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Old 7th March 2018, 15:26   #1
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Default When a bus I was in played roll-over

It was the December of 2005. I was in the verandah of my sprawling ancestral home in the very much rural Watrap [don't go 'what?!'. It's how the village is named…]. I had come here to a get-together of all my maternal relatives, representing my family on the occasion. I was reading Dr.APJ Kalam's Wings of Fire. The first few pages relate Dr.Kalam's brush with death in a chopper crash, and how he decided to not waste another moment in his life after that.

I sat there thinking about how I had been wasting away my life till then. Back home at Chennai, each day of my bored existence in the semester holidays was an exercise in gluing my tired eyes to the computer monitor, hurting my already hurt back even more. I was 22 and addicted to computer games. Hitman, Empire Earth, Cricket 2002 and NFS3 ruled my life. Not only was i hurting my body with this hedonism, I was stoning my small brain to its death. A typical day would begin at 9:00 AM. After a hurried ablutions-session and a minimal breakfast, I would resume my sessions with Empire Earth till 1:00 PM when folks at home would scold me into having lunch. Post-lunch, it was usually NFS or Hitman till 7:00 PM. After that I usually wouldn't be able to keep my weary eyes open. Dinner used to be a war session with all the folks at home scolding me for punishing myself like that. Lastly, my sleep was always disturbed, owing to the unrest in the mind. Life was wretched, but hey! I was addicted.

'I will become a better man…i won't let distractions ruin me anymore…'

Grandma interrupted my noble train of thoughts with the gong for dinner. She had placed the plates and dishes already. For I was to start out to Chennai in 30 minutes. After dinner, I said my farewells to the family and started out from Watrap to Krishnankoil, where a Parveen Travels Omni bus was to pick me up on it's journey from Sankaran Koil onto Chennai.

The bus was unduly late, coming to Krishnankoil. There was a couple accompanying me in the long wait. I learnt that the man was a lecturer in the nearby college in the village, and he was travelling with his wife.

The bus came 30 minutes late, banking heavily to its left side as it rolled to a stop by the kerb in the state highway where we stood in wait. The vehicle was rather lop-sided in its stance, with an over-heavy top load covered with tarpaulin. It leaned so heavily to its left. Even the chassis seemed to grind on the left-side rear wheels of the bus with the weight of the cargo it bore upon the top. Anyways, our journey began soon enough after yet more cargo was loaded on to the top of the bus, and we had found our seats. I couldn't read Dr.Kalam's book, as much as I wanted to, since the crew turned off the lights and resumed playing a tamil movie on the TV.

I occupied the window-seat at the end of the bus by the rear windshield, and a student going home to Villupuram sat next to me. My lecturer-friend and his wife sat somewhere further ahead. My travel bag was stashed away in the luggage rack overhead. I slept the way I usually do, with my spectacles clipped to the front of my T-shirt, pointing down my chest.

4 hours into the journey at about midnight, somehow I awoke. At that moment I had the feeling that the bus was leaning to the left side. This feeling accentuated suddenly with the world turning upside-down. What actually happened is as shown below in the diagram (I learnt this later from the driver of the bus behind us who eventually came to our rescue):

When a bus I was in played roll-over-capture_20180307153808.png

The bus had leaned to its left and finally rolled once into thick thorn-thickets by the highway. In my head, I heard my voice speaking to me:

(When the bus started keeling over slowly for 3 seconds): Okay, so the bus is leaning over.

(When the bus finally rolled over in a flash): Beta, Jagan. Something's seriously wrong. Let's put on our specs.

And so I wore my specs. It was pitch dark now and eerily silent. It took some time to realize that I and my student friend along-side were seated on the ceiling of the bus. Soon enough, we all realized that we had been in a terrible accident. But none of us were yet ready to acknowledge that. The lights were soon switched on by the driver up ahead. It was still silent and there was smoke about us. I was seated on a light-dome on the ceiling and it cracked under my bottom. A fine young man lay across between me and my neighbour. (He had broken his thigh-bones, but I didn't know it then). I tried to wake this man up, but gave up. Passengers up front had started stirring by now. There were moans, groans and cries.

