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Old 27th March 2017, 01:05   #1
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Default God's Grace! Seatbelts, child seat & safe car - An accident survivor's tale

Related Thread: Link (ARTICLE: Seat Belts Saved My Life! True Stories & Pictures from BHPians)

Friends,

We do see accidents on highways and sometimes pass through simply when there is a crowd around it. But I would like to narrate my experience in a major accident I met with on 10-Mar-2017.

I own a 2011 Hyundai i20 Asta (Petrol) Model car which has ABS+EBD and Airbags for both driver and front passenger. I used to take utmost care to maintain the car very well and in safe conditions. Many of my Team BHP friend's know it . The ODO in the car is 60k+ and 95% of my drives are on highways mostly for temple visits in South India, particularly in Tamil Nadu.

Because 13th Mar is a school holiday for Holi and exams were going on for higher classes, we decided to drive to Thiruvannamalai temple on Friday 10-Mar-2017. Myself, my wife and 5+ year old daughter are the usual passengers for my i20. We had done countless kms in our car on countless temple trips and a few vacation trips as well. I always insist and in fact force everyone in the car to buckle up no matter what. For my daughter we had the baby car seat, so she was also buckled up. My wife sits behind me in the rear right, and my daughter's car is always fixed to rear left.

This is our usual routine whenever we do highway trips ever since we owned this car and we followed the same on 10th March as well.

2 weeks ago, on 10-Mar-2017 around 1.30 pm, after my daughter came back from school, we started from Bangalore and were heading towards Thiruvannamalai. Crossed the EC toll and Attibelle toll in the FASTag lane and everything was going as usual. I was speeding at roughly 100 kmph to 110 kmph. Since it is a 6 lane road, I usually take the middle lane which is a more safer option. The outside temperature was very hot and traffic on the road was low after crossing Hosur. My daughter was asleep and me and wife were casually talking on various things and travelling.

Around 2.45 pm, after I crossed Shoolagiri McDonalds/HP petrol bunk and just a few kilometers before Chinnar A2B/Bharat Petroleum bunk, the road slightly climbs up and only then we can see the surface of the road. As I was in the middle lane, the moment I climbed up, I suddenly saw a huge lorry/truck tyre in middle lane of the highway. My wife noticed it too.

If it was a cycle/two wheeler tyre, I would have gone over it, but being a huge lorry tyre, it is dangerous if i hit it. So I applied sudden brake (not to the level of halting the car) and to avoid hitting the lorry tyre, I turned the steering wheel slightly right (as i20 has EPS which is very light) to move to the high speed lane in my side of the road. When I did that, I heard a huge noise from the front right side and the car flipped to 45 degrees on its right side and I completely lost control. The car lost the balance from the front right side and was screeching on my side's high speed lane for a few meters at about a 45 degree angle. Inside the car, we were all in the same angle, and entire body weight was on our right side. The seatbelts were holding us very tightly.

It then hit the center median, climbed up and ran over a few plants in the median for a few meters and then landed on the opposite side (towards Hosur/Bangalore) high speed lane, dragged for a few meters in the same position and then halted back in normal position.

Unlike the accidents when things happen in seconds and we don't know what happened, I was able to recollect everything! After the car climbed the median, when it was moving for a few meters, I could see a slow moving container truck on the opposite side's high speed lane. I was hoping my car should not hit it, and luckily the truck passed before my car landed on the high speed lane. I could hear my wife screaming at the back all through calling my daughter's name. By this time, the glasses broke into pieces and fell inside the car, and all the mud/sand in the median and those median plants are also inside the cabin. We had a couple of drinking water bottles, one of which broke open and it became messy inside the car with glass pieces, mud, plants and all other objects.

Once the car halted to the ground, I did not panic even for a second, but I could make out and realized something went wrong seriously. I immediately opened the door and stepped out and could hear my wife and daughter crying.

I brought them out to safety pretty quickly. As I saw some oil leak in the front side, I was not sure if it was petrol and given the surface was very hot, wanted to move away from the car quickly.

