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Adirondackwannabe's avatar

What are my options if I'm about to collide head on with a vehicle with various pieces of lumber strapped to the roof?(Think airbag)

Asked by Adirondackwannabe (36630points) September 20th, 2010

Saturday I was driving along with my s/o in the other seat and a passenger car cut across the inside of a corner, right into my lane. Bad enough, but he also had a few sheets of plywood, some 2X4s, and some 4X4s strapped on top of the car with one of those flimsy tie down straps. I’m thinking get ready to duck because that wood is going to be coming right at our heads. And then I look down and see the airbag. If I duck straight down that thing is going to nail me on the top of the head and most likely break my neck. The shift lever in drive sticks right in the middle of the space between the seats so there really isn’t room for two people to get to the center and still be below the dashboard. I managed to get over enough and he moved a little back into his lane but this has been in my mind since then. Any thoughts?

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10 Answers

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Well, your first option would have been to jerk the wheel hard to the right, jump the curb, ram a parked car or run up on the sidewalk and/or into a building. All of those are preferable to a head-on collision, with or without a jackass driver.

Even without the lumber on the top of his car, which adds to your peril, the closing speed between your two vehicles is 2x your speed (assuming the other driver is going the same speed). Hitting a building at 1x your speed would be preferable.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@CyanoticWasp That thought went through my head, but the corner also had a steel guardrail for the next 200 meters.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Anybody have any ideas? I have never felt so totally f**ked in my life. I’m usually optimistic I’ll come up with something, but this time I had absolutely nothing.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Other than jamming the brakes and running into the guardrail (which is still an option), your only other option occurred before he pulled into traffic, and that was to slow down and allow him / wave him through.

Sometimes the actions we took a few minutes ago leave us with no other options “now”. That’s the essence of defensive driving.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@CyanoticWasp This was on the inside corner of a rural highway. We both had been on the road for quite some time. It’s an uphill corner for me, wooded so no long range visibility, with no room on my side, and we were doing around 50 mph. I think he was doing around 55mph.

Dog's avatar

I owned a Ford Explorer. The news at the time I owned it was all about the way it easily flipped and how the car roof would easily collapse coupled with defective tires so I actually gave this question some thought from that perspective.

I also had the gear and column between the front seats but determined that it would be best to deal with the shifter in my ribs over possible decapitation.

Here is the kicker- I actually tested the theory.

I was in a collision- the rear quarter panel was struck and I was airborne. In that split-second I threw myself over the shifter and grabbed the underside of the passenger seat. The car landed on the roof which completely collapsed.

Where I was laying was the only space that was not affected in this case.

If I was in your place I would do the same as I did above.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Dog I had a similar thought go through my head and then I tried to figure out where can my s/o go? There’s only room for one. Go to the sides the airbag is going to push me back up for the wood to get me.

Dog's avatar

I was also thinking of the forward thrust on a head-on and how ducking over like I did could potentially leave you vulnerable to catastrophic injury to head and spine. So really I do not think it is the best option at all.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

That was a strange feeling. I’m thinking, I got nothing. And I still can’t come up with anything. I thought of twisting sideways and down with both of us in the center, but agianst the seats, but that’s probably going to snap at impact one or both of our spines.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Hey. Hi. ♥

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