Presently, the Bus-Driver of a bus to Chennai who had followed us all along broken the rear windshield with his gigantic and metallic torchlight and called us out. The driver had sacrificed his sleeping blankets and had laid them across the broken glass and the thorny bushes on our way out. I was the first to get out, since I had been blocking the way, it made sense to go out first. I had few scratches on my fingers from glass-shards. It didn't matter as there were worse injured people in there. As i stepped out of the 'sleeping' bus, I realised there were passengers who had been thrown out of the bus in a trajectory parallel to the bus' fall, as below:

When a bus I was in played roll-over-capture_20180307153926.png

Outside the bus, further away from the strewn cargoes of the bus lay a few scattered and bewildered passengers of the bus. Few had broken limbs. It was a horrendous sight; but i was unable to help since i couldn't go bare-foot to their rescue, for the entire place was thick with thorny bushes and my sandals were gone. It took a moment for the thought to sink in that I was barefoot and that my luggage was still in the bus. By now the traffic on the highway had come to a stop and rescue work had commenced in full-swing. Torch-lights, first-aid kits and willing hands to help were aplenty. But none knew yet of the injured folks lying outside the bus.

Thus it was that I played my part to help the helpless; I guided rescuers to the places where I had seen the injured ones far away from the bus. The only catch was that I was shouting loudly at the rescuers who were looking for things to do; before long somebody told me to calm the hell down. I didn't know it then but I was in some sort of mental shock and hence, the yelling on my part.

The Highway Patrol policemen later shooed me away from near the bus as it was smoking. I knew not what happened of the battered passengers of the bus, for my young heart had overcome the trauma of the accident soon. I was the star-survivor now. I dished out reviews and interviews to the passengers of the other vehicles which were now standing by the road. I even spoke to the sole eye-witness of the accident as it happened, the driver who first came to our rescue. Soon I gave a full account of the accident to the Highway Police (when did the bus reach Krishnankoil, my account of the bus listing heavily to its left, how fast the driver seemed to drive etc.).

Ambulances came and went. Grown men cried, and children wailed. Nobody among the survivors went again towards the fallen bus. Yet I dived into the smoky bus to retrieve my travel-bag!

Angry police-wallahs chased me away from the bus as i climbed out of the wreckage with my bag. The uninjured among the passengers were promised by the Highway Police that their luggages will be handed over to them later by Parveen Travels. Other buses of the same company soon took us onwards to Chennai.

Footnote:
The accident changed me a lot. As soon as I got home, I upgraded my computer. And I never played the same old games again. NFS3 gave way to NFS5 and I took care to not waste another moment in my life playing the same old games again. I have played a wider variety of games to this day. HAIL DR.KALAM!!

It was just as well that I chose to get my bag from the ruins, or it could well be that I was a blithering idiot to go back into a smoking wreckage. If I come to think about it even more, I remember that when evacuating an aircraft, you're supposed to carry only yourself out to the escape hatch - your luggage be damned. But why do we do the things that we do, especially when dazed and confused? Standing barefoot in the thorny countryside, I chose to retrieve at least my bag and that's what happened. It's for me to program myself further to not do such a thing, should such a mishap occur again (God forbid)!

I often wonder to this day if the passengers' luggages were ever returned, and if Parveen Travels ever took responsibility for the incident. I suspect that the whole thing would have been swept under the carpet.

There were no news reports of the incident. Nobody was killed, but several were severely injured.

Last edited by GTO : 8th March 2018 at 08:25. Reason: As requested
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Old 8th March 2018, 08:27   #2
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Default Re: When a bus I was in played roll-over

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Road Safety Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 8th March 2018, 09:21   #3
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Default Re: When a bus I was in played roll-over

The NFS5 joke had me

Accidents happen, and what you take away from them (if you survive) are life lessons. Kalam became the President of India and you became a t-bhpian - at par, I would say.

BTW, you are a very good storyteller.

Last edited by Jaggu : 8th March 2018 at 14:36. Reason: As reported.
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Old 8th March 2018, 13:50   #4
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Talking Re: When a bus I was in played roll-over

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Originally Posted by samaspire View Post
The NFS5 joke had me

Accidents happen, and what you take away from them (if you survive) are life lessons. Kalam became the President of India and you became a t-bhpian - on par, I would say.

BTW, you are a very good storyteller.
Thank you, kind sir!