It took couple of minutes to realize and recollect that we met with an accident!!! My wife was in shock and my little daughter was crying as it was super hot. We could not stand on the road surface. At least some 30 Villagers ran towards our car and were quite helpful. They couldn't believe that we are walking out of the car and still alive. Some ladies said to my wife, "you woke up that morning by seeing some good thing/good person".

Few cars stopped immediately on the opposite side offering immediate help to drop us back to Bangalore. All within less than 10 minutes. As the accident happened just now, I was trying to think what to do next. I first confirmed that we are all safe and no major injuries/blood that needs immediate medical attention. Once confirmed, I also looked around to ensure there were no other human injuries to any other person. Thank god, no human injuries to ourselves or any other person/3rd party. Pheww... Sigh!!!

And then I looked at the car to see what happened. I could see that the front right wheel was completely gone and the rear right has taken a major hit, because the car tilted and flipped on its right side and entire weight of the car was on its rear. No major damage to the left side. We suspected that a tyre bust happened which led to the accident. Airbags didn't explode as I didn't hit anything, but lost control and the car lost balance.

One of the villagers (who runs the tea shop nearby) said just a few minutes back, a tyre bust happened to a truck and that lorry tyre was left in the middle lane of highways. It seems, that stupid fellow did not clear the tyre after fixing the problem. God knows how much truth is in it.

In the next few minutes, a Maruti OMNI ambulance came to the spot quickly (no idea how it came there, may be going towards hospital in Hosur or some villager called it) and was asking us to get in. I politely told them, we are okay and ambulance is not needed. Similarly a police constable and CID inspector came to the spot within 10 minutes of the accident on their 2 wheeler. They checked that no injuries happened to any one. They asked me to provide my address in their diary. I wrote down the address and my contact details and then they left.

I had to search for my mobile phone and luckily it was inside the car in a pool of water (but still working). Grabbed it and I called up my close friend in Bangalore and told him about the incident briefly, and asked him to come to the spot ASAP.

In the mean time, one nice samaritan in an Innova helped me to move the wife & kid to the nearest bus stop which was about 200 meters away, as the temperature was soaring and it was very hot. After making sure they are in the shade and in a safe place at the bus stop, I then came back to the car to take our belongings and valuables slowly. And then took a few pictures of the accident for insurance purposes and also sent it to close people in WhatsApp. Called up parents and few other close friends to inform them about the accident.

I then called up my known Hyundai Service advisor in Bangalore and told him about the accident. He asked me to tow the car to the Adugodi body shop garage. So to tow the car, I called up Bajaj Allianz insurance as I had insurance coverage for towing as well. Bajaj Allianz said, they can tow the car but will drop only in the nearest Hyundai service center which is in Hosur. I said that will not help me, because I anyway again need to tow the car from Hosur to Bangalore. So I cancelled the request, and arranged another private towing vehicle (Thanks to the CID inspector and constable as they provided the number for towing vehicle which is very closeby).

In the mean time, I started to get lots of calls from friends and relatives inquiring about our safety. Many people did not believe that we are safe after looking at the damage to the car and were in shock to hear about the accident.

My friend came to the spot pretty quickly in an hour+ after the accident and we loaded all our luggage and belongings in his car. This was around 4.30 pm.

Very shortly around 5 pm, the towing vehicle also came through and we started to tow the vehicle towards Bangalore around 5.30 pm. Me and my family followed the tow vehicle from my friend's car (he was driving as I was still busy in attending to all the incoming calls) and reached Bangalore around 7.30 pm. I got down in Silk Board to drop the car in the garage and my friend dropped my family at my home. A true friend indeed, when I was in need!

While returning back, we got a little time to realize a few things.

