National 9.9.2016 05:02 pm

Truck driver’s smart reaction to failed brakes saves lives

Eddie Prinsloo, the truck driver, standing beside Deo Mogaoera and Thandi Morare, Mogale City traffic officers who applauded his decision to save lives.

Eddie Prinsloo, the truck driver, standing beside Deo Mogaoera and Thandi Morare, Mogale City traffic officers who applauded his decision to save lives.

‘I had a 34-ton load, and if the truck hadn’t stopped I would probably have killed a lot of people at the bottom of the hill.’

A 50-year-old truck driver saved many lives this morning by not making the same mistake as many other truck drivers, Krugersdorp News reports.

Eddie Prinsloo was hauling a load of recycled materials to the Velox depot on the R28, between Krugersdorp and Vereeniging, in Gauteng, heading from Cedar Lodge towards Silverstar Casino at 7.30am on September 9.

When he reached the top of the hill and started to descend to the bottom, he heard a strange blowing sound right behind him. He changed to a lower gear and stepped on the brakes. “I was shocked to discover that I no longer had any brakes and could therefore not decelerate,” Eddie said.

Instead of panicking, Eddie’s thoughts became clear – he was going to try to stop the truck before it reached an uncontrollable speed.

“I looked in my rearview mirror and started waving to the traffic behind me to stop,” Eddie said. “At first the drivers honked and cursed out of their windows, but then a man in a white bakkie realised what was happening and assisted me by blocking the traffic with his vehicle.”

The truck driver drove into the embankment when he realised that the truck had no brakes and was accelerating downhill.

The truck driver drove into the embankment when he realised that the truck had no brakes and was accelerating downhill.

READ MORE: Licensing ‘horror show’ haunts motor industry

Eddie then drove his truck into the steep embankment on the right-hand side of the road. The truck came to an immediate stop as the tall grass served as natural brakes. “I had a 34-ton load, and if the truck hadn’t stopped I probably would have killed a lot of people at the bottom of the hill,” Eddie said.

“If I had kept on going, the truck could have reached a speed of 120km/h.”

Eddie has been a truck driver for 26 years and said this had only happened to him once before. “From that experience, I learned to have respect for the vehicle’s extreme power and destructive capabilities.”

Mogale City traffic officer Deo Mogoera said Eddie has no idea how many lives he saved by making this choice. “The truck would have caused incredible devastation if it had reached the Cradlestone Mall intersection,” she said.

Two traffic lanes were closed off by traffic police to ensure the safety of passing vehicles. The truck has since been removed.

– Caxton News Service

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