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Old 3rd December 2007, 13:21   #1
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Default Of horses humbling man (me). And of God's Grace.

This incident is mentioned here just to remind all the petrol-heads (and diesel-heads) about the possibility of us encountering a situation where the horses we think we control (under the hood that is) could end up controlling us. They almost wreaked havoc in my case.

Given that I drive 40kms daily in Chennai's stop-and-go traffic, I don't really get a chance to explore the car to its limits. To make up for this, what I do is have some weekend fun. On Friday / Saturday nights (after midnight), I drive around 11km from home to the best piece of tarmac in the city, the 2km 3-lane (on each side) road from MadhyaKailas to TIDEL park.

Being midnight, the road is almost empty and I get a chance to redline my car in the 1st 3 gears. Have been doing this for a few months now and last Friday was just another drive. Or that is what I thought.

Around 12:30PM I reach MadhyaKailas, but since there is quite some traffic even at that time, I do a very normal run till TIDEL park. Do a U-turn, check that there is no traffic ahead and slot into 1st gear. Hit the gas and just before the car redlines, I slot into 2nd.

Usually I ignore the speedo and concentrate only on the tachometer. But this time I want to check how much the car would do in 2nd (having read that the Baleno can do 100kmph in 2nd, I want to confirm it). At around 110kmph (speedo-indicated), I shift to 3rd gear.

I am at around 130kmph now and I see an Amby taxi ambling along in the fast lane ahead of me. On the middle lane, there is an Indigo, around 20 metres behind the Amby, also doing slow speeds. I know that redlining 3rd is not a possibility anymore. But at the same time, I gauge that the gap between the 2 cars would let me pass them, without lowering the speed already gained.

I flick the steering to the left and then correct it so that I would be in the centre lane. But that did not turn out to be as simple a manouvere as I thought. I am not sure what went wrong at that point. Maybe I overcorrected the steering to the right a little bit more than required. Anyway, to come to the point, the next minute or so was the scariest of my life.

The car swerved to the right and then to the left (maybe because I would have corrected the steering - dont remember) and then again to the right. This went on for atleast 4-5 times and the swerving was so violent that I had the feeling that the car would overturn. I was lucky that I was in the centre lane, else I would have hit the median or the pavement resulting in serious consequences.

As the car buckled around like a wild horse, the only thing running through my mind is that maybe I have a flat tyre which resulted in such unpredictable behaviour. Anyway, after what seemed like hours, the car took a sharp right towards the median. I was sure it was going to hit the median.

I imagined the damaged front of my lovely car, a small scratch to which has earlier given me sleepless nights. I thought of the cost involved in repairing it, of how the car simply wont be the same after a crash etc etc. Also thought of how I would explain this to my wife.

Anyway, this is where divine intervention came in and the car stopped a feet or so from the median. Maybe I braked or it stalled (the engine was off) - I really dont remember. I breathe a sigh of relief. But then I remember that the car is now perpendicular to the road. The Amby and the Indigo (who maybe slowed down seeing the mad Baleno hurtling along) are approaching.

The Amby stops just metres away from my car, while the Indigo slows down, moves to the slow lane and drives off. I crank the car, but it would not start. Try a few times, same result. Now I am on the IT corridor parked across the road and in the distance I can see the TN Govt buses + other traffic approaching. And the damn car wont start.

I get off and try to push her in reverse into the low-speed lane. I have pushed the car without issues many times before, but now it is as if it wont move - maybe I am drained due to the whole incident or it is the flat tyre.

Anyway the buses are getting nearer and then a kind soul (in a bike) stops. I tell him that I have a flat and need help in pushing it to the side lane. He parks his bike and gives me a hand. We get the car to the side and after thanking him, I go around the car to check for the flat, but all tryes are fine. Hmmm.

I get in and crank the car, it starts at the first try and I slowly drive some 2 kms to Kotturpuram and park the car. Get out, have a smoke, say my thanks to the power above for having saved my baby from damage. I cannot make any sense of what went wrong.