(1) GOD's GRACE SAVED US => First and foremost reason why I say this is that, although the car met with the accident and we were safe inside, no other vehicle came in both the high speed lanes at the time of accident. Otherwise, it would have been a multi vehicle collision.
(2) SEAT BELTS SAVED US - Myself, my wife and my 5 year old daughter - all walked out of the car with no major injuries, just because of seatbelts. The minor injuries were also not due to an accident or hit, but due to the objects inside the car that fell on us when the car flipped, and the plants/mud/sand in the median was rubbing us - plus the entire body weight was on our right side. I had neck sprains due to this. My wife had some blood clots and minor bruises on her right and my daughter also had minor bruises due to the plants/sand.
(3) SAFE CAR SAVED US - We knew i20 is a safe car especially the top variant Asta. While buying itself in 2011, the sales advisor did tell us that the car's structure is strong. I remembered it very well and was very confident in all my drives that it is a safe car. But on 10-Mar-2017, it was proven and I had personal experience. The safe car took all the hit and didn't even allow any damage inside the cabin/passenger seat area. We all walked out safely! It died to save us.

It is a very common myth and mistake, even in law that people think it is enough to wear seat belts only in the front seat. Back seat occupants don't need to wear a seat belt. Completely wrong! Many people think its an inconvenience to wear seat belt in long drives.

I AM THE LIVING EXAMPLE FOR THEM. I CAN SAY CONFIDENTLY, even if you own a crore rupee high end safe car, or BMW/MERC/AUDI or any car for that matter, IT IS USELESS UNLESS YOU WEAR SEAT BELTS. PLEASE BUCKLE UP!!! AND FOR EVERYBODY IN THE CAR. PERIOD.

My family and many colleagues and friends in office are still enquiring about the accident and shocked to see the photos. Many still can't believe how we survived this major accident. Of course, God was with us that day to save us and I am alive here today to write this post on Team-BHP, but everyday is not the same day. All I tell them is to keep reiterating the same fact, PLEASE WEAR SEAT BELTS. That is the humanly possible thing we can do which is normally and easily overlooked. Many agree to it now and I hope they follow it.

The car is now in the garage and I claimed for insurance next day. It is considered a total loss due to its structural damage and is no longer safe to repair and drive. We miss our beloved car that saved us, but yeah, though its a non-living object, it's still considered as one person in the family as we had travelled so much in this car. We truly miss it!

Though we were not injured physically, it has impacted us psychologically and it will take time to forget it, until we buy another safe car.

Attaching few pictures.
Attached Thumbnails
God's Grace! Seatbelts, child seat & safe car - An accident survivor's tale-img_20170310_150041.jpg  

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God's Grace! Seatbelts, child seat & safe car - An accident survivor's tale-whatsapp-image-20170311-12.24.24-am.jpeg  


Last edited by GTO : 27th March 2017 at 12:44. Reason: Spacing - thanks for sharing! Glad everyone is safe :)
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Old 27th March 2017, 02:29   #2
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Default re: God's Grace: Seat Belts & Child Seat! Safe Car - A Survivor's Tale.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ravib View Post
Friends,

We do see accidents in highways and sometimes pass through simply when there is a crowd around it.
But I would like narrate my experience in a major accident i met with on 10-Mar-2017.

(1) GOD's GRACE SAVED US =>
(2) SEAT BELTS SAVED US -
(3) SAFE CAR SAVED US

Though we were not injured physically, it has impacted us psychologically and will take time to forget it, until we buy another safe car.


I think on Friday / Saturday multiple accidents have occurred in that stretch. I saw couple of badly mangled car on Saturday afternoon while going to thiruvannamalai (in SETC Bus). I remember the bus swerving multiple times to avoid stones/branches left behind on the road by vehicles which had broken down.

I don't know what makes some people leave these kind of junk/stuff on the middle of the roads which can cause dangerous accidents. This idiots who leave these items on the highway should be penalized

Yep. Seat belts are a real life saver and should be worn by all passengers. Curious about one thing : Did you climb over the lorry tire ? Or was there a blow-out on one of the tires ? was this the reason why you lost control ? Didn't ABS Kick in which usually prevents a skid ?

