19 November 2018
Branch punctures windscreen, injuring driver travelling Tauranga Expressway
Images of the close call that unfolded on the Tauranga Expressway on Thursday were posted to a popular motoring Facebook page with a warning for drivers to be aware.
A colleague of the man who posted about the near-miss suffered seven stitches from the impact.
He was travelling along a road just off the Tauranga Expressway towards Te Puke behind an unladen logging truck around 11am when the incident happened.
A branch came shooting out from the undercarriage of the truck ahead and punctured the car's windscreen, the man posted.
"It hit the him in the chest and pulled the steering wheel to the left," he told Stuff on Friday.
The car ended up in a ditch on the side of the highway where images show the man bleeding with the log in front of him.
The man, described as middle-aged, suffered internal damage and needed seven stitches, the post said.
"The car he was driving was quite high, if he had been in a normal car 10cm lower the log would have been 10cm higher."
Police attended the crash.
"It was just a freak accident and nothing more than that."
The poster warned other drivers to be aware. He estimated the car was travelling 80 metres behind the truck.
"Be careful out there!"
Interesting comment made at the end: "....it was a freak accident and nothing more than that..", but was it? The term 'freak accident' implies that it the event could not have been foreseen at all. So lets look at this. The facts are that a logging truck had a sizeable piece of wood dislodged from underneath that hits a vehicle travelling behind it. For this to have happened the logging truck must have picked up the piece of wood at a logging site. Given the amount of loose wood around any logging site how likely is it that a logging truck would pick up this type of debris? The speed and vibrations of the road loosened the piece of wood causing it to fall off the truck and into the vehicle behind it. We have all had something bounce off our car windscreen that came from a vehicle infront, that is how windscreens commonly get broken. A very simple analysis but one I think shows that maybe it wasnt such a freak accident. Rare? Yes, which given good reason to think in all probability it might not happen, but unforeseeable - no. How preventable do you think this this incident was?
Number of safety concerns reported to WorkSafe form Nov 2016 to Nov 2017 – 5,389