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 Post subject: Wrong-side near miss
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 06:36 
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On the way to work the other morning, B4058 towards Stroud, shortly after turning off the A4135. The road bends round to the right.

I spotted the cab of a tractor with orange flashing light over the top of the hedge on the other side of the bend (coming the other way). I lifted off the loud pedal for a moment and covered the brake. (Didn't check speed as was more interested in potential hazard, estimate 45-50mph at this point, NSL road.)

The bend opened up about 8-10 car lengths from the tractor. A Vectra was coming straight towards me on my side of the road. Fortunately I'd covered the brake pedal and hit it - hard. Had I not done so a head-on would have been pretty much inevitible.

The Vectra missed me by about 3 feet. By the time it reached me I'd come to a complete stop. Nevertheless I got a series of headlamp flashes and abusive gestures from the driver of the Vectra (male, early 20s).

I know that road very well - and from where that Vectra was the bend (and hence the overtake) would have been completely blind.

Had I not had space to stop I'd have probably had no choice but to ditch my car into the verge - which at that point is a few feet wide. I'd certainly have been able to get far enough to the left that the Vectra would have impacted down my offside rather than head-on.

As far as I can tell I did everything right here. Saw the tractor, anticipated a lunatic overtaking on a blind bend (proven right), covered the brake pedal, braked hard and prepared to turn into the verge if I didn't have room to stop.

Comments anyone?

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 Post subject: Re: Wrong-side near miss
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 10:51 
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When you said you covered the brake, was this sufficient to cope with the contingency that there _may_ be a car overtaking the tractor, rather than there _will_ be a car overtaking the tractor? Does that make sense? I'm suggesting that you should've treated the road like a single track lane where you didn't know what was on your side in terms of how slowly you approached the bend. I would've wanted to be doing more like 35-40 from your description, without knowing the road.

I'm not saying it wasn't the Vectra's fault, but that you could possibly have made more allowance for the possibility of him being there.


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 Post subject: Re: Wrong-side near miss
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:05 
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I think I would have scrubbed quite a bit of speed off as soon as I spotted the tractor - as well as the likelihood of someone overtaking it, there is the possibility of it towing a wide trailer, and other variables.

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 Post subject: Re: Wrong-side near miss
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 13:17 
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To be honest my speedo was the absolute last place I was looking! "Oh, I might have a head-on, I wonder how fast I'm going" etc. So the speed I gave was a very rough guess - was probably going a good deal slower than that.

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 Post subject: Re: Wrong-side near miss
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 13:54 
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Squirrel wrote:
To be honest my speedo was the absolute last place I was looking! "Oh, I might have a head-on, I wonder how fast I'm going" etc. So the speed I gave was a very rough guess - was probably going a good deal slower than that.



I wouldn't have been looking at my speedo either! The point I was making was that on seeing the tractor I would have braked, rather than lifting and covering...

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 Post subject: Re: Wrong-side near miss
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 11:00 
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Fair enough. Technically I did brake (engine braking), I was still in 3rd-4th gear (6 speed box) and just lifted to let engine braking slow me down a bit. But I see your point.

Going off on a slight tangent, I've driven many cars of varying ages and I have to say the braking performance on something like an Audi or Mercedes is far better than a Mondeo or Vectra. And you do tend to rely on that performance and will tend to lift and cover (and utilise engine braking) rather than actually brake, saving wear on your pads/discs and knowing that a jab on the middle pedal will effectively embed your face in the windscreen (figuratively speaking of course) and avert a collision. My current car (2006 Audi A4 Quattro) will pull up in a much shorter distance than the first car I had after I passed my test (1995 Ford Fiesta 1.1) which had drum brakes on the back and no ABS!

I remember a discussion a while back (can't remember if it was on this forum or howmotorwayswork) about drivers of "mid-range" cars such as a Vectra or Mondeo getting upset when someone in a performance car (eg Audi, BMW, Merc) overtook them. A consensus was reached that drivers of such mid-range cars were aware that an A4 Quattro for example will out-accelerate, out-brake and out-handle a Mondeo but aren't aware of just how huge the differences are. Therefore an overtake that in the high powered car is perfectly safe because of the reserve power appears to be reckless to the driver of the Mondeo. Hence the headlight flashing and hand gestures from the Mondeo driver when the A4 overtakes him.

(No offence intended to any Mondeo drivers, it's just the first car that springs to mind!)

An interesting theory and it does make sense.

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 Post subject: Re: Wrong-side near miss
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 21:27 
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Moral of story - come up behind a slow moving vehicle on country road - till proved otherwise expect to find suicidal pillock or another slow moving heavy coming other way .
As aged father once said - better to be late in this world, than have an early re union with great great grandfather in next .

