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Johnoco

Near Misses and Close Calls

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Last week I was waiting to turn right at a busy junction on Canal Rd in Bradford (quite a few happen here) when a car came flying through the left hand side (which was on red and had been a while so it wasn't a borderline nip through) at about, and no exaggeration, 70-80 mph. Had I been 10ft in front I would simply have been wiped out as there was no way anyone would survive a side on impact like that. It really really shook me up.

Naturally this inspired a thread on here about any lucky escapes you have had. So..

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I was travelling up the A1 with my sister when the van in front had a blowout, lurched suddenly and pirouetted on one corner before sliding out to the hard shoulder. Missed us by only a few feet - we decided to stop for a break at the next service station until we'd stopped shaking.

 

Travelling from Pembroke on a ferry to ireland that was set fire to in the middle of the night. Sea King helicopters were lowering firemen on ropes and it was all rather dramatic. The British police decided they would deal with it, so the ferry turned back and we had a few days in Wales instead of an Irish holiday.

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There have been a few accidents on a roundabout near us and we've been missed very closely on at least three occasions that only severely defensive driving prevented.

 

A couple of years ago the roundabout joining the A12 leading from Essex to the A14 was redesigned.  Before, it was a narrow horrible thing, if you were going straight over to Ipswich then you stayed in the left lane as marked by the road and sign markings.  Now, they expanded it and deliberately created two lanes off the roundabout into the dual carriageway into Ipswich.  For us, we need to stay in the right lane as we have a right turn very soon afterwards that's difficult to get to if you're in the left lane to start.  The problem is there is a stubborn group of people, including HGVs, who refuse to follow the new road layout and signage and turn RIGHT at this first roundabout from the left hand lane trying to get onto the A14.  I had one two days ago who did this without signalling, I missed him by a few narrow inches when he cut right across the front of me.  My horn blasting away and he was gesticulating as if it were my fault that he was turning right at a roundabout in the left lane.

 

Another one I had was on the A12 heading towards London.  I was in the left lane doing about 70mph.  There are a number of hidden slip roads, house driveways and junctions to the A12 but they're not that dangerous if joining traffic pays attention and drives safely.  At one of these, a car came out of nowhere behind hedges and straight onto the A12 without slowing down about 20m in front of me, thankfully the right hand lane was empty or I'd have had no choce but to either plow right into them, go off road to the left or into a car to the right.  An old lady who just kept on driving as if I hadn't almost hit her at a near 70mph speed difference.  Sweaty palms just thinking about that one again!

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In the 1980's I  had a Rover 2200 and was doing 70mph travelling down the M1 to see a girlfriend in Sheffield when the bonnet flew up. As the Rover bonnets were made from aluminium and not steel, mine didn't smash the screen. Fortunately, it only wrapped itself around the screen and roof. I couldn't see a thing but signalled left and, just using my rear view mirrors, pulled across the inner lane to the hard shoulder.

 

$_35.JPG

 

It all happened in what appeared to be slow motion and I was surprisingly calm .... until I got out of the car. Then my legs immediately turned to jelly.

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Bradford is one of the worst place I have ever driven through, and I have driven in Italy before. In BD rules don't se to matter.

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In the 1980's I  had a Rover 2200 and was doing 70mph travelling down the M1 to see a girlfriend in Sheffield when the bonnet flew up. As the Rover bonnets were made from aluminium and not steel, mine didn't smash the screen. Fortunately, it only wrapped itself around the screen and roof. I couldn't see a thing but signalled left and, just using my rear view mirrors, pulled across the inner lane to the hard shoulder.

 

$_35.JPG

 

It all happened in what appeared to be slow motion and I was surprisingly calm .... until I got out of the car. Then my legs immediately turned to jelly.

It's amazing how your body keeps functioning reasonably well until it realises that it's safe and okay to relax, and promptly goes all wobbly. 

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My wife and I had been out in London for the day, we had got the train home and picked up the car and were driving home down the A30 in Surrey doing around 60mph. After about 5 minutes we got overtaken by two cars with young kids driving them and they shot off. About 5 minutes later as we were about to drive past a petrol station a car pulled out in front of me, it was one of the kids who had done a u-turn in the petrol station slip road and was looking to see where his mate was and not looking at the road. I tried to swerve around him but he kept pulling out and I hit him while doing around 60. My car went spinning off up the road and ended in a ditch with me and the wife inside. My wife was 5 month pregnant at the time.

