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Saturday, August 4, 2012

When To Roll Your Vehicle

The best way to survive a vehicle accident is not to be in one. Other things you can do is to use the safety equipment installed in your car. Doing something as simple as putting on your seatbelt can save your life.

If only you could control when the accident were to occur. I would tell you to have it sometime between 7 and 9 in the morning, at least in the city. That's because this is prime off duty firefighter commute time. If something bad happens, qualified help is probably right behind you.

After working an overtime shift I hopped on the freeway and headed home. I was about 15 miles into my commute. I was in the zone. All the windows in my truck were down, the music was blasting away. It was a beautiful morning.

Then things seemed to slow down. I watched as the black car to vehicles up was hit in the side by the car next to it. The driver hit her brakes and slid into the K-rails.

K-rails are designed to "...both to minimise damage in incidental accidents and reduce the likelihood of a car crossing into oncoming lanes in the event of a collision." It did exactly as it was designed to do. But in the process of preventing the car from entering oncoming traffic it caused the vehicle to flip. The car rolled over one and a half times ending up on its roof sliding down the number 2 lane. The vehicle that caused the accident pulled over to the right shoulder without incident.

I hit the brakes and my hazards and made sure the person behind me wasn't going to try and use my tailgate as a hood ornament.I slowly picked my way through the debris field and stopped just past the upside down car. As I exited the truck I noticed another off duty firefighter from a neighboring department mirroring my actions. We approached the drivers side window and saw that she appeared mostly uninjured and that she was climbing out on her own.

She had been wearing her seat belt and the airbags had done their job. I did a quick assessment on here and found that she had only a little bit of pain to her right arm, probably from the airbag. After a few minutes the first due engine pulled up. I gave the captain a quick rundown and headed back to the commute.

If you have to get into an accident, between 7 and 9 in the mornings would be the time to do it.
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