One culprit I see is the stock tyres. Plus maybe the soft suspension of the Baleno which gives a super ride, but reduces the handling. Plus maybe the power/speed at the wheels in that gear. That overtaking manouevre has been done by me countless times, but not in that kind of speed/rpm.

I am really shaken, but I still want to see what was special about the place where this happened. So return back to the IT corridor to the place where all this happened. The road is as good as any place else - no sand, no debris. Hmmm.

Anyway, I am thankful I came out of this without even a scratch to me or the car. Maybe this incident would benefit those who would read this, in being more careful while trying to take their cars to the limit. I for one, would surely be more careful.

Last edited by supremeBaleno : 3rd December 2007 at 13:24.
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Old 3rd December 2007, 13:34   #2
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holy **** that is scary :o glad you and your car are okay
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Old 3rd December 2007, 13:39   #3
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Nice account there. Was imagining things while I was reading the thread.But there are somethings that should not be tried/stretched. It is best if left alone. This is my feeling. Thanks to almighty that you are safe.

Last edited by snaronikar : 3rd December 2007 at 13:42.
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Old 3rd December 2007, 13:49   #4
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you have seen the dark side of speed and lived to tell the tale.
thank God for that.

I greatly respect your humility.
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Old 3rd December 2007, 13:50   #5
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Whew - glad you are okay.
Thanks for sharing the experience. It will certainly dissuade other people (like me) from trying out such things :-)
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Old 3rd December 2007, 13:58   #6
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Happy to hear the end result. You took your car to 130 kmph and wanted to do more in that road. That too when there was few souls (amby and indigo) around. Always assume what if "...............". This will help you to slow down your nerves.

Lots of uncertainties in our road.

JD incident is really an eye opener. It could happen to anyone.

Speeds at long empty stretches (highways) without any manouvere needs once in a while is fine.

Take care & thanks for sharing.

ps: I was waiting for the last one week to take the car to 120 kmph to test my brakes, which was done during last service (brake juddering problem at high speeds)

Last edited by Surprise : 3rd December 2007 at 14:06.
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Old 3rd December 2007, 13:58   #7
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Thank GOD everything went well.

Please drive safe. I know it was something you never accounted for, but, no use regretting later. []

Was just wondering, what would have happened with any of the modern (with high GC cars)! Good that it was a baleno.
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Old 3rd December 2007, 14:04   #8
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I am glad that you and your car came out unhurt in this whole incident. I also appreciate your concern for others while narrating your tale and warning others. Well, I am not that technical and I have no explanation to your incident except that your car did not handle well at that point of time. Anyways, it is a lesson for me too not to test the car to the limit. Your limit should be well before the car's always.
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Old 3rd December 2007, 14:13   #9
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wooo thats scary its good that every thing is fine.
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Old 3rd December 2007, 14:14   #10
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Originally Posted by bblost View Post
you have seen the dark side of speed and lived to tell the tale. thank God for that.
The good thing is he didnt join the Dark Side! No one was hurt and his lady is also doing fine.
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Old 3rd December 2007, 14:18   #11
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Scary to say the least !
i wonder how i would have reacted in that situation. But then again, i would never test my car to such limits.
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Old 3rd December 2007, 14:19   #12
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Dear SB, Good that you are safe. How about a longer drive every weekend to enjoy more, rather than trying to squeeze it in into a quarter-mile ?

Like tifosi's signature said: "Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled by their maker".
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Old 3rd December 2007, 14:28   #13
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SB, That was indeed a scary experience. Nice to see that you and your car are healthy and fine...

Pls be careful next time. Dont cross 100kmph unless you are on a NH or GQ out of city limits.

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Old 3rd December 2007, 14:31   #14
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very scary to say the least. great to hear that you and your car overcame it without a scratch. have you been able to understand why the car did not start or why you were not able to push it? by any chance did you have the hand brake lever slightly pulled? it is very strange that it happened in a baleno which can maintain its poise quite well at such speeds. IMO you should take the car for a thorough checkup.
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Old 3rd December 2007, 14:40   #15
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yes as blackpearl said its very odd that you lost control like that.. imo this particular stretch is as good as gq and probably safer in the fact that you dont have cows and bikes suddenly facing you.
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