 

We both managed to climb out of the car with just bruises and a few strains, but after a few minutes when my wife said she couldn't feel the baby moving, my heart almost stopped. By then the police and an ambulance were on the scene. The ambulance crew checked as as best they could then took us to Frimley Park hospital where they carried out an ultrasound and checked the babies heart rate. Fortunately everything was okay.

 

We managed to get a lift home from the police but this was one of the worst nights of my life when I think what could have happened.

 

The police decided that there was not enough evidence to prosecute the idiot who pulled out on me, despite it being a clear night, a straight level road with good visibility for at least half a mile in each direction. My insurance company kindly offered to settle the claim on a 50:50 basis, I told them to ****-off.

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It's amazing how your body keeps functioning reasonably well until it realises that it's safe and okay to relax, and promptly goes all wobbly. 

 

It's called adrenaline. It's very useful, but sometimes ...

 

It was 1974 and I'd passed my test the year before, but not had any driving experience. My uncle John was in hospital after a heart attack, so I kindly (sic) offered to borrow his car and take it for a run to York to pick up some stuff and carry it back to Manchester, incidentally giving the car a "run out" to keep it in good nick. I decided to go via Sheffield to see some old mates and took the Snake Pass. There was (may still be) a longish straight stretch, so I decided to see what the car would do (adrenaline!). I put my foot down and reached about 90 before realising that the road turned sharp right very soon and there was a cliff face on the left. I almost made it! I clipped the rock face with the passenger side, swerved all over the road (lucky nothing was coming!) and pulled over to inspect the damage at the first chance. Not good, but fixable! When I got to York, I found a bodywork shop and they agreed, for a price, to make it as good as new over the weekend. They did. I took the car back and Uncle John went out to look at it. When he came back in, he asked me "What's happened to the dent in the passenger door?"

 

And I think that's called karma.

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In the 1980's I  had a Rover 2200 and was doing 70mph travelling down the M1 to see a girlfriend in Sheffield when the bonnet flew up. As the Rover bonnets were made from aluminium and not steel, mine didn't smash the screen. Fortunately, it only wrapped itself around the screen and roof. I couldn't see a thing but signalled left and, just using my rear view mirrors, pulled across the inner lane to the hard shoulder.

 

$_35.JPG

 

It all happened in what appeared to be slow motion and I was surprisingly calm .... until I got out of the car. Then my legs immediately turned to jelly.

The being remarkably calm is a late stage of panic. I was about to be run over by a woman who seemed to see straight through me when I was cycling.  If it had been a murder attempt, she could not have done a better job.  I went through the options in my head and accepted that I was about to die.  The a truck came out of nowhere, and stopped her.  It seems she had a preference for her own survival and got irrate the truck driver.

 

I thanked the truck driver, but remember that calmness.

 

If you are about to be eaten by a bear, you have the same thing.  It helps with playing dead and if your are attacked, that your blood pressure is low and muscles relaxed helps you in an impact.

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If you are about to be eaten by a bear, you have the same thing.  It helps with playing dead and if your are attacked, that your blood pressure is low and muscles relaxed helps you in an impact.

Unless your name is Troy Hurtubise, of course...

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I got hit by a car when I lived in Barcelona; thankfully it was reversing and only going about 5mph... So no damage done but I was fairly 'annoyed' with the driver...

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I was only recently thinking of starting a thread about near misses, having lost count of them this year alone. Three times in the space of four weeks drivers have failed to give way at a roundabout and forcing me to suddenly break. One guy last week overshot the outside lane of a dual carriageway at traffic lights before stopping. Next thing I knew, he was reversing back but on a slant and heading towards my car stationed in the inside lane, leaving just inches away from hitting me. A women parked her car in front of mine recently but on a slant. On straightening up, she then started to reverse towards my car and again only inches away from a hit. These are just some of what has happened this year. 

