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Old 5th November 2020, 23:43   #1
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Default Lost a close friend in a freak accident – How did it happen?

I lost a close friend of mine, a smart and wonderful human being, in a freak accident. Thinking about it, we just can’t understand how it could happen in the first place. This post is to request your views on what could have happened.

My friend had a manual petrol Honda City (maybe around 10 years old, but well maintained) which was sparingly used as nobody in the house was going out due to Covid situation in the city. This car was parked outside their house and on that fateful day (Oct 7, 2020) she decided to start the car and idle it. She opened the door and without getting inside the car turned on the ignition. The car started moving back and she was jammed between the door and a tree a few feet behind. She lost her life instantly.

This was covered in all newspapers in Bangalore. Please see one news item:
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...w/78566187.cms

The video is also available in the net (Caution: Accident video – Could be disturbing)


The hand brake was not engaged as someone had advised my friend’s husband that it is not good to keep the handbrake engaged when the car is not being used regularly.

The question all of us have is how this can happen. If we turn on ignition without engaging the clutch, the car will get switched off. In fact, some of us tried switching on our cars in reverse gear without applying clutch. As expected, a small jerk and the car(s) got switched off.

We know nothing can bring her back, but some explanation will help us to get some closure.

Can anyone explain how a car can move a few feet back without applying clutch? Is it possible that something may have been faulty in the car?

Last edited by navin : 6th November 2020 at 12:49. Reason: typos
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Old 6th November 2020, 00:01   #2
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Default Re: Lost a close friend in a freak accident – How did it happen?

Firstly, I am so sorry for your loss and my condolences to you and your near one's. A loss this tragic is very difficult to fathom and specially when an event of this kind, which nobody could have anticipated at all. Our views will not make your sorrow less but if those views help you in getting a closure to this sad incident, then I am sure members will surely pitch in with their views.

A car put in any gear would certainly move quickly before coming to a halt without the clutch engaged. Firstly, I have read about the news and I can't view the sad video and for that I am sorry. This kind of incident have happened before in front of my eyes but that was a hit from the rear, so I can well imagine the scenario. In that scenario also, the reverse gear was engaged but the owner was in the car and not outside off it. Modern cars can move without the clutch function before coming to a halt. I am sorry again but I don't think there can be any other reason or faulty mechanism of the car at play here in the incident. Just that, a life was lost for an inadvertent error and that is indeed sad. Perhaps, auto experts can shed some deeper insights into the incident. I would request you to not think over the incident much, and I also know that it's easier said than done but then that is all I can say to you here. May the departed soul be at peace,

Regards.

Last edited by ABHI_1512 : 6th November 2020 at 00:15.
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Old 6th November 2020, 00:47   #3
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Default Re: Lost a close friend in a freak accident – How did it happen?

Unfortunate incident. Condolences to family and friends.

Quote:
Originally Posted by n_ramesh99 View Post
My friend had a manual petrol Honda City (may be around 10 years old, but well maintained) ... without getting inside the car turned on the ignition...

The question all of us have is how this can happen. If we turn on ignition without engaging clutch, the car will get switched off.

Can anyone explain how a car can move few feet back without applying clutch? Is it possible that something may have been faulty in the car?
I guess some level of anti stall feature exists in most cars, also sometimes cranking power can be quite high.

This incident has a striking resemblance to another Bhpian's freak accident...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Superleggera View Post
An unfortunate accident happened to me during lock down...

I have a 2014 Honda City Vtec Manual.... the car was parked in first gear without engaging the handbrake.... turned on the ignition standing outside . (without sitting in the driver's seat). What happened next really shocked me – The car moved forward with very high momentum (as if the gas pedal is pressed) , pushing away the battery guy and banged head on to another car parked on the opposite side of the parking lot, causing significant damage to both the cars.

... the car should stall. I am wondering why it didn’t not happen in my case...
No life lost though.

Last edited by Thermodynamics : 6th November 2020 at 00:55.
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Old 6th November 2020, 01:10   #4
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Default Re: Lost a close friend in a freak accident – How did it happen?

Very unfortunate event. Although it was a mistake to crank the car without being seated but she didn’t deserve to die. May her soul rest in peace.

Coming to your question, my opinion is that there are two things- first, the modern MPFI car’s fuel pump primes and pushes enough fuel to the system even when you just switch on the ignition without cranking. This amount of fuel is sufficient enough to start the vehicle after cranking. Second, these cars are supposed to be started without pressing the accelerator pedal. The built-in anti-stall feature kicks the RPM enough momentarily to start the car without stalling and without any accelerator input.