And bro, you are really lucky that there were no vehicles coming from the opposite lane. So many accidents happen/are reported about people crashing on vehicles which have jumped the median.

God , Common sense and Good Car in that order - Yep, Absolutely agree with you in the order and reasons on your narrow escape.

Thank God that you and you and your family came out of that without any injuries.

Last edited by haria : 27th March 2017 at 02:39.
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Old 27th March 2017, 03:58   #3
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Default re: God's Grace: Seat Belts & Child Seat! Safe Car - A Survivor's Tale.

Wow! Your accident also shows how important rear hatch design is. It looks your steed landed face up on the divider The cabin doesn't even look like one that's taken a major hit and that's what's saved you and your family.

I hope you and your family get over it soon mentally and are back on the road soon
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Old 27th March 2017, 04:29   #4
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Default re: God's Grace: Seat Belts & Child Seat! Safe Car - A Survivor's Tale.

Didn't know it was this bad. Scary indeed, goes to show things can go wrong at anytime irrespective of drivers abilities. Great decision to opt for the variant with safety kit and baby car seat was invaluable in this case.

Thank God you and your family are safe.
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Old 27th March 2017, 04:49   #5
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Default re: God's Grace: Seat Belts & Child Seat! Safe Car - A Survivor's Tale.

Thanks to many things that worked your way, you are safe. Appreciate you sharing the incident along with photos. Kudos to you for investing on safety!

I hope this helps in a few more people putting the money where their mouth/keystrokes are and invest on Baby Seat / Child Booster seat. People thought I was crazy to use a Child Booster seat in India for my daughter. BECAUSE its not a rule in India right? But the same people will use these seats abroad and complain how their child is not cooperating.

Resident investigators will probably guide you on how/why the car flipped.
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Old 27th March 2017, 04:49   #6
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Default re: God's Grace: Seat Belts & Child Seat! Safe Car - A Survivor's Tale.

Thank God. Happy to know that you and your beloved family is safe . True that we tend to think that accidents can't happen to us, until one day, when destiny has other plans. One more time the importance of wearing seat belt has been proven.This thread definitely stands as a testimony to that.

I take three learnings from this incident.

1) Eventhough I wear seat belt all the time it is important to insist or even force the other occupants, both in the front and rear, who may be reluctant to wear the seat belts, for the sake of their dear life.

2) An inspection of the tires for punctures, cracks, bulges, uneven wear etc. before every drive is a must. Also I am going to make it a point to check the air pressure once in every week.

3) The world is not so mean after all! When you are in distress, people you never knew before, come forward to lend a helping hand

Wishing you and your family love and peace.

Cheers ! Love and Live to Drive !!

Last edited by BLACKBLADE : 27th March 2017 at 04:50.
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Old 27th March 2017, 07:40   #7
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Default re: God's Grace: Seat Belts & Child Seat! Safe Car - A Survivor's Tale.

Thank God you all are safe!

I would have done this route umpteen times and so I could visualize the stretch that you are talking about. I am always extra cautious here to make sure there is no stranded vehicles just after the climb, but a tyre is something we will least expect. Good that you all were belted especially your kid in the child-seat. Also, thank God that no vehicles were there on both the fastlane(your side and opp lane).

Lessons, I think in such situation it is always better to brake to stop than changing lanes abruptly.

Note: I think the title should be edited to include "Child Seat" as well to highlights its importance.
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Old 27th March 2017, 07:56   #8
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Default re: God's Grace: Seat Belts & Child Seat! Safe Car - A Survivor's Tale.

This is the first thread I opened this morning and was shocked when reading your lines. Happy that you and your family are safe.

This is the route I used a lot and will be using more. I never expected a truck tyre to be left on the middle of a highway. I had to read your lines twice to make sure. Was it a truck or truck tyre? What more should we expect and watch out for?

I strongly agree with you on the use of seatbelt for all occupants. As rightly told, you and your family followed the basic rule which many are careless about.

