Tag Archives: accident


Tesla driver was killed while watching Harry Potter

According to reports a witness has said that the Tesla driver who was killed while inside his self-driving car was watching a Harry Potter movie at the time of the incident.

The incident took place on 7 May (2016) when Joshua Brown (a technology entrepreneur) collided with a truck while on autopilot in his Tesla.

The specifics of the incident are still being investigated, however it’s believed that a tractor-trailer rig was turning left in front of the Tesla at an intersection on a divided highway at the time. Tesla manufacturers claim that due to the colour of the tractor’s trailer, (which was white), and the bright sunlight the trailer was invisible to both the driver and the autopilot system.

A witness has reported that the Tesla landed up in his yard after the crash and that a police officer had told him a Harry Potter movie was playing inside Brown’s car.

Discussions about the safety of self-driving cars have been rife since Tesla cars were introduced to the USA, and the death of Joshua Brown is expected to have major implications on the progress of such vehicles.

Of course the big question on everyone’s mind is: how much safer are autonomous vehicles compared to the average driver?


What to do if you’re the first person to come across an accident

A while ago my dad and I were driving along a highway when a massive accident suddenly happened behind us. All we’d seen in our review mirrors were two cars flying across the road, sparks, smoke and pieces of car and glass all over the road.

When it was safe to do so my dad pulled over, turned on the hazard lights, told me to stay in the car and call an ambulance, while he rushed across the road to help.

A car had jumped a red light at high speed and hit a car turning in from the other direction. Both the cars had rolled and hit the pavement on the other side of the road and based on how still and quiet everything was, we weren’t sure if anyone was conscious or even alive.

Luckily, my dad had a fair amount of training when he worked with paramedics as a policeman back in the day. So he knew what to do and how to keep as calm as possible.

He knew not to move anyone in case of an underlying injury that could be worsened by movement, but when we noticed flames coming from one of the cars, he told those who could move to get out and carried the driver, who was unconscious, out of the car.

Once everyone was safe we waited for the ambulance while my dad kept everyone calm and phoned their families.

Assisting those in an accident can be terrifying, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing, but car accidents are a sad reality with our country’s high road death toll, making it likely that you’ll come across one at some point.

Arrive Alive suggests the following advice on how to handle an emergency:

What to do first

Pull your vehicle over

  • Park in a safe position off the road.
  • Turn on your hazard lights and headlights. (Any and all lighting that may help other motorists see that there has been an accident and slow down is necessary. Don’t put your bright lights on as this may temporarily blind oncoming motorists)
  • If the accident is on a blind rise or bend, parking your vehicle back from the accident in a ‘fend-off’ position so vehicles see the accident scene may help prevent further accidents.
  • Put out your warning triangles if you have them

What to do next

Phone ER24 on 084 124 , Netcare 911 or the Other Emergency Numbers below

084 124 is the national number which will connect you with ER24’s Contact Centre.
It is an emergency line where a call taker will request the following information:

  • Your telephone number (to remain in contact with you should you be cut off)
  • Your location (street name and nearest cross road)
  • The details of what has happened, how many people are injured, whether there is e fire, etc.

This will allow the dispatcher to send the correct personnel from the closest area. In addition the call takers are able to give you telephonic advice as to what to do to help the injureed on the accident scene

Assisting the Injured

If you have a First Aid kit, take it out of your vehicle. Put on the rubber gloves that are inside the first aid kit.

Calm and reassure the people that have been involved in the accident. Make them aware you have called the emergency services and that help is on the way. This may be the only thing AND the most important thing you can do to help someone involved in an accident.

The most important principles when helping an accident victim are the following:

  • Safety – Do not attempt heroics which may potentially jeopardise your own safety. Your safety comes first, before that of the injured. You are of no use to anyone if you become injured while attempting to help others.
  • If there is any fire/ flames and you have a fire extinguisher, use it and direct the foam/ water at the base of the flames.
  • Do NOT move the patient or attempt to remove them from the vehicle UNLESS there is an immediate threat to life (e.g. the car is on fire and you are unable to extinguish it). There may be an underlying injury to the neck or spine and unnecessary movement could make this worse.
  • If the person is unconscious, open the mouth and check there is nothing inside causing obstruction.
  • Check if the person is breathing.
  • If the patient is breathing leave them in the position you find them and monitor them regularly.
  • If the patient is NOT breathing and you have been trained to do so, you may begin CPR and rescue breathing as necessary.
  • If a person is bleeding heavily from a wound, take any available material e.g. a t-shirt/ gauze from the first aid kit/ a towel/ a blanket/ etc, and place it over the open bleeding wound. Then press tightly applying direct pressure to the wound. Maintain that pressure until the emergency services arrive. Do not stop pressing to check if there is continued bleeding or to look at the wound. This procedure may save a persons life.

Being a bystander at an accident scene is invariably a stressful event. However if you remain calm, keep your head and follow the above principles, you could be instrumental in assisting, reassuring and even saving the lives of the accident victims. Ultimately we would all like to ‘Arrive Alive’.