And as far as accidents are concerned, what I've learnt is that one should not judge how other people react before/during/after they occur. I've found that I've done some very strange things myself (like rummaging through the wrecked bus for my belongings). And for all that, I'm usually a very sane person.
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Old 8th March 2018, 16:45   #5
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Default Re: When a bus I was in played roll-over

Brilliantly written. We do funny things when we are dazed

I had a bike accident which I would like to share. It was Jan 14, 2015 and around 9AM, I start on my bike for college. I was in a good mood and it was a sunny day on a winter morning. I had about 45 minutes in hand to cover the 7 KM distance which usually took me 15-20 minutes, so I was in no hurry at all.

I warmed up my bike for a couple of mins and then made an aggressive start from home. I made an downshift at a turn I could feel the rear hop a bit. I should have understood the cue, enough being a Rossi! But I carried on, aggressive but safe. Barely 200 mts from home, I had gathered speeds of 40-50 kmph on a 4 lane road with moderate traffic. I was on the left lane which was empty and overtaking a car which was sticking to the right lane. Suddenly, two boys come on a Bajaj Platina, full-on Dhoom style. Trying to show their cornering skills on a straight road, they move from behind the car and try to squeeze in between me and the car (gap of 5-6 ft). Their try failed and they clipped my handle. In the meanwhile, I had already noticed these guys were in a real hurry and that I need to give them a pass. So my hands were already on the front brakes. After the shove from them, I lost control over the handle and started zigzagging while applying the front brakes instinctively (big mistake on my part). Eventually the front wheel washed out, I kissed the ground and dragged for a good 7-8 feet before coming to rest.

Now comes the good part. I was wearing my helmet, full jacket (not a rider one but a thick winter jacket nonetheless), my shoes, a thick jeans, a thick watch which saved my wrist and my iPhone in my pocket whose screen was facing towards me. More important, the "Dhoom" guys managed to balance and didn't fall. They didn't have any helmets and couldn't have afforded the fall.

Bad part. I was wearing a Ninja helmet half faced (lesson learnt and always used a full helmet now), my watch was smashed completely, jacket ripped, jeans torn, shoes torn, torn knees and torn knuckles. I got up, assessed all these damage completely and then limped to my bike to assess that.

A few people nearby came running and helped me pick up the bike, washed my hands and asked me to wash my face as well. I wondered how much dust would have flown on a neat black top road that I need to wash my face and I declined the offer. A drop of blood fell on my spectacle glass and I got my answer. I had 2 deep cuts on my forehead and eyebrow. I removed my specs to wipe the blood as it was impacting my vision and realized the specs were broken beyond repair. Two guys on a Pulsar had stopped to help me. One of them offered to take me to a hospital which was few hundred mts away. The people around also insisted I shouldn't ride myself. My knees and knuckles also told me the same and I just went with the flow.

The 20 something guy sat on my bike which had some cosmetic damage only. He fired it and I sat quietly. We moved and he was rather brisk. I kept wondering how he wasn't shifting properly, the jerks, the knocking of engine and chain noise made me angry. We reached the hospital, I got down, finally opened my helmet and walked to dustbin nearby to throw my spectacles, my watch and a few broken bits of helmet's interior plastic. I walked into the hospital and this guy was behind me.

The nurse saw me and asked to get into a room and started cleaning/dressing the wounds. They told me I need to have 2 minor stitches on the head injuries and take a TT. I kept wondering if I can still make it on time for my classes. That's when I realized my bike was with a total stranger and he didn't return me the keys!! Mid way through the dressing, I stood up and ran bare foot (knees be damned) to the parking. Bike missing. Immediately called a few people including my father and told them my bike has been stolen. Then I realized I need to tell them that I had an accident because of which I came to the hospital. I had to firmly instruct our caretaker at home not to rush to the hospital but run to the police station and lodge a complaint for my missing bike. After all my bike is more important, injuries can and will heal over time. I waited outside, making repeated calls to check updates for my bike.

A person standing nearby was listening to my talk and made a call to his friend, who promptly came back with my bike within a minute or two. My neat and shiny bike was covered in dust, dirt and mud in this short while. Upon asking, he started making some lame excuse which I didn't bother to listen. Took my keys, called back my caretaker to come to the hospital without any hurry and then went back to complete the remaining dressing and stitches. The looks on the face of the nurse was worth seeing when I walked in.

