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My GTi is dead - crash today !


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Had a nightmare experience on a narrow lane today and I think I have killed my Golf. frown.gifFlush.gif

Was doing 35 -40mph going round a country lane in bright sunshine with overhanging trees so sunlight and shade in patches. I hit a bright sunny patch just before this corner.

I was dazzled and at last moment saw a huge lorry on comming, not the one in the picture (this is taken later) a larger sand lorry (new building site is just down the road). No room to get past at all so I hit the bakes hard but both off side wheels were on gravel, at last moment I dived into a gap on my side hit a tree stump around the off side fog light, the car was then tipped and rolled off the tree stump into the side of the lorry hitting the A pillar and smashing the side window. You can see the paint of the lorry on the roof of my GTI. shocked.gif

See the pictures below, the guy who rescued it said he had been to loads of accedents on this corner (someone was killed here a while back apparently).

2 things really surprised me about the crash:

1. The control I had under heavy braking with two wheels on gravel was poor, I'm pretty sure I could have avoided the crash had I been in my old VRS. Part of the issue is I have only limited time in the golf and never had its ABS on before.

2. No airbags went off, I really needed the curtain airbag and nothing, side window shattered in my face mad.gif

Does it look like a right off ?? Will I ever see my GTi again? frown.gif


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Mate, sorry to hear that, but good that everyone is safe 169144-ok.gif

Although it would have been nice for the airbag to have deployed, the damage shown probably wouldn't have activated the sensors. They're actually quite hard to set off and will only activate in a serious front/side accident.

I don't know about the damage and I don't have any experience in repairing cars, so this is guesswork; as your A pillar appears to have at least some damage and the roof skin is damaged your car may be a write off. It's very hard to say from the picture you've provided, I am sure others can give a better indication, but the location of the damage means it will be relatively hard to repair. I assume there must be significant damage to your front end too and this will obviously hike the bill up.


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Glad your alright mate.

Its difficult to tell from that angle if the car will be a total loss, insurers usually repair upto about 65% of the cars market value, but the roof does look pretty shafted and if its a new bodyshell needed, that could be the end.

The airbags only fire when needed and if you have walked away (relatively) unscathed, the car has done its job.


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sorry to hear of your misfortune. frown.gif

it's difficult to say if a write-off from just that one photo.

on a more positive note, I believe most insurers will replace your car for a new one if under a year old if written off.

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Glad you are ok,thats the most important,cars can always be replaced people cannot.

Usually if the roof is damaged it will require a reshell,a long winded process.Better it is written off,as it never feels the same afterwards.Best of luck.

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What can I say? Oops?

Main thing is you're ok (it's a bit of a cliché I guess, but the truth nonetheless - cars are just lumps of metal).

Unfortunately it looks like it could be one of those really frustrating ones where there doesn't appear to be heavy damage, but as the roofline/A frame is bent it may well be written off. Is it under 12 months old? (in which case would you get a new replacement?).

I had a similar experience on a single track country lane in an Impreza once - only I finished up on my roof. I was uninjured until I undid my seatbelt... tongue.gifsuicide.gif

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Looks certain to be a write-off to me.

On the one hand I'm glad to hear you're okay though, but on the other sorry to hear of your bad luck. I nearly got taken out by a HGV on a country road a few weeks back. On the fact that I spotted the top of vehicle over the hedge at the last moment saved me.

He came around the corner taking up the full road, and doing about 45-50 mph. I had pulled in hard to the stone wall by the side of the road as his rounded the corner. The fecker never even blinked an eye as I gestured to him to slow down and watch what he was doing.


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Incidentally, can I just add I disagree with the comments that the airbags didn't deploy because they didn't need to.

The fact he's safe doesn't necessarily mean the airbags shouldn't have deployed. The photo of the roof makes me highly dubious about them too - I'd say the side airbags should have definately deployed becaue of the damage across the top of the roof/door.

Indeed I think I'd be asking my VW dealer a few question about that. I've seen cars with much less damage than that in the same area - and their airbags have deployed.

If it was my car, I'd certainly be concerned the bags didn't go bang.

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Nope, side airbags will/should deploy in a side impact.

