passing space if the above scenario should happen.


Grumpy Goat said...

At the risk of being contentious, how did the driver (you?) manage to operate a camera safely whilst piloting a motor vehicle safely?

El Casareño Ingles said...

Such are the compromises one has to make. At least I was only travelling at very low speed.