Never made it to college that day but insisted on riding my bike back home so that I could assess if there was any mechanical damage to the bike (there was none). Had to stop riding for good 2 weeks and drove around or was driven.

Five months later in May, after numerous failed attempts to convince my father that the accident was none of my fault, I had to part with my beloved Pulsar 180 for good. 12 years of biking came to an end because 2 Dhoom guys were in real hurry to get nowhere. I still yearn for that particular bike and it's sad that the particular color shade is discontinued.

Last edited by ashis89 : 8th March 2018 at 16:51.
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Old 9th March 2018, 13:43   #6
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Default Re: When a bus I was in played roll-over

This incident reminds me of an incident with my friend.
I was in Indore doing my MDS course those days.

I had a friend who had been allotted admission in a college in Mumbai (I had previously studied in the same college for my BDS course. So I guided him to the college and all)

Now, this friend had to go to Mumbai from Indore by overnight Bus to complete admission formalities. I dropped him at the bus stop. He kept all his luggage including his mark-sheets, certificates and other documents in his bag and kept that bag in the luggage compartment of the bus.

God knows what occurred to me, I told him to keep his documents with himself and not in the luggage. He said, it would be inconvenient to keep it with him and might lose or forget it on the bus when he gets down in morning. But still, he did what I said.I wished him a happy journey and came back to my hostel.

Morning 4:30, my phone rings. It was my friend and he was literally crying on phone. He told me, his bus had caught fire and he was just able to survive and there he was standing on the roadside looking at the burning bus, With his only his documents in his hand.

Last edited by car-dent : 9th March 2018 at 14:02.
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Old 9th March 2018, 23:21   #7
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Default Re: When a bus I was in played roll-over

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashis89 View Post
...Five months later in May, after numerous failed attempts to convince my father that the accident was none of my fault, I had to part with my beloved Pulsar 180 for good. 12 years of biking came to an end because 2 Dhoom guys were in real hurry to get nowhere. I still yearn for that particular bike and it's sad that the particular color shade is discontinued.
I picked up a used 2007 Pulsar 150 from my colleague and have been using it for about 18 months now for the office commutes. I hate to say this but the fact is the damn thing in inherently unbalanced. I never exceed 60 kmh however free the road may be and normally maintain 50-55 kmh in open roads.

Coming from a Dio the ride comfort was a big step up (no back pains) plus a cushy ride compared to the motoscooter. But when compared to a Unicorn or Gixxer, this is a lot too twitchy for a 150 cc bike.

I almost had an accident during my inital days with the bike, again due to combination of wet patch on the road (from a tanker lorry probably) and a moron jutting in from a pocket road without checking for traffic on the main road. I had to apply brakes with full force to avoid this moron, and combined with the wet patch at the exact same spot, the front wheel started slithering like a snake. This slithering went on for 4-5 times. I had already braced for impact in my mind. I had let go of both the both the brakes and started controlling the snake dance with my legs. Thankfully, I regained control of the bike and did not fall down.

Last edited by longhorn : 9th March 2018 at 23:22.
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Old 10th March 2018, 01:15   #8
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Originally Posted by ashis89 View Post
1.Ninja helmet half faced (lesson learnt and always used a full helmet now).


2. I had to part with my beloved Pulsar 180 for good.
1. This half faced Ninja helmet gave me scar on face for life. I was riding a friend's Discover, he was riding pillion, at 60-70 KMPH and at some place a dog decided to cross the road hurriedly came straight in front of my bike. I hit the dog and we fell on the road. As I was wearing the half faced helmet, landed straight on my chin on the road. My whole body weight was on my jaw. My chin tore up and received few scratches on my knuckles. My friend got no injury as he landed on me instead of road. My friend took me to hospital where I got 15 stitches on my chin. Later, dentist told me that you are very lucky that your jaw hinges didn't break, however, pieces of your 4 teeth (back ones) came off. My jaw didn't close properly for 1 month and I was on complete liquid diet for 2 months.

