As a skilled racing car driver, a person able to drive a variety of vehicles at speed, Danny had skills beyond the majority of the drivers he shared the road with. They were the sort of skills that should have seen him able to control his vehicle after a blow out, or at the very least take evasive action to lessen the effects of any accident. But that was not to be the case.
As soon as the front right hand tyre deflated the ute nose dived on the front end, the immediate change of angle and shift in weight pushed the two tonne vehicle to the right. Even before the tyre was fully flat Danny’s vehicle had crossed the white line separating the lanes of the freeway.
Despite the pain Danny received when the his foot slipped off the clutch pedal his reaction time was still pretty darn good, but it wasn’t the timing that dictated what came next it was the action. Firstly the anti-lock braking system, the automatic system that supplied current to the brakes in pulses to stop any wheel from locking up and skidding, under performed. It was not the fault of Danny but caused by the flat tyre which due to its deflation was not turning with the same resistance that the remaining three tyres were and locked up immediately.
By the time Danny’s ute had shifted half way into the middle lane of the three lane freeway he was thinking like a racing driver and trying to save the vehicle and himself. The Toyota in the lane that Danny had moved into did not realise what was going on quick enough and by the time they did realise it was too late for evasive action.
The dual cab ute clipped the front passenger side of the Toyota breaking the headlight and pushing in the front corner. As the driver of the Toyota registered what was happening he slammed his own brakes on. Danny’s ute pulled ahead slightly separating the two vehicles but by the time they were apart Danny’s ute had begun to spin.
Suddenly Danny was sideways in the middle lane of the highway, he’d managed to wash off some of the speed he had when the tyre blew but speed was the least of his concerns, regaining control was what mattered.
Everything happened in mere seconds but in Danny’s mind things were going in slow motion. His foot on the brake, his hands gripping the steering, even the way he looked down through the driver’s window and down onto the bonnet of the Toyota that was dropping back in a plume of tyre smoke.
Danny should have known better but with thoughts of saving the ute and pulling it up without hitting anything else he reefed the steering wheel downward with his left hand. With one front wheel locked and the other straining under the force of the brakes and its sideways motion the wheels did not steer. Instead the heavy steering of the large vehicle resisted and Danny’s hand slipped off the wheel and bashed into his left leg several centimetres above his knee.
There was immediate pain as Danny hit his leg but it didn’t register because at the same time his ute slide into the third lane of the freeway and straight into the concrete barrier that separated the north and sound bound lanes. The higher riding ute slammed into the concrete, the air bag fired, the bag inflating almost instantly and blocking Danny’s vision, the front end lifted and turned to the left, Danny then rode the barrier down to road surface.
Even with his seatbelt wrapped around him and locking him against the seat Danny was still thrown around. But that was the least of his worries because by the time the ute was facing the correct direction and the speed had dropped below thirty kilometres per hour there was a large B-double semi trailer barring down on him from behind.
Under heavy braking and with smoke coming from every locked tyre the truck driver tried his best to arrest the speed of the big rig but the collision was unavoidable. The big Kenworth slammed into the back of Danny’s slower moving ute, crumbled the rear panels of the tub folding them like they were paper and shunting Danny hard. The speed of the truck was transferred to Danny’s ute and the sped that he had washed off hitting the wall and braking was negated.
For several seconds Danny was a passenger in a ride he did not wish to be in, he could not see for the airbag, knew not where he was and had lost all control of his vehicle. By the time the driver of the Kenworth had got his large truck under control and stopped Danny’s ute had bounced off the centre barrier three times, spun to the right just has he’d done before hitting the Toyota and both tyres on the left hand side of the ute, the two tyres with the most pressure being applied to them, had rolled off their rims and were flat.
Had things gone on for any longer Danny’s ute could easily have tipped over, but thankfully for him the truck had come to a stop only a sheer instant before the lower part of its bullbar started to deform the under sill of Danny’s ute which would surely have seen the ute ride up the bar and flip.
The last thing Danny would remember seeing was the bullbar, the driving lights, the silver grille and the red and white badge of the Kenworth truck after the airbag deflated and he looked out his broken driver’s window.
Previous Car racing story here.