From your photo there is no intrusion into the side of the vehicle - there is no major sideways structural deformation. Indeed it looks as if the drivers seat is still where it started. Thus the bags wouldn't deploys as there is no high G acceleration/decelleration in a sideways direction.

The type of impact where they will deploy is where a car/motorbike/lorry drives into the side of you at speed - typically it will move your whole car sideways and impact/intrude into the passenger compartment.

Under those circumstances the airbags can reduce the severity of intrusion injuruies to chest - this can reduce fatalities by reducing the incidence of aortic rupture and tension pneumothorax.

Prior to side impact bars a side drive-in was often fatal as you were protected only by the door panel - hardly much to stop a car at 30mph. By adding airbags to side impact bars and structural integrity of the whole vehicle, these same accidents are far less often fatal - and may be manageable by a few days on ITU being ventilated for the rib fractures/pneumothorax and, where necessary an aortic repair for aortic dissection.

In the low G side impact and partial roll over you experienced, side airbags won't improve outcome (but make a spectacular noise and dust!)

Lucky you got out OK - nasty shock.

The ABS and ESP should help rather than hinder vehicle stability - however a tree stump will frequently destroy or turn over a vehicle. Indeed one caused a fatality in the recent WRC series.

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So sorry to hear this bad news about your car but, as everyone else has said, the most important thing is that you are okay.

I've just returned from a journey across Somerset with plenty of narrow lanes - At least they become narrow when an artic takes the route! On three occasions today, both me and my passenger felt convinced that the truck driver purposely came over to our side of the road! I wonder what the heck is in the mind of some drivers....You don't expect it from professional drivers even when young.

I think you should prepare yourself for the fact that your GTI might be a write-off judging by the pics.

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Yup, with frame damaged on nearside bottom and offside top, it is likely to be a structural loss - if the impact with the stump had sufficient force to flip the car, then the main beams may well be bent, rather than the pictures just showing cosmetic damage to panels frown.gif

Just to revisit curtain airbags - in faster side impacts when the lorry takes your car sideways from 0-30mph in milliseconds, the curtain airbags deploy so that your head isn't struck by a sheet of glass doing 30mph in the structure of your car when your head has effectively stayed where it is. The impact of door frame or glass can cause significant head injury from a high G side impact - which is reduced by spreading the acceleration of your head by the glass over a longer period and by cushioning the glass - this reduces the peak energy transfer and reduces the severity of the head injury sustained - again may save lives in relevant circumstances which otherwise would be lost. Also if the window breaks then you aren't struck by flying glass doing 30mph in your direction - it hits the bags and energy is reduced 169144-ok.gif

If you are hit sideways in your drivers door by a car/lorry/motorbike doing 70 mph these aids may prove insufficient in any event to prevent fatality - but most accidents occur at slower speeds.

Energy available to be transferred is proportional to the square of the speed - so at 20 mph your energy is 400 proportional units - and at 40mpg 1600 - at 60mph 3600 units. Thus being three times faster, your are over 9 times more likely to die in an identical impact (actually more complex as the body can only take so much and some impacts fatal based on rate of energy transfer).

It looks as though you have managed to brake and reduce speed prior to your impacts - then each impact has sequentially reduced the overall force and the car hasn't taken it all in one hit.

So several events, each of lower energy (brakes, then tree stump, then roll, then lorry) have provided lots of small incidents - thus your airbags have not had one big hit to set them off 169144-ok.gif

Actually a good thing as airbag deployment is associated with serious injury frown.gif Thus statistically your brakes/ESP/Car integrity and serial impact reduced your risk of serious injury.

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Thanks guys for the support, I'm still pretty shaken up, stiff neck few cuts and black eye. Went to hospital but all checked out ok so nothing major.

Insurance company want me to accept liability and make it a fault claim, said I won't win if I say it was the Lorry drivers fault.

My only hope is if there is a weight restriction on the road. One last picture, the lorry here is not the one I hit this is a slightly smaller cement lorry and I hit one of the large sand lorrys you often see on motorway repairs double rear axle very tall cab.

You can see the sunlight issue on the photo and why I didn't see him till too late.

I'm still upset with the emergency braking had little feel or feedback and felt very arcade...also the wheels on the tarmac didn't lock and then ABS me to a stop and they had the grip. I had been worried a few times in the DSG comming to a complete stop always seemed a little harder than in manual but always assumed in a real emergency clutch would work correctly.