Another factor can be that if the car is assisted by a slope, like if the car is parked in first gear and it’s parked on a downward slope, then it is most likely that the car will start and roll away without clutch or accelerator inputs. I expect it to happen 10/10 times. So, it’s outright dangerous. In fact, this is the standard procedure to drive off a vehicle if you’ve lost your clutch. It might be possible that the car here was parked with a slight backward slope. Please investigate that aspect. But even if it wasn’t, I think that the crank was strong enough to start the vehicle and make it move. Very sad to see that it ended so tragically.

So, anyone reading this, please take full control of your vehicle before even starting it. Please follow the SOP.

Last edited by saket77 : 6th November 2020 at 01:12.
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Old 6th November 2020, 05:32   #5
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Default Re: Lost a close friend in a freak accident – How did it happen?

Perhaps the road had a really small incline. If the handbrake is not engaged, even a small jerk could potentially get the car moving in the direction of the incline. It is important to park the car with the front wheel pointing towards the curb. This way if it rolls, the curb will stop it. Parking the car in gear, without the handbrake is certainly not something that should be done. It is unfortunate that she decided to turn the car on while standing outside, there is no way she could have controlled anything.

Last edited by GutsyGibbon : 6th November 2020 at 05:35.
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Old 6th November 2020, 06:35   #6
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Default Re: Lost a close friend in a freak accident – How did it happen?

Very sorry to hear about this - may God bless her soul.

I don't know how and why, but the only time I have seen a car move like this is my ex-tenant's Maruti 800. Exactly the same situation, but it was forward. The car was in 1st or 2nd gear, I was standing outside and accidentally cranked it with the door open and it straight away started moving! Went 25 - 30 feet ahead, hit a footpath and stopped.
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Old 6th November 2020, 06:36   #7
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Default Re: Lost a close friend in a freak accident – How did it happen?

A good practice is to start the car with gear in neutral. This was not followed hence it opened up the possibility of an accident and it happened.

In some cars, the clutch must be depressed for starting the car. But as soon as the clutch is released (by mistake), the result could be an accident. Hence the gear must be in neutral while starting the car.

PS: This unfortunate incident was discussed in the accidents thread. Might find more information there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by n_ramesh99 View Post
The hand break was not engaged as someone had advised my friend’s husband that it is not good to keep the handbrake engaged when the car is not being used regularly.
Again wrong advice. Hand brake doubles as parking brake.

Last edited by msdivy : 6th November 2020 at 06:39.
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Old 6th November 2020, 07:46   #8
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Default Re: Lost a close friend in a freak accident – How did it happen?

Very unfortunate accident, may the departed soul rest in peace.

My Bolero and tractor have the feature that the vehicle doesn't crank up unless it's in neutral, but XUV and swift doesn't have it. I used to think of it as an irritant than be of use but after hearing of this accident I have changed my opinion.
About car rolling off after cranking, you will normally see that after cranking the engine rpm rises by about 15-20 percent above the idling rpm before settling down at idling, this was perhaps the reason of car moving aggressively.
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Old 6th November 2020, 07:56   #9
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Default Re: Lost a close friend in a freak accident – How did it happen?

Something like this happened to me some years back. I was at a resort for the night and had parked the car at the resort parking. The resort was on a small hilltop. There was a big open parking ground. The spot where I could find a place to park was at a very slight decline (nose of car slightly lower than back). So I had engaged the hand-brake and also kept the car on 1st gear.

Next day, before I checked out with the family, I wanted to go and turn on the AC and ventilate the car for a few minutes. I opened the door and standing outside turned on the ignition and then the AC. I had forgotten that the car was in 1st gear and still standing outside, disengaged the hand-brake. The car lurched forward a few feet and then due to that momentum and the slight decline, it moved some more and rolled down the slope. It landed headfirst on the road some 14-15 feet below, then turned sideways and came to a rest with the driver's side of the car flat on the ground.
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Old 6th November 2020, 09:05   #10
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Default Re: Lost a close friend in a freak accident – How did it happen?

Very tragic accident. May her soul rest in peace.

As per my findings, the initial jerk in these situations is strong irrespective of first/reverse gear but it catches you off guard and you let go of the key immediately. In case you don't, even a small car (Swift 1.2) generates enough momentum to move a few metres as a result of continuous cranking. I presume a cold 1.5 litre engine will only be more violent in comparison.

This incident was also reported and discussed on Accidents thread:
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/road-...ml#post4903801 (Pics: Accidents in India)
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Old 6th November 2020, 10:10   #11
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Default Re: Lost a close friend in a freak accident – How did it happen?

Thank you all for taking time to respond.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thermodynamics View Post
Unfortunate incident. Condolences to family and friends.

This incident has a striking resemblance to another Bhpian's freak accident...

No life lost though.
Thank you for directing to that link. It had several incidents very similar to this, though none of them, fortunately, resulted in an injury. I realize now that people starting the car without entering the car is not so rare after all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
Very unfortunate event. Although it was a mistake to crank the car without being seated but she didn’t deserve to die.

