When a heavy vehicle goes out of control on a public road, it’s generally caused by overloading or brake failure. A government bus in Andhra Pradesh crashed into a Bajaj showroom, crushing parked motorcycles and people in the process. Reason? Both the steering and the brakes of the bus are said to have failed, leaving the driver with absolutely no control over the vehicle. Notably, the bus did have passengers in it at the time of the accident, which happened at a place called Chitlapudi in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh.
As the CCTV footage indicates, the out-of-control bus narrowly misses a two wheeler rider and first mows down a parked motorcycle. The bus then hits a bunch of other Bajaj motorcycles parked just outside the showroom. Three people got wedged between the parked motorcycles and the bus, and were seriously injured in the accident. However, the parked motorcycles somewhat cushioned the impact and the allowed the three people to survive, in what could have otherwise easily crushed them to death. Here’s a longer video of the same crash.
As the video reveals, the crash didn’t happen at a very high speed. Low speed brake failures can be overcome by cutting off ignition. However, it appears that the bus driver did not have enough time to realize that the brakes had failed, which is perhaps why he couldn’t cut ignition (turn off the engine) in time. In geared vehicles, turning off the ignition when the vehicle is moving in gear locks up the transmission (gearbox). This causes the wheels to lock and the vehicle to come to a halt.
However, you must remember that cutting ignition at high speed (60 Kph or above) can result in the vehicle going into an uncontrollable skid when the wheels get locked. In case of brake failure at higher speeds, downshift rapidly, and let go of the accelerator. This should reduce speed drastically. Do not try to steer the car onto a kerb or the divider as it could flip the vehicle. Brakes are critical, and need to be checked and maintained properly. It’s a good practice to periodically check brake lines for leakage.