Man Gets Ticket After Getting Run Over By Own Truck. Yes, you read that correctly, this man was actually run over, by his own pickup truck. No, he wasn’t a passenger, or even standing behind it while it somehow slipped into reverse. He was driving his pickup truck at the time of the incident.

To add insult to his injuries, he was issued a traffic citation, for operating a motor vehicle with defective equipment. Now, this was certainly absurd enough, and I could have stopped here. But, you would have missed out on the best part.

Here’s where the story gets really interesting. Evidently, this guy was driving down a small hill when the brakes failed. This would certainly be a serious enough problem for anyone. So, what’s this guy do?

Wait for it… He opens his drivers door, and sticks his foot out in an attempt to stop the runaway truck. I am not making this part up, I swear. This guy actually believed that he could successfully stop a 3,000 pound vehicle, with no brakes, speeding down hill, simply by jamming his foot down against the pavement. This guy must have been watching way too many cartoons or something.

Lets take a look at this from a SWAG perspective shall we? For those of you who have read some of my other stories, you will already know that a SWAG is an acronym for: Scientific Wild Ass Guess. This is very different from the highly inaccurate; WAG,  another acronym for: Wild Ass Guess, which literally means a wild guess. Usually a WAG has no basis in fact. I always try to take the more scientific type approach whenever possible.

There are simple laws of physics, as well as material science issues, all working against him, for this to be a practical solution. First of all, his leg cannot possibly exert enough force to stop a vehicle, that is accelerating downhill.  An object in motion tends to stay in motion, unless enough force is applied to counter this effect. This is especially true for a vehicle traveling down hill, and accelerating under the full force of gravity.

Secondly, there are basic material science issues involved. What the hell did he think the soles of his sneakers, boots, flip flops, or whatever were made out of? I can assure you the materials (either natural or man made materials) that the soles of his shoes are made of, are not, and would not be designed to withstand this type of punishment. If they were,  the soles of  your shoes would not wear out in only a few short months.
Think about it.

Furthermore, there is a little thing called friction that comes into play at this point.

The dictionary defines friction as:

1. a resistance encountered when one body moves relative to another body with which it is in contact
2. the act, effect, or an instance of rubbing one object against another

Doe’s anyone remember from school what the most obvious effect of friction is? That’s right, Heat!
Talk about getting a hot foot as the sole of his shoe begins melting off his foot, while he was still wearing it. Actually, if you were in a car following this guy, it might have been pretty funny watching these antics. I wonder if his shoe started smoking while he was trying to jam it into the pavement? Did it smell like burning rubber?

After getting a quick practical lesson in applied physics, and material science,
this half wit decides is only option is to purposely crash his truck, by driving up an embankment. Remember we spoke of gravity earlier? The truck will ultimately start back down the hill, as soon as it loses all forward momentum. Ultimately, he fell out of the truck. Unfortunately, shortly thereafter started rolling back down the hill, and proceeded to roll over his leg while he was still laying on the ground. I assume, his previous action of opening the door to stick his foot out in his misguided attempt to stop the moving truck would partially explain his falling out of the truck. Of course, he obviously was not wearing a seat belt either, or he could not have so ungracefully exited the vehicle.

We will get to some very important safety tips in a minute. These important safety tips may just save your life, or the life of a loved one someday day, so please bear with me.

So, while we are waiting for the important safety tips to come around, I have a “true story” I want to tell you, about someone, I actually knew, that was injured by his own vehicle running over him.

When I was a teenager about 16 or so, I had a friend named Aaron. Aaron was one of the only kids in my circle of friends that had received a car on his 16th birthday.
So, needless to say Aaron was one of the go to guys whenever any of us needed a ride somewhere. I don’t have to tell that he was a pretty popular guy.

Aaron’s car was a Datsun B-210 hatchback. For those of you who don’t know, Datsun was the original name of Nissan. I think they changed their name, sometime in the 1980’s.

Anyway, Aaron had the most absurd automobile accident that I have ever heard of, then or now. This story was told to me, by Aaron himself, from his hospital bed a few weeks after the horrific accident.

Apparently, as Aaron told the story, he was driving along a road, one of those roads that was cut between two hills. You know the kind, something like 60 degree slopes on either side of a two lane road. Aaron was smoking a cigarette, of course this meant that he was totally cool. This was long before cigarettes became such an uncool activity. Smoking cigarettes was also very convenient for those who smoked pot, as they helped mask the very distinctive odor. Anyway, I don’t remember if Aaron was high on pot at the time, but I assume he was.

Evidently, Aaron was smoking a cigarette in the car as he was driving home. Somehow he accidentally dropped his cigarette on the floor, in the space between the drivers seat, and the door. Not wanting to start a fire, or burn a hole in the carpet, Aaron opened the drivers door, to reach down and grab the cigarette. Keep in mind that he was driving at least 55-60 miles per hour at the time.

