Anything that can go wrong will one day go wrong.

Her house was located near the top of the hill. It was a routine she has repeated hundreds of time before now. This time around, they just got back home from the day’s “schools closed” runs. She parked the car directly opposite the entrance gate. Her four kids were all at the back of the car.

With the transmission shifted to neutral she turned the engine off. The parking brake was lifted up to the parking position. With the engine switched off and the car ignition key in her hands she stepped out of the car. All that was left was for her to cross over and open the gate before returning to drive the car with her denizens into her house. She has gone through this routine over and over in the past. It was a no brainier.

Every family knows that kids will play whenever they want to play. This time around, one of the kids decided give reins to her innocent curious imagination. She jacked down the handbrake! Her curious experiment went awry. Lo and behold, the car began to coast down the slope! All the kids started screaming helplessly as the driverless car began to pick up speed. There was no driver behind the wheels!

All the four kids were at the back seats!Hardly has she opened the main gate when she noticed the mishap. A clear and imminent disaster was in sight. She tried to run after and physically stop the driverless car while it was about to commence the accelerating plunge down the hill. Needless to say that her efforts were as futile as one will expect when you pitch a woman against a machine.

Off the road

The good news: The car coasted for over 50 feet before ramming on the concrete wall of the fence behind the drainage. None of the kids suffered any serious noticeable injury. Nevertheless, the mother wisely took the kids for medical check up after the ordeal. All the kids were okay. The road is a fairly busy road and some schools has just closed for the day. Miraculously, there was no collision with oncoming vehicles or other road users.

Maximum damage

The ugly news: The mum sustained a deep cut under the foot – bloody, while trying to run after and stop the car. The car suffered serious damages. The driver side alloy wheel cracked like a clay pot. The tyre was condemned and the front wheel shaft was out of joint. Not mentioned was the bruising damage to the car body.

How could this have been averted? By simply following the simple rules of correctly positioning the front tyres in the parking position. This entails the front tyres being deliberately misaligned at the base or crest of the hill. With this, should in case the car begin to freely roll down the hill, it will quickly jam the the kerb that will then act as a stopper. Either at the base or crest of the hill, with good practice, the car will not have rolled or travel more than two or three human paces before coming to a halt. This way, serious damage or accidents will always be avoided.After this incident, I personally drove and park my car near the same spot. The parking brake did not stop the car from its intent of rolling down. The only thing that stopped the free roll was the transmission stick shifted to P – Parking.

LESSONS:
If there is a one in a thousand chances that something will fail, the safe rule to follow is to assume that it can fail the very next moment you use it. So, be prepared as, “It is not my portion”, may not hold true the very next time. Things may especially turn out awry for the one who always deliberately violate safety rules.

All mechanical contraptions are susceptible to failures and they will not always notify you when any failure is about to happen.

Don’t cut corners. Always abide by all known, new and extant safety rules.

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