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I was only recently thinking of starting a thread about near misses, having lost count of them this year alone. Three times in the space of four weeks drivers have failed to give way at a roundabout and forcing me to suddenly break. One guy last week overshot the outside lane of a dual carriageway at traffic lights before stopping. Next thing I knew, he was reversing back but on a slant and heading towards my car stationed in the inside lane, leaving just inches away from hitting me. A women parked her car in front of mine recently but on a slant. On straightening up, she then started to reverse towards my car and again only inches away from a hit. This is just some of what has happened this year. 

 

You could interpret the last one differently - a few inches of gap when reversing during a parking manoeuvre could be seen as excellent judgement, could it not?

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You could interpret the last one differently - a few inches of gap when reversing during a parking manoeuvre could be seen as excellent judgement, could it not?

 

No at all, seeing as she there was no car in front of her and so no need to reverse that close - and not forgetting I had to use my car horn to warn her. Perhaps I could have explained it more clearly but I was in a rush to go out, according to my missus!  ;)

 

Some years back I just avoided and elderly guy who was driving the wrong way at a roundabout. And a few near misses with wild deer in the Lake District. 

 

That aside, have any posters caused accidents while driving. I have been involved in numerous accidents over the 35 years of driving but at no fault on my part. 

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Having cycled in London for twenty years I've witnessed numerous minor accidents, incidents and near misses. Only once got knocked off when a rather large delivery lorry pulled out of a side road and smacked right into me. I can remember sitting up in the middle of the road thinking 'blimey I've just been hit by that lorry'. Managed to stand up and eventually get to A&E where they found no injuries apart from major bruising down one arm. It was later in bed that night when my whole body started shaking for a few minutes with very delayed shock. Now living in Cumbria and driving myself it still amazes me how much stupid, illogical and downright dangerous driving I see that by some miracle doesn't result in an accident. 

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That aside, have any posters caused accidents while driving. I have been involved in numerous accidents over the 35 years of driving but at no fault on my part. 

Yep.  Me!  I had to go to the naughty step, otherwise known as a 'driver improvement course'.  I did a really splendid job as well.  I was driving through a very busy area of St Helens in 2001 using my Dad's car.  An articulated lorry drove towards me, passing stationary traffic even though I was already passing it myself on the other side.  I was so tight to the pavement in order to avoid being scrunched by this selfish lorry that I was a shaking leaf by the time he'd passed me.  So much so that I didn't take note of the car in front of me which I thought was just pootling along but which I found out, by way of crashing into its boot, that it was in fact stopped and wanting to turn right.  I was going about 15mph at the time but picking up speed after my close encounter with an articulated lorry - so no braking on my part - and she shunted into a car in front of her which in turn shunted into a van (but that was only scratched).  What a mess!  Nobody was hurt (although almost all will have suffered whiplash - I know I did) and I just burst into tears and apologised to everyone, repeatedly.  The van driver wanted to come over and give me a piece of his mind but when he saw me being comforted by a grandma and her little granddaughter (there were about a million witnesses - lunchtime, school nearby, loads of shops) he backed off.  I was at the scene for three hours, mainly spent sitting in a police car, and I had to go for an interview at a police station afterwards.  The police decided that I wasn't guilty of careless driving but of a moment's loss of concentration and so they sent me on a driver improvement course costing £125 (like a fine I suppose).  I was distraught and didn't drive again for over a year.

 

I also found out that some people are unscrupulous.  The car in front of me only contained a driver when I rear ended it.  She added an invisible passenger to her insurance claim which I told my insurance company about but they said they weren't bothered as it happened all the time. 

 

I haven't experienced an accident since, I'm relieved to say, although I have had near misses but not caused by me thankfully!

 

It took years for my confidence to return after that crash and I didn't hurt anyone.  What a person who simply makes an error (as opposed to the irresponsible/reckless/criminal drivers) must feel if their error leads to the serious injury of the other driver/passengers doesn't bear thinking about.

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I have never caused an accident, but I have driven badly on occasion but on those occasions people near me have acted well.

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I have never caused an accident but I have seen a lot in my rear view mirror. ;)

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Back in the 60,s the M1 only went as far north as Catthorpe. About 10 miles north of the Blue Boar service sat Watford Gap.

A mate and I had hitch hiked to London and on the way back ended up at the Blue Boar, this was at the time when you were sure to see some of the top groups in the early hours of a Suday morning.

