Thursday, 27 July 2017

A firsthand account of a car accident


One of Malaysia Automotive Institute’s major roles is to enhance awareness about vehicle safety and consumer awareness on safe driving behaviour. In this column, I’ve written extensively on such important.
Last week’s article addressed the issue of safety awareness at length. Little did I expect that a few days after its publication, I would experience my words first hand.
My account started last Saturday morning, part of my weekly routine where I strive to bring balance between being a father and husband and my responsibities in public service, which have often spilled into the weekend.
I was driving to my usual Saturday morning discussions sessions, which are typically held in Kota Kemuning – a sleepy township with lush greenery that I have grown accustomed to.
My youngest daughter was strapped to the backseat. She tries to follow me whenever she can, but I am quite certain it is not because she enjoys delving to the issues plaguing the automotive industry.
If it’s true that danger lurks in every corner, then in this instance it came literally - in the form of a motorist that was too much of a hurry to notice the stop sign.
Perhaps it was an obscure stop sign, or an act of blind imitation. As I was approaching the four way junction I noticed a car speeding across it. By the time I was at the junction, the blurred shape of another vehicle, this time a sport utility vehicle (SUV), caught the corner of my eye. Impact was imminent, and my reflexes took over and braced for impact.
The next few moments were hazy, I found myself still in the seat of the Proton Perdana, which was now pointed in the opposite direction, from where I came.
The SUV was straddled on a curb next to me, the driver obviously still in shock.
The side airbag had deployed next to me, and as I walked out I saw the damage to the Perdana. The car took a direct impact on the right side of the car, where the C-pillar meets the rear door panel lip and the rear tyre.
I thank the Almighty, as all of us – my daughter, the other driver and myself escaped with minor bruises.
Throughout my entire career, I’ve known the importance of vehicle safety – the design and construction of vehicles must be efficient at preventing accidents, and most importantly, minimize injury when they occur.
Here’s the thing – as I walked out to inspect my car, my first reaction was that the damage to the vehicle didn’t look as bad as the shock I felt during impact. For a moment, I thought I was over-exaggerating the hit, but it then occurred to me that I was driving a car with a modern structure and side airbags.
The car’s design protected me and my daughter from injury, which most likely would have been worse if we were driving an older model with inferior safety features.
I’ll leave it at that. For once in the span of this column, I don’t need to elaborate on the importance of vehicle safety. This incident speaks for itself.
I would, however, like to close by thanking all those who assisted me and my daughter. Special thanks goes out to the police, who responded efficiently, clearly and professionally to my post-incident call.
A malay proverb, roughly translates to “we can only plan, but God decides”.
In this case, I would say that both plan and decision was in favour of me and my family, and for that I am grateful.
The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.

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