That's no blowout...

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by macman408, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. macman408

    macman408 Electron Guidance Counselor

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    This is for those of you who love accident pics. Nothing horrible, but probably unlike anything you've seen before... At least, it was for the guy at the body shop!

    DW was driving on the interstate 2 days before Christmas, when she heard a loud bang, and started losing control of the car. She was able to get across a couple of lanes of traffic and stop on the shoulder. She thought there had been a blowout, and looked out the windows on both sides of the car to see which wheel was flat. I called roadside assistance for her from home. Once the truck showed up to swap to the spare, she got out of the car and discovered that it was a bit more than a blowout:


    There was nothing on the road in front of her, and she has no idea what caused it. My best guess is that there was a truck carrying a long-handled tool of some sort (like a shovel), and it wasn't properly secured. Shovel flies off the truck, lands between the spokes of the wheel, gets flung rapidly around (causing the hole in the rim) and flies around the back of the car, causing the straight line of damage to the badge on the hatch. You can't tell in the photo, but the hole by the badge goes all the way through the aluminum hatch, insulation, and interior plastic. I'm guessing the spade of the shovel (or whatever) hit there and got lodged briefly, as the tool stopped moving - then it snapped back down, causing the straight line of damage down the license plate and the center of the bumper.

    Once I came up with that theory, I grabbed a shovel from the shed, and put the spade at the hole; the handle then makes a perfectly straight line all the way back to the wheel, and the end of the handle lines up exactly at the wheel. Also, the size of the gash in the bumper perfectly fits the handle. There's no damage to the tire treads or the underside of the car, and she says there was nothing on the road in front of her, so it seems unlikely that she ran over anything.

    No injuries. My wife was worried for a while that maybe she had bumped somebody else while trying to regain control of the car (I think the traction control and stability control both kicked in, she said there was lots of beeping and flashing lights as it happened), but nobody else stopped, and there's no other damage.

    Initial estimate was about $4k including a brand new bumper and hatch, but they revised it to $5800 to add repainting of the quarter panel. I'm hoping to convince the insurance company that it was likely she was hit by something flying/falling and thus should be covered under my lower comprehensive deductible, but so far they haven't gotten back to me to discuss that.

    Feel free to leave your theories or tips for talking to the insurance. Or, if you happened to be driving 880 in Fremont during the evening commute on December 23rd and saw a shovel go flying overhead, let me know. :D
     
  2. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sunday driver DIY’r

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    Whoa, just noticed the hole in the rim. That's some impact!
     
  3. SnT08Prius

    SnT08Prius Active Member

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    That hole in the rim would have taken some serious force to punch through like that. So lucky it did not hit the front wheel like that.
     
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  4. Rebound

    Rebound Senior Member

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    Your wife hit a falling object. The object obviously fell off of a truck and it was outside of her ability to prevent the accident. The object was not stationary at the time of the accident and therefore was not an avoidable hazard such as a road sign or pothole.
     
  5. macman408

    macman408 Electron Guidance Counselor

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    So far, the insurance company (Liberty Mutual) says that because the car was in motion, it's considered collision, not comprehensive. However, they conceded that it was not her fault, so the rates should not change.
     
  6. Montgomery

    Montgomery Senior Member

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    Hope they live up to their commercials....................
     
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  7. Montgomery

    Montgomery Senior Member

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    Or would this fall under "Mayhem"?
     
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  8. 2k1Toaster

    2k1Toaster Brand New Prius Batteries

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    Another reason these idiots with trucks full of junk need to be banned. Just because you have the ability to haul a couple tons of junk in an open air space behind an 80mph+ vehicle, doesn't mean you have the knowledge on how to secure things. The rest of the world gets by just fine with vans, and this sort of thing would never happen. Had she been a fraction of a second backwards in time, the shovel could have gone straight through the windscreen and through your wife.

    I've had to dodge my fair share of in-motion-truck-unloading including ladders, wheelbarrows, and whole sheets of plywood. I say if you want to buy a truck, you need a CDL and have permit to haul anything just like the big trailers. That would cut down on the roaming junk-mobiles belching smoke to look cool.
     
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  9. JimN

    JimN Let the games begin!

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    I was behind a pick up truck on the Ben Franklin Bridge and had a front row seat to watch his bed liner catch the wind and sail off the bridge. I presume it landed in the river.
     
  10. macman408

    macman408 Electron Guidance Counselor

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    I don't think possession of a CDL or any type of permit is guaranteed to prevent drivers from improperly loading their vehicles. I've seen plenty of uncovered or improperly secured loads, even on the big trucks.
     
  11. ILuvMyPriusToo

    ILuvMyPriusToo Active Member

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    Wow - that is both scary and amazing. It sounds like your forensic analysis explains things but such a freak thing. So glad your wife is OK, and sorry she had to go through that! That rim hole in particular - it punched through so cleanly the tool had to transmit an extreme amount of force. Do you think there is a piece inside the tire that might have an impact mark? It almost needed to be a metal tipped pike or something. Good luck sorting it out and take some solace in the fact that it clearly could have been worse.
     
  12. Lucifer

    Lucifer Senior Member

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    My wife was pulling up to a toll booth in her X1, six lanes, crowded, 75mph zone and suddenly a tractor trailer wheel was eye high right in front of her, no reaction time, nowhere to go, luckily, the wheel landed flat in front of her as she rolled over it, took six months for the repairs, no damage to her, a real heart pumper.
    I'm thinking it had to be a metal bar that the ops prii tangled with, a wooden handle would splinter.
     
  13. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Makes me want to go right out and get a dash camera! :eek: Glad she's OK.
     
  14. William Redoubt

    William Redoubt Senior Member

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    I see bed liners and even entire pickup canopies on the side of the freeway all the time. Other common sightings are coolers and those white plastic deck chairs. Less common: BBQs. Larger objects that are common are complete American and Korean cars.
     
  15. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Best one I know of happened to a friend years ago on I-75 on his way back to Ohio from FL. I think he said it was in KY that he had to dodge a small boat that came flying out of a pickup truck. He almost had to go to a proctologist to have his seat removed from his backside. Talk about pucker factor!
     
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  16. Fred_H

    Fred_H Misoversimplifier

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    The diagonal line of marks across the hatch look like they were made by a chain.