Another factor can be that if the car is assisted by a slope, like if the car is parked in first gear and it’s parked on a downward slope, then it is most likely that the car will start and roll away without clutch or accelerator inputs.
Absolutely. I had also wondered initially how can Nandini do such a mistake. She had been driving for more than 20 years and was also an auto enthusiast, in fact a regular reader of our forum. She was also a cleanly freak and germophobic. What happened was that car's battery was changed a few days before and perhaps she did not want to get into the car thinking that it was not disinfected (as the mechanic would have used the driver's seat for starting the car). A moment's lapse and an error of judgement resulted in this fatal accident

In this case, there was a small incline, but in the opposite direction. The car's movement so powerful negating that incline!

Quote:
Originally Posted by msdivy View Post

PS: This unfortunate incident was discussed in the accidents thread. Might find more information there.

Again wrong advice. Hand brake doubles as parking brake.
Thank you for the link.

Yes, the advice was meant for parking cars long term, perhaps not applicable in this case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by self_driven View Post
Very tragic accident. May her soul rest in peace.

This incident was also reported and discussed on Accidents thread:
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/road-...ml#post4903801 (Pics: Accidents in India)
Thank you
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Old 6th November 2020, 10:32   #12
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Default Re: Lost a close friend in a freak accident – How did it happen?

Really sad.

I can share my story in which I had actual used this vehicle behavior to my rescue.

As shared in one of the other threads, my Palio clutch has given up in a god forsaken place. What I did at that time was, put the car in second gear, turned the ignition and the starter motor with the battery power did the rest (this is equivalent to a person pushing the car and starting in gear). Once the car starts, the engine runs at idle RPM, if in gear the car will run at its respective crawling speed in the respective gear. The initial jump from the started is fairly aggressive though.

Basically the car becomes good enough to drive normally, as long as you dont stall it again.

Last edited by 2000rpm : 6th November 2020 at 10:49.
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Old 6th November 2020, 10:33   #13
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Default Re: Lost a close friend in a freak accident – How did it happen?

I understand what you’re going through. Last year, I lost my best friend too in a bike accident near Vakola, Mumbai.

Lost a close friend in a freak accident – How did it happen?-c1901fd541cb47df9108d04a5baaef06.jpeg

He was like a brother and knew each and everything about me. Always positive and always believed in me. Ever since he’s gone, I feel a void that nobody can close. There’s not a single second that passes by and I’m not missing my buddy’s presence.

Infact I’m on TeamBHP because of him as he always wanted me to join here. He believed in only one person’s driving and that was me.

And I hope whenever I go to heaven, the first face I see there is his, just one last time.

Be strong my friend.
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Last edited by dr.aviansh : 6th November 2020 at 10:46.
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Old 6th November 2020, 10:38   #14
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Default Re: Lost a close friend in a freak accident – How did it happen?

Very sad and unfortunate event. May the family and friends have the strength to bear the loss.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GutsyGibbon View Post
Parking the car in gear, without the handbrake is certainly not something that should be done.
Quote:
Originally Posted by msdivy View Post

Again wrong advice. Hand brake doubles as parking brake.
On this particular point, Hyundai in a mail advised not to engage the handbrake if the car is not being used for a long time. I received below mail at the beginning of lockdown, and have followed it since. A couple of times when I had engaged the handbrake by force of habit and not used the car for about 10 days, the battery got discharged and I had to get it jump started.

Lost a close friend in a freak accident – How did it happen?-img20200404wa0022.jpg
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Old 6th November 2020, 10:50   #15
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Default Re: Lost a close friend in a freak accident – How did it happen?

Sorry for your loss and condolences to the bereaved family. May her soul rest in peace.
Quote:
Originally Posted by n_ramesh99 View Post
In fact, some of us tried switching on our cars in reverse gear without applying clutch. As expected, a small jerk and the car(s) got switched off.
Question is, has anyone tried it without sitting in the car? An empty car is more agile.

Quote:
Originally Posted by n_ramesh99 View Post
Can anyone explain how a car can move few feet back without applying clutch? Is it possible that something may have been faulty in the car?
Quoting myself from another thread (link (Pics: Accidents in India)):
Quote:
Reminds me of my uncle's brand new Maruti 800 on the second week of ownership. He was washing the car, left the key in the slot, with the drivers door open and his two year old son standing outside decides to turn the key. The car was in reverse gear and it got started and moved back. Luckily for my nephew, there was a water tap on GI pipe where the door struck and it turned almost 180 degree. The car raced backwards and hit the garage pillar and stopped. It was a miracle escape for my nephew.

May be it was because of the brand new battery and the car was empty, but it starts.
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