As if teaching people to drive wasn’t dangerous enough, a driving instructor had a narrow escape from injury when a scaffolding plank flew off the back of a builder’s truck and hit his car windscreen. The windscreen was smashed and the Peugeot 208’s dashboard was scraped by the heavy plank, in an incident that was caught by the driving instructor’s dashcam.
Darren Willett was driving at about 50 miles per hour on his way to pick up a pupil, and the builder’s truck was doing roughly the same speed when it came towards him on a road close to Eastchurch in Kent. The unsecured load in the back of the truck contained a variety of materials, with a heavy scaffolding plank resting on the top. As it approached Mr Willett’s car, to his horror, he saw the plank bounce off the truck, and then it hit his windscreen. You can view the dashcam video here.
Mr Willett, who lives at Minster-on-sea, managed to stop his car safely, skillfully avoiding steering it into the ditch at the side of the road, but the truck continued on its way as if nothing had happened. He was shocked and covered with glass from the shattered windscreen, but otherwise unharmed. If a less experienced driver had been at the wheel, or he had been a pedestrian, a cyclist or a motorcyclist, the outcome might have been much more serious. He went on to state that he has been instructing learner drivers for fifteen years, and in that time has always taught his pupils that they shouldn’t swerve in an emergency, but should keep the vehicle in a straight line and stop as safely as possible. In this case, it looks as though he has practiced what he has always preached.
Eye witnesses to the incident told Mr Willett that the truck belonged to a builder who was working nearby, so Mr Willett went to the site and caught up with him. The builder claimed he had been unaware of the falling plank, but the two drivers exchanged insurance details. Looking at the dashcam footage which was published online, it is difficult to see how that could have been the case, and people have commented that the load was clearly unsecured, and that surely the footage was sufficient evidence to bring about a prosecution. Whether a prosecution would succeed in this case is debatable, but at the very least, the truck driver should be warned about the need to secure his loads in future.
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