Oct 5, 2009

Be Safe on the Road

Yesterday evening a 3 yr old kid got into his parents van, and somehow knocked the gear shift into neutral. The parking lot had a strong slope, and the car rolled backwards gathering speed and somehow maneuvered and smashed right into the side of my parked car.

Somehow, perhaps it was a miracle, nobody was injured. The "driver" managed to not run over any of the dozens of kids playing in the lot. The "driver" himself was not injured or hurt despite the force of the crash - the crash was so hard that it blew out the whole back window from the drivers car, it shoved my car over and lifted it up partly onto the sidewalk, and it caused my car to smash into the car parked next to it. The damage to my car was minimal - just some denting, but nothing serious.

Today I just spoke to my friend and found out he was in an accident yesterday. he was driving with his family, local city driving, and someone ran a red light and smashed into his car. The car was totaled but everybody was ok (after being checked in the hospital), thank God.
He told me that if not for the seatbelts, they would have had some very serious injuries. His wife would have been seriously injured, but her seatbelt saved her.

So, please everyone. There are lots of cars on the road. Even if you are a cautious and safe driver, other people might not be. Somebody might be tired but driving. Someone might be in a rush and not careful.

Drive safely, but especially be careful to make sure everyone is wearing seatbelts.

And after all the stories I have heard over the past day of people who's kids knocked the gear shift into neutral and caused some sort of accident, I would recommend the car manufactures install some sort of safety catch on the gear shift so it would not be so easy to knock it into neutral.


  1. Or, if you have kids, lock your car.

  2. Hasn't anyone heard of a hand-brake?

  3. Agree with Anon and Yoni. Even if you don't have kids, other's kids could get in.

  4. I'm unaware of any car under 20 years old that:

    If an automatic, doesn't lock on park when _turned off_. If the keys are left in and turned part way, then you can shift.

    If a manual, allows shifting without pushing down on the clutch, which a young child isn't going to be able to do.

    The solution is to turn off the car, and put on the hand brake! EITHER one will solve the problem, both are absolutely required.

    BTW, I had this happen also when my son was 2. My wife and I were putting a succah table onto the roof at a store, he slipped out of his car seat and put the car (which was on) in drive.

    Lesson learned. Turn off the car, pull the brake. Those extra 4 seconds can save a lot of discomfort.

  5. thanks for the info, Akiva. Maybe the car had been left running, as the other kids told me they had seen them driving it a few minutes earlier and had gone into the house. Maybe they left it running while they went in to get something

  6. Leaving an unattended 3-year-old in a car at any time -- engine on or off -- is criminally negligent.

  7. I did the same thing when I was 3 (or 4) in the Catskill mountains at a rest stop. I took the car out of Park and it went careening down the hill towards a cliff edge where it hit another parked car and came to rest. Thank God that car was there at that time, or I likely wouldn't be here today.


  8. And automatic cars - at least Japanese-made - cannot be shifted without pushing on the brake.

    Here's an experiment - try it, and watch the response:

    Many people seem to leave their cars running for convenience, often endangering children. But tell them this: if a car is stolen with the keys in, Israeli insurance will not cover it. Suddenly the keys come out...

  9. Lefty - I always wondered how the insurance company would know if the keys had been left in the car or not...

  10. Not sure about America, but out in Africa they have these things called "hand breaks" ...

    oh yes, and driving courses, you see you have to get a licence before you can drive a vehicle so that you can operate it (and park it!) safely.


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