As Aaron opened the door, he looked down to see exactly where the cigarette had fallen. Somehow as he was feeling around for the cigarette, he evidently leaned over too far, lost his balance, and started to fall out of the car. You’re probably asking yourself, why wasn’t he wearing a seat belt? This was in the mid-seventies and seat belt usage was nowhere near as common as it is today. Anyway, as far as anyone could figure out, as Aaron started to fall out of the car he somehow pulled the steering wheel hard to the left. This action started the car heading directly towards the hill on the left side of the road. Aaron did actually fall out of the car at this point, and he tumbled onto the road.  This is how he was initially injured.

The car, now driver less, left the roadway and proceeded to travel up the embankment, just narrowly missing Arron laying in the middle of the road. The car traveled for a ways up the embankment, still turning generally to the left, turning towards the opposite direction from which the car was originally was heading.

About this time, according to Aaron,  he was thinking to himself that he was actually pretty lucky, as things could have been much worse. Just about that time, it did get worse, much worse in fact.

The car continued up the hill about a half to three quarters of the way up the hill.
The car reached it’s tipping point, and flipped over on it’s side, and started rolling back down the hill. The car was now rolling down the hill, directly towards Aaron, who was still lying injured, and helpless in the middle of the road. You have to remember that only a few seconds had past since Aaron fell out of the car.

This is where the story gets really bizarre. The car rolled down the hill side and proceeded to roll directly over Aaron, still lying in the middle of the road.
Aaron sustained even more injuries due to his own car rolling over him. The car continued rolling across the road, and rolled partially up the hill on the other side of the road.

The car continued to roll up the hill on the opposite side of the road, until it expended all of it’s forward momentum, and then… the unthinkable happened, you will never guess what happened next, Yep, you got it, his own car rolled over him again, and finally came to a rest upside down not far from where he was still lying in the middle of the road.

Aaron, by now, was severely injured, having broken almost every major bone in his body, all because his own car rolled over him, not once, but twice. As luck would have it another car came along shortly thereafter. One person stayed behind, while the other drove to find a pay phone (there were no cell phones back then) and called an ambulance.

Aaron spent something like four or five months in the hospital recovering, before he was cleared to go home. Many more months went by, which included lots of physical therapy, before Aaron pretty much recovered. Aaron was still not driving again, for the rest of the time that I stayed in contact with him. I highly doubt that his parents let him sit behind the wheel of an automobile for a very, very long time.

OK, I promised you some Important Safety Tips that will prevent either one of these type tragic accidents from happening to you. You may want to get a pen and write these down, as these are really important. Don’t worry, I can wait. Go and get your pen and paper now.

Your back already? Good. Here we go…..

No. 1 – Always wear a seat belt, no matter what, believe me your clothes getting a little wrinkled is a very, very small price to pay for safety, verses having your own car roll over you, possibly even more then once.

No.2 – If the breaks go out on your car. Do Not Panic! You still have plenty of options that you can use to stop the car safely. First try pulling, or depressing the emergency brake, thus it’s name. The emergency brake is a separate system designed to engage the rear brakes, by a cable system, bypassing the master brake cylinder. Press or pull the emergency brake slowly until the car comes to a complete stop.

Another thing you can do, and you can even do this at the same time as engaging the emergency brake. Turn off the ignition. The steering wheel will not lock while the car is in gear. This is another safety system built into all modern cars. The torque of the engine will slow down and stop the car fairly quickly.

No.3 – Do not ever attempt to put your foot down outside the car and expect it to stop. Trust me there is no material known today that is used for the soles of shoes that will actually survive long enough to stop your car. Not even your very expensive Italian shoes. We already discussed general physics and material science.

No. 4 – Crashing your car on purpose is the absolute last resort. Believe me, when your air bags go off, this is a serious event, and generally disables your car, as well as causing other issues. Besides, then you open yourself up to getting a citation for driving a vehicle with unsafe safety equipment. Besides, at this point you have enough problems without having to deal with a traffic citation as well. Not to mention the insurance hassles, from causing property damage.

No.5 – In the event of a total brake failure, which by the way, is highly unlikely.
Once you have the car successfully stopped, and safely off the road. Do not attempt to drive it anywhere, no matter how short the distance. Call a tow truck, and get the brakes fixed right away. It will be the best money you ever spent.

No.6 – Whatever you do, do not ever, and I  mean never, open the drivers door to reach for anything, while the car is in motion. It doesn’t matter what it is, pull over to the side of the road, and come to a complete stop. Put the car in park, or if you have a vehicle with a manual transmission, shift the car to neutral, and set the emergency brake.
Believe me when I say that the few seconds longer this would take, is far better then falling out of the car, even if it car doesn’t roll over you.

Once you finish writing all these important safety tips down, remember them, know exactly what to do, and insist your loved ones do the same. These 6 important safety tips may one day save your life, or the life of one of your loved ones.

No, no, seriously, your thanks, and eternal gratitude, are not necessary. Cash donations, or naming your next child after me will suffice.

As always,

I am…

Tom Dye, The Safety Guy

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