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 Post subject: Re: Wrong-side near miss
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 00:59 
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Squirrel wrote:
On the way to work the other morning, B4058 towards Stroud, shortly after turning off the A4135. The road bends round to the right.
I spotted the cab of a tractor with orange flashing light over the top of the hedge on the other side of the bend (coming the other way). I lifted off the loud pedal for a moment and covered the brake. (Didn't check speed as was more interested in potential hazard, estimate 45-50mph at this point, NSL road.)


Was there any chance, that an earlier glance across to your right, through the R hand bend, may have given you, a chance to see any section of oncoming road, (no matter how small), and the possibility of advance warning of the car ?
I am not saying that you did not think of this, nor that you did not try to do this, - just asking if it was at all possible. I appreciate that it is spring, and so the foliage is in good growth too, thus adding to the visual impairment.

Quote:
The bend opened up about 8-10 car lengths from the tractor. A Vectra was coming straight towards me on my side of the road. Fortunately I'd covered the brake pedal and hit it - hard. Had I not done so a head-on would have been pretty much inevitable.
The Vectra missed me by about 3 feet. By the time it reached me I'd come to a complete stop. Nevertheless I got a series of headlamp flashes and abusive gestures from the driver of the Vectra (male, early 20s).


As there was : 8-10 car lengths at the point that you 'entered' the corner; a road that you know; you observed the (tractors) flashing lights, and you had your escape route planned - I would have :
Yes, (I too would have) used the engine braking, but I would have braked too, until I could see that it was absolutely safe.
Also was the tractor finishing a straight that was leading him to the corner. In other words was there any opportunity for someone to do an overtaking manoeuvre, that you could be 'allowing for' a 'what if' possibility.
I assume he hand gestured because he scared himself!

Then I would have scrubbed off more speed earlier, downshifting to 2nd (heel & toe), (allowing for the slow in fast out - which doubles up to allow for 'stop in the distance that I can see to be clear in' all the way round the corner), and then started to use the verge and given extra space for the oncoming vehicle.
I would also, by being in 2nd gear, ready to use the power to take any further avoiding action. That escape route can be a life saver.

It is obviously easy to say what I would have done, when I have the luxury of 'after event' knowledge.

The 3ft is a v small allowance and must have felt extremely close, and I assume that he was still in 'overtaking speed' too so any impact would have been n/s front to n/s front ... a nasty accident (part head on) if it had occurred.

Quote:
I know that road very well - and from where that Vectra was the bend (and hence the overtake) would have been completely blind.


If the tractor was on a previous straight section, he may have made a late decision to overtake, and failed to plan well, and taken a late chance overtake.
Sounds like you did well, and allowed for the possibility of 'an event'.

One other thing that occurs to me is by looking at the oncoming car was there any chance that your steering was beginning to steer back towards your preferred, position ? (We drive where we look). I appreciate that if you were still braking, then the steering will not kick in, until you release the brake pressure (unless you have ABS).

Quote:
Had I not had space to stop I'd have probably had no choice but to ditch my car into the verge - which at that point is a few feet wide. I'd certainly have been able to get far enough to the left that the Vectra would have impacted down my offside rather than head-on.
As far as I can tell I did everything right here. Saw the tractor, anticipated a lunatic overtaking on a blind bend (proven right), covered the brake pedal, braked hard and prepared to turn into the verge if I didn't have room to stop.
Comments anyone?


As I say above I think I would have started to use the verge - this sounds so close, that it would have given you, that much extra margin. You were out of time to 'then' use your escape route, it was something that you, could have used, but chose in that 'instant' not to, presumably judging it as un-necessary given the situation.

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 Post subject: Re: Wrong-side near miss
PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2008 10:44 
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One other off-the-wall thing I'd have considered here - and if I did NOT have a passenger in the front nearside likely WOULD have done - is pull over to the right in front of the tractor and then stopped.

Potential disadvantage #1: Not telegraphed early - might have been misconstrued: If it had been the VERY worst you'd have had is the fastard embedding itself in your (empty) nearside door/wing OR a SLOW push backwards by a startled tracor driver.

Potential disadvantage #2: Tractor may have swerved out, giving you a nice bit of extrra protection, but side-swiping fastard off the road (arguably serves him right, but may have been fatal)

Potential Advantage - a biggy - no chance of a 3-figure head on.

Of course, if I'd had a car with passenger(s) this would be out of the question as it would put them en pris.

I have kinda done this once. Country lane, fairly narrow - ambulance coming toward me on blues - we'd have been able to miss but it would have meant both scraping paint in the hedge and lost the ambulance vital speed. I saw up ahead a farm track on the right and judged that, by gunning it, I could get there about 1-2 seconds before the shed coming towards me. I did so - and got a great thumbs-up from the chap in the passenger seat. They cottoned on pretty quickly ;)


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