Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Accident Story

At some point on this past Saturday morning.....a high-performance car salesman drove a McLaren F1 out of a sales lot near Hamburg.  The driver/salesman....had a eight-year old kid in the passenger seat, and this was a demo drive.

No one has really said how the eight-year old kid fits into this story.  Journalists say that the parents had brought the kid along, and it appears like 'dad' was going to buy the car and this was an 'extra' in the deal.....driving the kid around in the car for an hour.

The F1 has a total package of 627 horse-power.

On this morning, the salesman took the car to a country road about twenty miles north of Hamburg, and took a couple of curves.....then crossed the lane and ran into a Opel Corsa.

Fire Department got the call and came out.  The fiberglass body of the F1 had more or less come apart.  Cops won't say much over the speed other than to note there were no skid marks for the F1.  Based on the video I saw last night on Channel One (ARD) news.....I'd take a guess he was doing a minimum of a 100 kph (62 mph) and maybe upwards.  The speed on this country road was 60 Kph (37 miles per hour).

Both the old guy in the Opel and the young salesman in the F1 are dead.  The old guy dies at the scene, and the young guy later at the hospital.  The kid?  Well....he somehow survives but as fire rescue folks comment....he freaked out completely as they arrived and it took a little bit of effort to cut him out of the car.  He was totted off to the hospital with a concussion and some injuries, but will survive.

The odd thing to this story?  This is a three-mile long road....from one village to another.  Less than a year ago....another high performance car had an accident on the road.....a 570-hp Ferrari.  In that case, the Ferrari driver survived, and the old gal in the other vehicle died.

All of this brought out commentary by professional drivers and high-performance enthusiasts that people misunderstand the nature of the high-performance cars, putting risk at a higher level, and harming the public with their antics.

Around ten years ago....south of Kaiserslautern, I ended up on state road 48.  It's an interesting two-lane road that goes through some woods, hills, and tight curves.  It is a magnet for speed enthusiasts....in particular...high-performance motorcycles.  People press their machines to maximum speed and beyond....often crossing the line and coming close to hitting you.  On that afternoon, I counted four people who came fairly close to hitting my vehicle.

Cops know it's a problem and have pushed more speed patrols over the past decade for weekend work.  A good team might hand out twenty tickets easily on one single Saturday afternoon.  These aren't the cheap tickets either.  They pull the driver over.....conduct a vehicle safety check, and toss every single possible violation onto the guy, besides the speeding ticket they got.  I sat and watched a news piece recently where one guy had an illegal muffler on the bike.  They told him to just leave it for a tow truck to pick up later (figure at least a thousand Euro in fines, and another 500 Euro for the truck episode).  

Hostility brewing out of this speeding episode?  It's hard to say.  Germans are addicted to high-performance cars, and they don't take kindly to restrictions.  In this case, two incidents within a one-year period on a 3-km road?  This will bring up some political consequences, I think.

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