2. After 4 months of the accident my parents got me a brand new Pulsar 180.
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Old 10th March 2018, 04:55   #9
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Default Re: When a bus I was in played roll-over

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Bad part. I was wearing a Ninja helmet half faced (lesson learnt and always used a full helmet now)
I am not a biker at heart, prefer car over two wheels whenever possible. Still, I have that Ninja helmet, which can be used as a half or full faced. I used to wear it in half face style when I was learning, but thankfully, during all the 3 falls I have witnessed, my helmet was in full face mode and the 1st point of impact was at the chin. I can proudly say, I'm alive today because of the helmet. None of the 3 crashes were minor ones.
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Old 10th March 2018, 06:26   #10
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Originally Posted by locusjag View Post
It was the December of 2005. I was in the verandah of my sprawling ancestral home in the very much rural Watrap [don't go 'what?!'. It's how the village is named…]. I had come here to a get-together of all my maternal relatives, representing my family.............. Nobody was killed, but several were severely injured.
Wonderful write-up of the incident, locusjag - and I fully appreciate the trauma at the time. I'm glad that you've decided to get a grip on life & not let frivolous pastimes corner you!:

We've had (my wife & I, me driving each time - probably wouldn't have happened if my wife had been at the wheel, she being a very careful driver) two shunts on the highway. During the 2nd one, the car (our dearly loved 13 year old Scorpio) veered off the road with a burst rear tyre and rolled over thrice in the sugarcane fields (as per eye-witnesses) on the new toll road between Kiccha -Bareilly en-route Naukuchiatal in Uttaranchal. Both of us walked out without a scratch - relatively speaking - on either of us. The cops who came on to the scene sooner than I expected, were convinced that it was our Karma that had saved us. The car, which was laid up under insurance claim repairs, is today back on her feet as good as ever.

But today I feel I'm as good a driver as my wife, caution & safety-wise!

Last edited by navin : 10th March 2018 at 10:57. Reason: poor formatting corrected.
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Old 11th March 2018, 12:01   #11
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Originally Posted by longhorn View Post
I picked up a used 2007 Pulsar 150 from my colleague and have been using it for about 18 months now for the office commutes. I hate to say this but the fact is the damn thing in inherently unbalanced. I never exceed 60 kmh however free the road may be and normally maintain 50-55 kmh in open roads.
I rode a Pulsar 150 and a 180 for a together of 50k kms. I find it to be front heavy and dives a lot under braking, but is quite predictable too. Both my bikes were very stable and composed in city as well as at highway speeds even if I braked hard, especially the 180. I have ridden several other 100-150cc bikes like CBZ, FZ, Gixxer or Unicorn, although most of the rides were for < 50kms. I didn't find them significantly better (or worse) than my 180. Could be because I rode Pulsars for a long time and got used to them.

Regarding your Pulsar, can you check that the handle is straight. From my experience, the 150 handle tends to bend or go off center easily, especially after a fall.

Quote:
with the wet patch at the exact same spot, the front wheel started slithering like a snake. This slithering went on for 4-5 times. I had already braced for impact in my mind. I had let go of both the both the brakes and started controlling the snake dance with my legs. Thankfully, I regained control of the bike and did not fall down.
I did the exact snake thing and tried to control by putting my legs down but the bike didn't regain composure and fell. All this in a couple of seconds and I couldn't think through it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NPX View Post
1. This half faced Ninja helmet gave me scar on face for life. I was riding a friend's Discover, he was riding pillion, at 60-70 KMPH and at some place a dog decided to cross the road hurriedly came straight in front of my bike. I hit the dog and we fell on the road. As I was wearing the half faced helmet, landed straight on my chin on the road.

2. After 4 months of the accident my parents got me a brand new Pulsar 180.
Sorry to hear about your accident. I hope you recovered completely. Happy to hear you a happy ending to your accident. Ride safe!

My helmet was a full faced one which could be opened up. When open, the lid protruded a lot and hence, my face was much inside the helmet. Only 20% of times I wore it by lifting the lid and that too within the city. My reason - speed was low in city limits and I needed more ventilation.