Maybe just my dented pride wanting to blame anything but lack of driver skill frown.gif


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To be brutally honest, Hibbsy, although I truly am most sincerely very very sorry about your accident, it really doesn't look to me (now you have posted pic of the scene) that you can blame the car's systems. The GTI ESP system is particularly good (further supported by nhs's excellent explanation above)....I think that you may have been travelling just a wee bit too fast than you should for the road conditions. Narrow lane + poor visibility = Slow right down. Not poor driver skill but just a moment of poor judgement and I'm not suggesting that your judgements aren't otherwise usually very good. We are all human and make mistakes.

How many miles had you driven in the GTI since delivery ?

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Agree with how you must feel and my sypmathies are with you.

Seldom do people do real "emergency stops" let alone do stops around corners in an emergency situation - having done the Car Limits course where we did both emergency stops and braking and cornering I am now very happy with how my GTI performs in both circumstances. And I'm happy I haven't had real cause to use these skills since

These certainly weren't things I'd done for my driving test or since, so I was well pleased to get some confidence in this situation.

There are always issues for drivers regarding familiarity with ABS and clearly you had a new car and wouldn't have had much time to get fully used to them.

When you get your replacement, come down to Car Limits and refresh your skills 169144-ok.gif

Regarding insurance, which company are you with, do you have protected or guaranteed bonus and do you have legal insurance with your policy?

With regard to fault, it's not whether you were in the right or wrong, but whether you've got the evidence if it comes to court. The importance of photos and statements as evidence can be crucial.

What your insurers must think is that you've got - narrow lane, wide slow lorry, performance car goes out of control and impacts with lorry after hitting side of road/tree stump. Clearly your insurers don't think that many judges will be on your side from those bare facts shocked.gif

If you have a legal policy, and are likely to lose your no-claims bonus, you've nothing to lose by seeking to blame the lorry driver..... coffee.gif If you can demonstrate the lorry was there illegally then you might have a chance - but they may say they were lawfully there for access frown.gif Again it's the evidence you need to prove your case - you can be sure the lorry's insurers won't want to cough up just because you ask them mad.gif

Presumably you want to get back on the road asap - but you don't need to accept that you are at fault as your insurers can take the claim forward on the comprehensive policy and then you may need to claim against the lorry with that legal expenses insurance and get your NCB back 169144-ok.gif

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Hibbsy, so sorry to hear about your car but relieved to hear you're OK. I know you've only only recently got your GTi from Motorprovider (a few weeks after mine). Best to look on the positive side though...no one too badly hurt....and hopefully the car will be written off and you'll get another brand new one asap.

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Robin> You may be right with the benefit of hindsight.

I have driven this road hundreds of times and owned a VRS for last 4 years and V5 prior to that so I do have some experience of a performance car and on this road.

I had only 650 miles on the clock frown.gif Must be some kinda record.

I was in third for this bend and not high revs ... roundabout is about 400 yards behind me so I guess my top speed here was 40 mph, and could have easily been 35mph.

This bend is a nasty one (I have had a few near misses here before, and have treated it with respect since) but I have never seen a huge HGV on this road. Thats what really threw me.

Lets be honest guys if we all expected a huge HGV to swing round every bend on a country lane there would be little point in having a GTI. I'm not a mad driver I have full no claims and 16 years of experience.... on this occasion maybe I could have been upto 10 mph over a very safe speed for this road and conditions.

I'm not 100% convinced this would have prevented a crash, but obviously a much less serious one.

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Mate, nothing I can say will make you feel any better, however I think I can say on behalf of everyone here that we feel for you and glad your ok.

Forget about the mileage on the car, it could happen at anytime just a real shame it was not long after getting it frown.gif

Hope you get a replacement or get it fixed asap.

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Thanks for the advice nhs. 169144-ok.gif I'm with Direct Line, full protected no claims and legal cover.

I take your point on the court view of this. Maybe no point getting into a rangle I get to keep my no claims whatever and hopefully they can sort it quickly.

If the damage will be difficult to fix "as new" then I would rather it was written off.

How would this work on a 3 month old import on finance? Anybody know? confused.gif

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