Also read: 8 things to remember in an accident 

Source: Arrive Alive and ER24


6 common intersection accident types (and how to avoid them)

In a report compiled by Arrive Alive, the US Department of Transportation estimated that as much as 43% of motor accidents happen at intersections or are ‘intersection-related’.

With this in mind, knowing how to avoid these sorts of situations can minimise your risk of getting into a bad accident.

Arrive Alive describes an intersection as a location where two or more roads meet, cross or converge and traffic moving in different directions all comes together.

“They come in many different designs, configurations, and sizes. In traffic design, intersections can contain as many as six streets converging. For example, a six-way intersection can involve the crossing of two perpendicular streets, with yet another street crossing them diagonally.”

Types of intersection-related crashed

  • Collisions between oncoming vehicles, particularly when one is turning across traffic
  • Rear-end crashes – often occurring because a following driver is distracted and does not realize the lead driver has stopped.
  • Side impact collisions or “T-bones”.  These types of accidents typically involve a driver on one side running a red light, be it intentionally or while trying to make it through an intersection before a yellow light turns red.
  • Side-swipe collisions where one or more vehicles are turning.
  • Collisions into vulnerable road user such as pedestrians and cyclists while turning.
  • Crashes at Level Crossings/ Rail Crossings

How to avoid crashes at intersections

Approaching the Intersection

  • Drive defensively, anticipating problems and situations with heightened caution and attention during congested traffic times such as rush hour.
  • Be patient – Impatience increases emotions and decreases attention.
  • Think about what other drivers might do as you approach intersections, particularly when you are altering your path approaching an intersection.
  • Avoid all driver distractions – all your focus is required when approaching an intersection.
  • Always, always wear your seatbelt and insist that everyone in your vehicle wears theirs.
  • A passenger not buckled in will become a projectile threatening the safety of other passengers in a collision.
  • Do not speed at intersections – a driver driving too fast when approaching a crossing, may not be able to completely stop when necessary.

Considerations at Intersections with Traffic Lights

  • Know the rules of the road at intersections and specifically at traffic lights.
  • Emergency vehicles always have the first right-of-way. Remain stopped and still until the emergency vehicle has completely cleared the area of the intersection.
  • Before you move, check to be sure other emergency vehicles are not following the first one.
  • A green light means proceed with responsible caution; yellow signals mean stop before the white line unless you are too close to do so safely. A red light means stop.
  • Yellow lights do not provide a signal to motorists to go faster through the intersection.
  • Good judgment must be used to avoid violating the subsequent red light, at the same time avoiding stopping in the middle of the intersection.
  • Blinking amber lights alert the driver to be cautious in approaching and proceeding through an intersection, and to give way to all pedestrians and vehicles crossing the driver’s path
  • Blinking red lights require that motorists stop at the intersection [and yield to all pedestrians crossing their path] before proceeding through [in the same way as for a 4-way stop].
  • Look at you left and right and pay attention to other drivers who are trying to beat the signal change.
  • Be extra cautious in rain and icy cold weather where roads may be slippery.
  • Always assume when approaching an intersection that cross traffic or pedestrians may not obey traffic control devices or yield right-of-way.
  • If you are the first vehicle at the light, stop before the painted stop line, before crosswalks or, if neither is present, at the intersection itself without entering the intersection.
  • Come to a full stop and leave enough space between you and the vehicle stopped ahead of you so that you can steer around it if it were to become disabled.
  • When the light turns green, scan the intersection before you move forward – Take your time to ensure that the intersection is all yours.
  • With delayed green, some drivers believe they are entitled to those few extra seconds and speed up rather than slow down
  • Beware of those accelerating over the red light and the driver eagerly anticipating the green light.
  • Do not follow other vehicles very closely (tailgate). They might stop suddenly.
  • Always watch out for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
  • Pedestrians always have the right-of-way. If a pedestrian is crossing illegally (jaywalking), you must still yield the right-of-way.
  • Use your turn signals appropriately. Without the proper signals, another driver may not be aware that you are turning and may pull out in front of you or hit you.
  • Give a turning signal before you turn or change lanes and be sure that you are in the correct lane before you signal your intention to turn.
  • Maintain your vehicle. Malfunctioning warning lights (turn signals, brakes, headlights) make it difficult for other motorists to predict your actions on the roadway.
  • Obey all traffic signals and never assume it is safe to turn!
  • Avoid entering an intersection when traffic is backed up on the other side, you may be unable to leave the intersection before the light change and might be stuck in the middle.

Unregulated intersections

  • Unmarked intersections that have no controlling lights or signage should be treated as full stops in all directions before proceeding.
  • Where traffic lights are out of order the rules for a 4-way stop apply.
  • At an intersection regulated only by a stop sign at one of the cross streets, the unregulated flow of traffic has the right-of-way.
  • The vehicle reaching the intersection and stopping first always has the right-of-way.
  • Vehicles turning left should always yield to vehicles approaching from the right and proceeding straight.