On the fateful day, the lid was up as I wanted to enjoy the morning breeze for a km. before I close the lid. Within this km. I kissed the ground and the lid bore most of the brunt. Since I was sliding on the road, the helmet kept pulling back and face was being pulled out. That's when my forehead and eyebrow grazed the road.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leoshashi View Post
I am not a biker at heart, prefer car over two wheels whenever possible. Still, I have that Ninja helmet, which can be used as a half or full faced. I used to wear it in half face style when I was learning, but thankfully, during all the 3 falls I have witnessed, my helmet was in full face mode and the 1st point of impact was at the chin. I can proudly say, I'm alive today because of the helmet. None of the 3 crashes were minor ones.
I had the same one and wore it half-faced only for short city rides, especially for better ventilation. The accident mentioned above is the only one to my credit. Right now, I don't ride at all expect for a few days in a year when I ride the Activa at home (scooters are even more unstable). I always wear a full faced helmet strapped well on my head.

Last edited by ashis89 : 11th March 2018 at 12:06.
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Old 12th March 2018, 17:05   #12
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I had a similar incident during the 3rd year of my Engineering Degree. My and my wife (then girlfriend) were travelling to the college in the college bus. The road to our college used to be a narrow one with high embankment and no guard rails. If two heavy vehicles (buses and trucks) came head to head, one had to get down the road onto the soft soil beside.
I remember it had rained heavily the night before. I was drowsy and constantly trying to keep myself awake. At one point the driver had to get down the road to give way to incoming traffic and he did so without slowing down enough. Due to the rain, the soil had become too soft and thus caved in.
The bus rolled over into a ditch and stopped after a 270 degree somersault.
I had bruised my nose and fingers, but still remember frantically trying to console my wife (who was thankfully unhurt) and attempting to get out with her. A few of my classmates had much worse injuries.
I had crippling fear of travelling in buses for a very long time after this incident and was seized with terror every time a bus, I was sitting in, leaned to either side.

A few good things happened from the incident though
a) I got the permission from my parents to travel to college on my motorcycle.
b) My wife got impressed by my attempts to rescue her (even though there wasn't much rescuing needed except pushing her thin frame through a broken window) .
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Old 14th March 2018, 15:03   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NPX View Post
1. This half faced Ninja helmet gave me scar on face for life. I was riding a friend's Discover, he was riding pillion, at 60-70 KMPH and at some place a dog decided to cross the road hurriedly came straight in front of my bike. I hit the dog and we fell on the road. As I was wearing the half faced helmet, landed straight on my chin on the road. My whole body weight was on my jaw. My chin tore up and received few scratches on my knuckles. My friend got no injury as he landed on me instead of road. My friend took me to hospital where I got 15 stitches on my chin. Later, dentist told me that you are very lucky that your jaw hinges didn't break, however, pieces of your 4 teeth (back ones) came off. My jaw didn't close properly for 1 month and I was on complete liquid diet for 2 months.
Very uncanny resemblance to the accident I had. The doomed day was Oct 2nd, 2010, and I was riding my dad's Activa scooter. I too was wearing a half faced helmet, and the reason of fall was again a gang of dogs who decided to have picnic on the road! After the fall, I got dragged for some 10 feet with my pillion friend on by back! As a result, my chine tore up and had to get 15-16 odd stitches! The doctor told me something similar to what you were told of!

Cheers!

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Old 15th March 2018, 11:40   #14
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Wonderful write-up of the incident, locusjag - and I fully appreciate ....good a driver as my wife, caution & safety-wise!
I managed to locate a couple of photos of the vehicle taken immediately after the incident & after it had been pulled out of the sugarcane carpet!
Attached Thumbnails
When a bus I was in played roll-over-03032017178.jpg  

When a bus I was in played roll-over-03032017180.jpg  

When a bus I was in played roll-over-03032017181.jpg  

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Old 15th March 2018, 12:19   #15
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Default Re: When a bus I was in played roll-over

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Originally Posted by shashanka View Post
I managed to locate a couple of photos of the vehicle taken immediately after the incident & after it had been pulled out of the sugarcane carpet!
I never wanted to give your accident anymore thought than at a bare minimum! Yet, here we have even more pictorial detail...

You see, I have just bought a TUV 300 (based on the Scorpio's platform) which has these 75 aspect-'ratioed' tyres. My greatest fear after buying the vehicle has to do with tyre related incidents. I love the vehicle in most other aspects...but our SUVs come as a whole package, warts and all. With tall stances, and fat sidewalls. Damn!

I am glad you and your wife made it out unscathed. I'll be damned if I ever overspeed (beyond 80 Kmph) in my TUV!
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