A driver on the M25 had an extremely lucky escape recently when part of the braking system of the HGV he was following came loose and smashed through his car windscreen. Andy Foster, aged 33 years old, was driving his Nissan Qashqai at around 65 miles per hour, when a brake disc became detached from the lorry, and hit his windscreen. The disc was red hot and spinning as it landed, and actually burned through the windscreen. Luckily, Mr Foster had the presence of mind to duck as the object came towards him, otherwise it would have hit him in the neck.
The force of the impact was so great that glass from the windscreen was actually found in the boot of the car. The driver of the lorry appeared to be unaware of the drama unfolding behind him and simply drove on – the lorry has not been traced. It appears that the brakes on the lorry must have become overheated during the journey, and the brake disc finally gave way and snapped off. In an interview after the event, Mr Foster remarked that if he hadn’t ducked at the right moment, the spinning disc would either have buried itself into his neck, or might even have decapitated him.
Mr Foster had a dashcam in operation at the time of the incident, but the footage was insufficient to identify the HGV, and a review of CCTV footage was also unsuccessful in tracing it. The Qashqai suffered bonnet damage and needed a new windscreen, while Mr Foster was incredibly lucky to escape with a minor injury to his hand, and bruising when his neck collided with his headrest. He later sold the vehicle following the repairs, as he felt it would be unlucky to continue to drive it after his very lucky escape.
The outcome could certainly have been so much worse. Collisions and near-misses can be highly unsettling, and in the past few years, I have had close encounters with unexpected objects while driving. The first was a deer which suddenly appeared from a bank of trees and just missed my car – something must have startled it and it chose my path to cross. The second encounter was with one of the sheep which roam freely through the village where I live. There is a cutting between two grassy banks, and the sheep tend to congregate on the highest points – maybe the grass is better there or they simply enjoy the view. On this occasion, one of the young lambs tried to jump from one side of the cutting to the other while my car was passing underneath. Thankfully we narrowly avoided a collision, but I was certainly shaken for the rest of the day, and I don’t suppose the lamb enjoyed the experience either. No harm was done, I now driver more slowly on that particular bit of road, and I guess the sheep learned a hard lesson that day too!