You are riding in a taxi and suddenly the driver panicked, announcing that the brakes are no longer working. Top speed, obstruction in sight;
What would you do?
Real life story, it happened to me today. About 10pm, I was sharing a taxi ride with some guys. I was sitting at the far right in the back sit, next to me was this old man kind of in his 60s and next to him was this young lady kind of in the mid forties. There was this old woman sitting in the front seat beside the driver. The driver was a young man, looks like he is in his early forties.
So it was a full ride on top speed on Ring Road in Ibadan. We just passed the Bolumole bus stop, with the end of the road in sight, we were almost at Challenge - the destination. It was a fine car o. Some fine gulf 3 or 4. No one would have taught that something like that would happen to it.
Then the driver shouted 'yeh ye yeh!'. I was on my phone chatting and I was like 'ki lo shele?'; every one was asking him that; 'uncle, kilode?'. It was more like every one chorused the question, seeking to know the reason for the sudden exclamation and disturbance. All these was within two second, the car was moving faster, the driver was obviously perturbed: he didn't know what to say or do. Finally, he mumbled, 'brake, brake!'. 'Oga, ki lo she brake?', I could hear someone ask to find out what happened with the brake.
At this point, only about five seconds past but the whole place was tensed now, I could hear people breath really fast and they were saying all sorts of things. Every one seemed to be afraid. I was suppose to be afraid... being in a fast moving vehicle with a failed brake on an express road. But for some reasons, I wasn't afraid. I was calm... maybe too calm for that situation.
I took some microseconds to assess the situation and think about the worst that could happen. I thought we would have a head on collision with something - maybe another car, a fence, the traffic cycle ahead or any other thing, the car would be a wreck, and we would come out of the car.
Then I flashed back to the last time I was in a similar situation: It was on a Sunday evening several years ago in my high school days, after church, I was in a car, my dad was driving and it was also a full house. Suddenly, my dad informed us that the brake failed and Every one was going to panic. I panicked because we have seen movies where brake failed and we know when brake fails in movies, people die. Lol. But I think that time, my dad told us to calm down and well, I was really attentive to how he handled the situation. My dad did three things:
1. Put the car in Gear 1
2. Switched off the engine
3. Steer the car till it comes to halt by itself within a few secs.
In just about a few moments, the car stopped by itself: it was magical. We all came out of the car unharmed; we asked my dad how he did it and he explained the same thing. I was really happy that I learnt something. Mind you, I didn't know how to drive at that time. It was like I just saved that knowledge somewhere like i knew I was going to need it.
At this point, it was still like 5 second into the incident and it was a real mess. I started to feel like someone might have an heart attack beside me. So I braced up and asked the driver simply 'brake no work?', he mumbled, 'yes'. My co-passengers said 'yeeh'. Then I told everyone to calm down with a strong voice (they actually listened and everywhere seemed calm now), a part of me was excited about the adventure: I finally have a chance to try out what my dad thought me like 20 years ago. At once, I gave the driver the instructions like I was sure it would work:
'E gbe si gear 1' (Put the car in Gear 1)
'E pa na' (switch off the engine)
'O ma duro fun rae' (it will stop by itself)
The guy obviously didn't know what to do, he just did exactly as I said. Lo and behold, within about five second, the car that was on full speed began to deccelerate and came to a grinding halt. I was grinning, so happy to learn that it worked and that no one was hurt.
After stopping, the car wanted to go backwards. 'Yeparipa'... next thing that came to my mind was to open the door and escape. Lol. But it didn't go backwards actually.
That was how we all came out of the car. We all thank God that every one was fine. The man that sat beside me said 'Olohun lo ni ki eni ti o experience wa ninu moto'
Bottom line is that I'm grateful to God;
1. For the ability he gave me to remain calm in extreme disturbing situations
2. For my dad, the real super hero
3. That no one was hurt.
By the way, I genuinely thought the driver won't charge me for the trip. Omo, the guy close eye, collect his money o. Lol.
Why did I decide to write about this? I just figured this might be helpful info for someone someday like it was for me in this situation where the car lost its brakes. No knowledge is lost, knowledge is power.