Slip slidin’ away
Slip slidin’ away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you’re slip slidin’ away
That’s exactly what the doofus in the silver Commodore was doing, slip, sliding away from us but there was no way he was doing it as smoothly as Simon and Garfunkle once had.
With the rear tyres locking and skidding on the bitumen and the front tyre probably just a fraction away from doing the same thing, only stopped by the anti-skid braking, the guy had very little control and if he’d hit the dirt in that state he’d have had none, thankfully that didn’t happen. Whether the guy had had some form of defensive training or it was all luck we’d never know but somehow he stopped the skid before the tyres hit the dirt.
By the time the car was on the gravel it was far enough away from us that it posed us little threat but that didn’t mean he was out of the woods or that we stopped watching him. Instead of having the rear tyres hit the dirt and sending the car in any number of directions as the loose gravel posed little resistance the driver was able to gain a little bit of control.
There was dust and no doubt small rocks being flung out from under the tyres but from what I could see in the rear view mirror the driver had released the brakes, by which time he’d probably washed his speed off and was down below fifty. In what can only be described as great timing he spotted a dirt track that went off to his left and into the trees and he quickly decided that was his escape route.
The turn onto the track was a little more than ninety degrees but it was still tight and with the speed he was still travelling there was going to be more luck involved getting that car up the track than skill. Ironically if he’d managed to keep the car straight on the shoulder he’d probably have missed us but because of the shit storm he’d created himself leading up to that moment his mind was telling him to get out of the way not to go for the near miss.
The last I saw of the car before it disappeared behind the sub station was the tail end of the car siding out to the right creating a dust storm as it went. No doubt our big box was getting showered with stones from the gravel but there as little we could do about it at that stage. Given the speed stones can shoot out from tyres of a moving car all we could do was hope that no damage caused.
What happened after that I got from Corey both over the CB radio as a blow by blow account and after the fact..
Apparently as soon as the driver reefed the wheel to the left and aimed for the track the rear wheel lost traction and started spinning. Corey knew as soon as he saw the spray of sand and rocks that rooster tailed out behind the car that the driver had found the loud pedal again and found it with a heavy foot. However with the momentum of the car still shifting and the car leaning into the turn there was no hope for the driver other than to let the car go, hang on and hope for the best.
While the spinning rear tyres helped slightly in propelling the car forward the sideways momentum of a tonne and a half of vehicle was too much and the rear end slid straight at the tree. The tree was on the edge of the track about five metres from the shoulder of the road and while the driver had been extremely lucky not to hit it with the front of the car he wasn’t that lucky when it came to the sliding rear end.
Because there is very little behind the rear panel of a Holden Commodore the damage, even with the force this guy hit the tree, was mostly cosmetic rather than mechanical. The hit would have definitely jolted the bugger back into this century but because the impact missed the wheel he was able to keep driving forward. And that’s what he did, as Corey’s rig was passing the track the Commodore he could see the car still moving forward with a smashed rear corner, no brake light and a speed nowhere near what he’d been doing when I first saw him.
“And that my friends is how you remodel the arse end of a Dunnydoor.” came Jimmy’s voice across the airwaves as the rear pilot passed the track.
“There is room to pull the truck up and get it off the road up here.” Pete said in response knowing that we couldn’t leave the scene of an accident even if we didn’t cause it and the driver was okay.
“No worries Pete.” I could see Pete stopped in our lane about seven hundred metres ahead of us.
We couldn’t continue on without the rear pilot but we could easily catch up to Pete since he was reporting space to park the truck.
“We’ll handle this end fellas. Stay on the the side.” Jimmy replied into the radio telling us that one of the boys in the rear pilot would talk to the driver and for us to stay put but keep out ears out for his call.
A minute later we were pulling the trucks off the road allowing a stream of traffic to run freely in both directions. There wasn’t a huge amount of traffic and most of it was behind us but it was good to get the load off the road enough so as not to require us to do any sort of traffic control. Had the police or road corps been watching and feeling pedantic they could probably have booked us but the traffic weren’t worried about a few metres here of there they were just happy to get past us.
While the boys in the rear pilot sorted out the Dunnydoor driver we all stretched our legs.
Previous Heavy Haulage story here.