There is a need for special caution when large trucks and farming equipment approach intersections.

  • Beware of tractors pulling trailers. Collisions involving trailers often cause extensive damages to vehicles and other properties.
  • Truck drivers crossing an uncontrolled intersection, must allow enough time to clear the entire intersection with the rear of vehicle without interfering with cross traffic. They may not be visible to oncoming traffic, and oncoming drivers may be inattentive or impaired.
  • Be especially aware of uncontrolled intersections at dawn, dusk and during night time hours where you may not see a long trailer following a truck.
  • Be alert to trucks and trailers where the sides might not be clean or the reflective devices and other measures to ensure increased visibility are not operational.
  • Truck drivers need to ensure side lamps and reflective devices are operational after a flatbed trailer has been unloaded as they can be more difficult to see when empty.

Source: Arrive Alive

women drivers

“Women are the worst drivers!” Stop the stigma

At some point you might have heard the stereotype that all women are bad drivers. Or perhaps like me you’ve heard a relative or friend utter the words “well no wonder that car doesn’t know where it’s going, it’s a woman driving!”

Also read: Dismantling the myth that women are ‘bad drivers’

Is this because traditionally women weren’t the drivers, their partners were. Or is it just because there are more women drivers on the road today?

Either way, there are certain driving habits that women have which separate them from the men.

Women are catching up

In the book, “Why we drive the way we do” it’s suggested that male drivers are likely to be more risky when it comes to their driving styles and therefore end up in far worse accidents. However, while women are more prone to being apprehensive or cautious behind the wheel, being overly apprehensive or hesitant when driving can also lead to accidents.

Driving habits that give women a bad name


As great as we women are at doing multiple things at once, doing them while driving isn’t the smartest idea. When you think you’ve got it all under control (while applying your makeup and talking on your phone) you really don’t notice how much you’re either swerving out of your lane, taking a wrong turn or confusing the driver behind you.

Driving with heels on 

So many of us still do this despite numerous warnings in social media about the dangers of driving with heels on. In fact many experts have called for a ban on it completely. Why? Driving in heels restricts the movement between the bottom of your foot and the pedals. An article in the Daily Mail reported that nearly 40% of women drive in heels.


This goes along the lines of hesitation and apprehensiveness when driving. Decisiveness and knowing where and when to move is key to driving and avoiding accidents. Dilly-dallying because you’re uncertain can really frustrate other drivers. Look ahead and be aware of what’s happening with traffic in front of you so that you it’s easier to determine and plan your next move.


As observant as we are, we’re also easily distracted by things around us. Scenery (like the good-looking runner), “50% off” sale signs, accident scenes and anything unusual are just some of the things that we’ll turn our heads for. Keep your eyes on the car or road in front of you.


33 car pileup - smog in china

China’s smog problem results in massive traffic pileup!

The smog in China isn’t just a danger to people’s health for the obvious reasons. A massive pileup occurred yesterday as a result of the poor visibility.

The crash involving at least 33 vehicles, travelling on the Taichang Expressway in Tianjin left six dead, four hospitalised and more injured. China’s smog problem is a huge traffic safety issue, due to the poor visibility it causes. The problem is even worse around the major roadways, as this is where the highest levels of smog are found.

China smog pileup

Beijing issued a red-alert warning, ordering half of China’s capital to stay of the roads. The accident took place shortly after this, perhaps the warning should come in sooner!

pileup crash - air pollution

The major contributing factor to the smog problem in China, is the multitude of coal-burning power-plants. However, China have recently agreed to cut back on its reliance to coal and aims to generate 20% of its energy from clean and renewable sources, by 2030.

China smog causes

The pileup accident took place about 145 km from the red-alert area issued by Beijing. The severity of the smog is expected to persist for the next few days at least and it seems that the whole of Northern China face these conditions.

Source: Jalopnik

Woman having a car accident

When a car rats you out for trying to attempt a hit and run…

Cathy Bernstein, a 57-year woman from Florida, really didn’t think this one through. She tried to leave the scene of an accident she caused clearly forgetting that her car had Ford Sync, a system that offers 911 Assist.

We have Ford Sync in South Africa but are yet to get the 911 Assist system. BMW has something similar with BMW’s ConnectedDrive and Intelligent Emergency Call where, if an airbag is deployed, the car automatically contacts the BMW call centre.

But back to Cathy. Police in Florida say that she hit a truck and then rear-ended a minivan before leaving the scene. Her Ford Focus, which was equipped with the 911 Assist system which uses a paired Bluetooth phone to contact 911 in the event of an accident, did exactly what it was designed to do.

Once the car had called 911 a dispatcher called Cathy to confirm:

Dispatcher: … your car called in saying you’ve been involved in an accident. It doesn’t do that for no reason. Did you leave the scene of an accident?

Bernstein: No, I would never do that.

But actually, she did just that! Too bad for her that her car was the one to give her away. She has since been arrested.

Source: Jalopnik