I miraculously escaped what could have been a serious-injury accident. What happened was – the car I drove couldn’t stop accelerating.
It all started when I had to deliver dad’s jacket to the bus station and I was in a bit of hurry, afraid that I couldn’t make it in time. I stepped on the pedal and little did I know that the car kept on accelerating since. I wasn’t about to panic, realizing that maybe there was something that made it stuck. I pulled both the rubber layers underneath but that didn’t help. I was calling my dad when I made a second attempt to undo the pedal. I kept pushing and pulling it using my hand but that didn’t work either.
The traffic light was green and the road was fortunately not very congested. I swerved past a motorbike who would’ve thought I was drunk-driving. Somehow, I didn’t head towards Perhentian Kajang instead, because the light was red, and thus I drifted left towards the PKNS Bangi. I couldn’t think a lot at that time and only wished that I would come out of this alive. Dad thought that the break didn’t work and advised me to use the hand-brake. I knew I wouldn’t have time to explain things to dad so I hung up the phone, preparing myself to use both hands on the wheel.
Nearby was an empty parking lot in front of the PKNS building. I was thinking of turning the key on the ignition earlier but I remember that some cars do auto-lock some of the features so I resolved to slowing the TAE down before I pull out anything. I tried freeing the gear but the engine revved to the red zone immediately. I entered the lot and turned hard right as if there was a cop on my tail. I swerved left and right not knowing where to go, almost hitting parked cars nearby. It was dark but somehow I saw where I was going. The spins and drifts almost made me an instant Colin McRae on a small town unfinished parking lot. When I turned the wheel left, the car swung right. I realized that the muscle and horsepower of the 1.9L car had played a role in magnifying the drifts even more, I just hoped I could control it. I spun the wheel hopelessly, not thinking of any concrete strategy yet. The only thing that came to mind at that time was to move away from all these parked vehicles so I turned hard left. That move turned out to be the correct course of action.
Both rear tire tracks closed in while turning hard left. The car was in the green arrow direction.
Upfront was a drain and upon ramming it across, the front left and rear right tires were left dangling and the other ones were grinding against the mud hence TAE finally lost its momentum. I switched off, pulled the key and rolled out of the car. Immediately, I noticed the heat from the engine and burning smell from the brakes. Even more obvious was the burning red color on the discs, fatigue from fighting against the engine torque for the last 10 minutes.
- highlighted blue: original space where I managed to stall the car
- blue arc: the movement of the car as it headed towards the drain
- 3-pieces of wood across the drain: placed to rescue TAE as it backed towards the parking lot
A few people saw that incident and they came near to check it out. I found out later that that was out curiosity and not empathy. Surprising to me, those were grown-ups with family and most likely stable jobs. They asked a couple of questions, didn’t really offer help in any way and just left. Then some younger kids (most likely about Muzani’s age) came like a crew in motorbikes and rusty cars, most likely refurbished. They didn’t see the incident but they saw a 190E stalled on a drain with the headlight on. This youthful team helped me unhook the stuck pedal-to-engine throttle, place woods under the tire, and push the car from the front while I back it out of the drain. Abg Ngah arrived right before we backed the car out of the drain so he’s the only one who witnessed the kind of help that we were getting, in case I need to refer to any details during the whole scene. After that, one of them pulled out a socket-spanner and raised the air-filter up while I tested the pedal. The throttle wasn’t stuck anymore.
The throttle was stuck as highlighted in green cue position. The air-filter was lower (as in blue outline) and there were two cable-ties wrapping around the throttle-cable, making the throttle “higher” than it was. These were two reasons for the throttle to stuck under the oil filter as the engine revved.
The kids, or shall I say, the gentlemen, left after I said thanks. I mentioned how grateful I was to each and I wasn’t really sure how to return the kindness.
Mom and Alya arrived not long after. We decided to leave TAE there for a while so it’d cool down. As soon as Muzani returned from work, we headed back to PKNS lot right away. I was in a bit of a shortness of breath but I decided to go as well, feeling accountable about the whole situation. After checking the throttle, Muzani decided to cut out the cable-ties. We tested the car’s throttle and I drove it home with Muzani’s escort tailing behind. CB was brave enough to accompany me, sitting by the co-driver seat.
A few minutes after reaching home, I just sat there, unable to think much. I saw Alya and CB trying to solve some Math problems but that’s about all I could remember. I went upstairs realizing that I couldn’t really think properly.
And I couldn’t settle down to sleep too. Suddenly pangs of headache came throbbing from the inside of my temples. I felt my breaths became much shorter as if my lung had shrunk by half. After prayer and some tears, I wrote a note addressing everyone, in case I couldn’t wake up tomorrow morning. The headache was unbearable. I slipped it under my pillow and began an attempt to lay me down to sleep…