On this particular night the Searchers, Gerry and the Pacemakers and the Animals were there.

Anyway, we finally got a lift in a mini off a young couple who were friends with another couple in a grey minivan.

We got in the car and set off for Coventry.

We came off the motorway at the end and the driver realised his mate in the van was missing.

"I know" he said, "the silver paper has come loose from when we hot wired the van when we pinched it." The driver turned the car around and proceeded to drive back south wards on the north bound carriageway all the way back to the Blue Boar!

Me and my mate were screaming at him to pull over and let us out but him and his girlfriend were laughing their heads off. Eventually we found his mate and did a u turn and headed north.

They let us out at the Toll Bar roundabout where they dumped the two vehicles and headed off to hitch hike to Birmingham. We walked home from there.

Fortunately the M1 was a lot quieter then but it was certainly dodgy.

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Yep.  Me!  I had to go to the naughty step, otherwise known as a 'driver improvement course'.  I did a really splendid job as well.  I was driving through a very busy area of St Helens in 2001 using my Dad's car.  An articulated lorry drove towards me, passing stationary traffic even though I was already passing it myself on the other side.  I was so tight to the pavement in order to avoid being scrunched by this selfish lorry that I was a shaking leaf by the time he'd passed me.  So much so that I didn't take note of the car in front of me which I thought was just pootling along but which I found out, by way of crashing into its boot, that it was in fact stopped and wanting to turn right.  I was going about 15mph at the time but picking up speed after my close encounter with an articulated lorry - so no braking on my part - and she shunted into a car in front of her which in turn shunted into a van (but that was only scratched).  What a mess!  Nobody was hurt (although almost all will have suffered whiplash - I know I did) and I just burst into tears and apologised to everyone, repeatedly.  The van driver wanted to come over and give me a piece of his mind but when he saw me being comforted by a grandma and her little granddaughter (there were about a million witnesses - lunchtime, school nearby, loads of shops) he backed off.  I was at the scene for three hours, mainly spent sitting in a police car, and I had to go for an interview at a police station afterwards.  The police decided that I wasn't guilty of careless driving but of a moment's loss of concentration and so they sent me on a driver improvement course costing £125 (like a fine I suppose).  I was distraught and didn't drive again for over a year.

 

I also found out that some people are unscrupulous.  The car in front of me only contained a driver when I rear ended it.  She added an invisible passenger to her insurance claim which I told my insurance company about but they said they weren't bothered as it happened all the time. 

 

I haven't experienced an accident since, I'm relieved to say, although I have had near misses but not caused by me thankfully!

 

It took years for my confidence to return after that crash and I didn't hurt anyone.  What a person who simply makes an error (as opposed to the irresponsible/reckless/criminal drivers) must feel if their error leads to the serious injury of the other driver/passengers doesn't bear thinking about.

 

Some cost in 2001. I actually received a fine for 'speeding' in St Helens in 1982 when doing 32mph in a 30 zone but nothing since. 

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I almost married a girl from Batley.

 

It was a close shave.

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I almost married a girl from Batley.

It was a close shave.

What razor did she use?

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Saw something yesterday that left me dumbstruck.  I was taking my young nephew to the Billy Smart's Circus which for this week only is at Haydock Racecourse.  We were travelling along the A580 (East Lancs Road) which is a dual carriageway with a speed limit of 60mph that people regularly break.  There are no hard shoulders but instead there are kerbs running alongside, and it is frequented by tankers, articulated lorries and other heavy vehicles along with cars.  There are also roads that feed quite quickly on/off it.  All in all it is a very dangerous road.

 

I was travelling at around 50mph, as I have a very old car, behind a line of traffic going at around the same speed.  Suddenly a tanker in the overtaking lane came to a very speedy stop and my lane all came to a stop.  Some total idiot had allowed his dog to run on to the dual carriageway.  He had been walking it on the grass verge without a lead.  Mercifully there were no vehicles speeding up to us in our stationary state otherwise there could have been a massive pile up.

 

Thankfully too the dog was unharmed and I could prove that to my very anxious 8 year old nephew as the doofus who was allegedly responsible for the animal was carrying it very much alive in his arms as we scowled at him on our crawl past him.  He had retrieved it himself by walking out on to the dual carriageway.

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