SWEETS CORNER - A recent collision here has confirmed some motorists’ worst fears about loaded log trucks.
A recent incident involving a car and a loaded log truck in Sweets Corner has confirmed some motorists’ worst fears about loaded log trucks.
Peter Francis, a local hockey coach, was driving from Sweets Corner to the arena in Windsor along Highway 14 around 3 p.m. on March 14 when he noticed a log truck with a B-Train trailer that seemed to be taking a turn a little too fast.
“I could see that the tail end of his load was starting to let go,” the Sweets Corner resident recalled in a phone interview.
Soon after, Francis watched as the truck started to lose its load of lumber.
“It was coming across the road and I could tell that it was going to hit me — there was no way that it wasn’t going to hit me,” he said.
Francis says he knew there was no chance of dodging the loose logs barreling toward him. He hit the gas, cut his steering wheel to the hard right to miss as many logs as possible and flipped his car into a deep ditch.
“The front end catapulted over to the back end and I somersaulted more than I rolled,” he recalled.
The badly damaged sedan Francis was driving came to a stop in a wooded area close to the parking lot for Meadow Pond, and the Highway 101 on ramp for Exit 5.
Francis, who instructed a friend he was talking to on his hands-free device to call 911, says it was immediately clear his back and ankle were injured when the car came to a stop.
He remained conscious while members of the Windsor Fire Department used Jaws of Life extrication tools to free him from the vehicle, and now describes his injuries as minor.
“I’m a realist to think that I’m very lucky that I’m here,” said Francis, who has a young son.
Francis believes the accident would have ended on a tragic note if it were someone else driving a different vehicle, or a family of four that encountered the logs. He intends to write provincial politicians to request that action is taken to prevent such accidents from happening in the future.
“I don’t think that driving down the road with four or three steel beams on each side of thousands of pounds of logs is sufficient to hold logs in,” he said.
Francis says log trucks are critical to the work of local businesses relying on the forestry industry, and he knows many drivers do their best to comply with safety regulations, but he feels there are steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of log-truck related accidents in the future.
“It’s a very scary situation,” he said.
In addition to requiring more stringent tie downs, Francis says another idea would be requiring that log trucks travel along major highways, with wider shoulders and more room for motorists to manoeuvre around falling logs, whenever possible.
“I just don’t think that those types of trucks are meant to travel long distances on rural roads at the speeds they travel — and especially a B-Train log truck.”