I was planning to get a child seat for my year old daughter and I should better get it quickly. But I am not sure if I can get her buckled up in her seat for a city ride forget about the 6 hour highway drive.
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Old 27th March 2017, 07:57   #9
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Default re: God's Grace: Seat Belts & Child Seat! Safe Car - A Survivor's Tale.

You are one lucky chap along with your family. The way the crash happened, it could have ended up in any way.
I wouldn't be surprised if that was the spare tyre of a truck or bus that fell off.

Is the caving in on the hatch due to hitting something on the divider? Before I read the post and saw the pictures, it looked like some vehicle rear ended you and then you lost control and jumped the divider.

Good presence of mind as well from you to handle the situation well.

Last edited by tharian : 27th March 2017 at 07:58.
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Old 27th March 2017, 09:16   #10
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Default re: God's Grace: Seat Belts & Child Seat! Safe Car - A Survivor's Tale.

I just hope at the minimum all cars would be as safe in handling such a unfortunate incident in India :(
Have seen mostly high GC vehicles going over the median toppling onto the opposite lanes. By God's grace only your vehicle was involved and hope you and your family recovers from this.
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Old 27th March 2017, 11:04   #11
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Default re: God's Grace! Seatbelts, child seat & safe car - An accident survivor's tale

The Lord was certainly looking after you and your family! Not only were there no injuries with the initial crash, you are VERY lucky not to have a catastrophic head-on collision on the other side of the median.

That stretch is super-tricky and the steep slopes very deceptive!
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Old 27th March 2017, 11:12   #12
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Default re: God's Grace! Seatbelts, child seat & safe car - An accident survivor's tale

Glad that everybody is safe. Indeed the rear belt is a life saver.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ravib View Post
The minor injuries were also not due to accident or hit, but due to the objects inside the car fell on us when car flipped, and the plants/mud/sand in the median was rubbing us - plus the entire body weight was on our right side.
I think a lot of people (including myself) underestimate the damage that loose, sharp objects lying open in the cabin can do to the occupants in such a scenario. I've missus' clips and clutchers, a room freshner can, some pens, aux & charging cable and house keys almost always lying in cubby holes. On highway drives, my parents always carry fruits, disposable plates and a knife, which sit either on the rear seat or front seat's kangaroo pockets.
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Old 27th March 2017, 11:19   #13
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Default Re: God's Grace ! Seat Belts ! Safe Car - A survivor's tale.

Relieved to know that you and family came out of this without any major harm to your selves. And thumbs up to your safe driving practices.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tharian View Post
Is the caving in on the hatch due to hitting something on the divider? Before I read the post and saw the pictures, it looked like some vehicle rear ended you and then you lost control and jumped the divider.
I too feel someone hit you from behind when you changed lanes to avoid that deserted tire. Most probably a bus or a truck. Nothing else can explain that damage on rear right. That hit must've been the reason for loud sound and eventually pushing you off to the other side. I doubt that your right front tire would blow out when you're turning right. Loads would be higher on the left when turning right, isn't it?
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Old 27th March 2017, 13:33   #14
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Default Re: God's Grace! Seatbelts, child seat & safe car - An accident survivor's tale

Very glad to hear that you and your family escaped this nasty accident with relatively minor injuries.

If you don't mind me asking, what was the approximate speed at the time of the accident?
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Old 27th March 2017, 13:45   #15
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Default Re: God's Grace: Seat Belts & Child Seat! Safe Car - A Survivor's Tale.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vijayvelprakash View Post
I was planning to get a child seat for my year old daughter and I should better get it quickly. But I am not sure if I can get her buckled up in her seat for a city ride forget about the 6 hour highway drive.
Practice is the only thing which will help. Make sure that you belt her irrespective of any tantrums that she might throw and she will get the message soon. Also, decorate it and stress upon the fact that the seat belongs to HER and no one else can sit on it and stuff like that. Each child is unique, I know, but if she gets possessive towards it, that is one step solved. But, car seat, is a must.
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