Thursday, January 25, 2007


An armored van went over the railing of the Skyway's Makati exit last night. It smashed through the metal barrier then fell some 50 odd feet down-- where a Toyota Revo sat. They say all the people in the armored car died.

The route to work passes through there, so I saw the scene of the accident on the way to the office this morning.

It's a deceptively dangerous curve. It peels off right from the Skyway, and the approach is uphill. The thing about it is that its radius decreases ever so slightly. You can't see this on the approach, so you'll think you're carrying just the right amount of speed to make it. However, as you start to turn in, the corner tightens and that "right amount of speed" you thought you had is suddenly a tad too fast.

The poor bastards understeered into the railing.

There were no skid marks prior to the apex, and the strip of railing they went through was several feet off of its opposite side; on the outside of the turn. Ignoring the possibility that the vehicle lost its brakes, I think it's safe to say that it was carrying too much speed and as the driver tried to turn in (right), the front tyres refused to hold the asphalt and hence sent the van in the direction inertia suggested: straight on into the barriers.

There are two lanes on the approach, and I very much doubt that the driver was trying to take a racing line through there. So I'd say he was either on the inside (right) lane or straddling both as he came in to the turn. Had he been on the outside (left) lane as the understeer kicked in, the van would have went off on the outside, prior to or on the spot immediately opposite the apex.

Having come from the Skyway, he would have been going reasonably fast. Spending a considerable amount of time at high speed tends to distort one's perception of relatively lower speeds, i.e., after running at, say, 120 km/h for a few minutes, 80 km/h will feel like a crawl. 80 km/h is not exactly slow. This speed-induced illusion may have helped do him in.

So, we have that devious corner, misjudged speed, and finally, the vehicle's condition. Shot tyres, shoddy brakes, bad steering, low outside visibility, a poorly-made chassis. I've seen a lot of these vans around the metro and I'd say it's a safe bet that our van was not in top-notch shape.

1. Shot tyres = low to no grip (perfect for hitting walls)
2. Shoddy brakes = you hit walls faster
3. Bad steering = the wall you are about to hit cannot avoid you quick enough
4. Low outside visibility = you see very little of the wall you are about to hit
5. A poorly-made chassis = the wall you hit promptly breaks the vehicle in half

I do not mean to make fun of what happened. I just find that I am able to describe things better if I apply an adequate amount of bland, probably inappropriate humor.

I feel for those who died. I feel for their families. I write about it now because I believe it could have been prevented. "Check Brakes" and speed limit signs could have been set up. The vehicle could have been better maintained. The corner could have perhaps been made a bit wider, the railing a bit higher. The driver, may he rest in peace, could have driven more carefully.

The tragedy here could still be forthcoming. We may possibly learn nothing from what happened.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


"I've enclosed this in quotation marks so you'll think it to be some wise and clever statement you can then think is applicable to you in some way. It is no concern of yours if it actually is. Subscribing to someone else's comments on life is common practice and is generally thought to be a means of projecting much intelligence. The culture and circumstance of the observer make no difference; the truth behind the wise and clever statement, irrelevant. What you see are the words love, friendship, wisdom, faith, hope, heart, courage, and strength. You cannot resist. These words call you as a flame does a moth. Ultimately to its death."