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Lucky...lucky driver!!

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Registered: 30-08-2007

Lucky...lucky driver!!

Time: 12:05
Date: 11/10/14
Eastbound M4 approx 2 to 5 miles east of Junction 14 (Hungerford)
Traffic was quite light, we were in no particular hurry at around 60 65mph in lane 1, approached a Wincanton milk tanker following very closly behind a coach, their speed being slightly slower than mine (but not much) I pulled out into lane 2 to overtake.
Without warning the Wincanton tanker pulled violently into lane 2 in what seemed to be a last second non-indicating overtaking manoeuvre of the coach, without checking his mirrors, narrowly missing chopping off the front of my car by what was less than fifteen feet, which may sound a lot, but I assure you it is not when an articulated tanker is filling your windscreen.
I'm not sure what I said, but I rarely if ever swear in Mrs P's vicinity. with the greatest of luck there was hundreds of yards between us and the nearest car behind us, so my sudden reflex braking didn't cause a problem.
The tanker had hardly got half in and half out of lane 2 at an angle across lanes 1 and 2, when it turned back towards to lane 1 in a sort of 60 mph curve, across lane 1 into the hard shoulder out of the left hand side of the hard shoulder onto the gravelled grass area, being a slight right hand bend in the M4 the curve was "protected " by a length of crash barrier maybe a couple of hundred yards long.
The tanker mounted the crash barrier approximately in the middle of the cab, there followed the most horrendous crash in which I guessed the driver had no chance of surviving. The cab end leapt into the air, the tanker trailer parted company with the tractor.
A photo is attached to this post. There is a ditch under the tank trailer which can be seen alongside a bit behind the cab.
To everybody's surprise including the driver, he walked away without a scratch...lucky man.
I was one of several people who called the emergency services, I was asked if I could to remain waiting for the Police to arrive to give a witness statement, which I could.
We were somewhat shaken up, not only from an first class view of the crash into the side of the M4, but also from the knowledge that maybe two seconds earlier with our overtake of both vehicles we would have almost certainly have been seriously mashed by the tanker.
Why did it happen, I think I know and said so to the tanker driver, and he admitted I was probably right. But since it is almost certainly a Police investigation I couldn't possibly speculate here.
The tanker driver was very lucky, but so were we. I only thought afterwards I should have asked him for six random numbers between 1 and 49, anybody that lucky must have the Lottery Jackpot in his grasp.
Edit: I had incorrectly written M25 (edited) at one point. This is simply as its a motorway I use several times a day every day. My thanks to shutter for pointing it out.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
8 REPLIES
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Registered: 14-04-2007

Re: Lucky...lucky driver!!

A few years ago we were on the M5 heading for Bristol.
It was a clear dry bright sunny afternoon and we were tootling along at about 60mph on a long, straight stretch of the road.
I came up behind two lorries running side by side and prepared to overtake in the outside lane.
I looked in the rear view mirrors and the road behind was clear.
I flicked on my right indicators and prepared to pull out.
I had another look in the door mirror and a super-car was bearing down on us at an unbelievable speed.
Within a fraction of a second he was past and as I tentatively pulled out he was nowhere to be seen.
If I had seen him in the mirror and judged it safe to overtake the lorries we would have been dead.
I have no idea what sort of car it was or how fast it was travelling but a rough estimate was well in excess of 150mph.
I was very shaken by the incident and was glad to see a services where I bought a coffee.
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Re: Lucky...lucky driver!!

My guess would be that he either fell asleep or blacked out .......
Glad everyone was ok in the end.
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Re: Lucky...lucky driver!!

Sorry DomS I'm not going to be drawn into answering that. But thank you.
@Strat. Yes you can drive around for years with a few minor incidents, which when all said and done were never really even close to dangerous. THen something happens when you realise that you and your nearest were just seconds from a very messy end. Its very sobering.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
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Re: Lucky...lucky driver!!

There was very little traffic on the road that day so the driver probably thought "I'll open her up and see what she can do" Angry
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Re: Lucky...lucky driver!!

While we're on the subject of motorway stories, a few years ago I was driving down to Devon, a nice steady 70ish Wink and I'd pulled out in to the outside lane to overtake a long line of slower moving traffic in lanes one and two. Within half a minute, I had some kid in a sports car come screaming up behind me trying to intimidate me out of the way. As I was already doing a "sensible" speed, I totally ignored him sitting a foot off my bumper and finished my manoeuvre before pulling back into lane 2. The level of aggression shown by the other driver didn't diminish as he cut straight in front of me, jabbed the brakes then roared off.
I had to pull back out to overtake some more slower moving traffic which I did with my usual care and lo and behold, another car screaming up behind me but they backed off and were not aggressive at all, I blipped the throttle to make the overtake a little quicker and pulled in as soon as I could. The other car acknowledged me then  roared off into the distance and we carried on with our journey.
About 5 minutes later, we saw the car I had just let past  with its blue lights on having pulled the aggressive yob in the sports car. Obviously he had seen the whole lot and I suspect had probably been recording his bad driving for some time.
Some great Karma handed out that day Smiley
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Re: Lucky...lucky driver!!

@Petlew,
You were very lucky that day, just shows how your life can change in seconds.
I guess most people who drive on a regular basis see or are involved in accidents.
I often drive up the M6 around 6am and suspect that a number of lorry drivers have been on the road for most of the night as there is usually less traffic about but I frequently see these lorries drift over the cats eyes  markers and into the  hard shoulder.
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Re: Lucky...lucky driver!!

@Petlew, thankfully you and Mrs. P were both safe but it could have been a different story.
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Re: Lucky...lucky driver!!

I remember in 1986 being driven down the A308 and looking at the other carriageway just in time to see a vehicle (I think a Princess) in the air nose down at an angle of around 55-60o. There was no gap between the carriageways to make a u-turn to offer any assistance.
No idea how it got into that situation or  the outcome but we did stop at a small service station a little way down the road and they already had a few reports of the incident.
@Petlew  yes - very lucky, indeed, and I can understand how shaken you must have felt.

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