The repetitive circumstances by which another driver died in relatively shallow water has received essentially no coverage in the official news media. The City-Pulse 24 News in Toronto published a brief mention of the incident, written by the Canadian Press, where Jeffery Walker, the driver of a pick-up truck died after his vehicle “rolled over and ended up submerged in a creek in Jarvis, Ont.”. The article indicated that police were notified of the incident at 0930 hours by a passerby. The article also indicated that police did not know exactly when the crash happened. No further information was provided.
The actual location of the crash was on Walpole Concession Road 5 just west of Haldimand Road 55, thou that was not mentioned in the CP24 article.
One would have to go to other news agencies to obtain further information. Such information was found in the Brantford Expositor newspaper which actually showed a photograph of the vehicle still lying upside down in the creek.
One does not need to look very closely to recognize that the depth of the water in which the truck came to rest was actually quite shallow, perhaps a couple of feet at most. While it is possible that the driver was killed as a result of the impact, it remains a very real possibility that he could have drowned, perhaps by being unable to exit the vehicle for example. The scenario is not much different than the one we reported in our news item of February 7th of this webpage where the occupants of a partially submerged vehicle were rescued by a passerby.
In both instances we are dealing with roadways that are of relatively low traffic volume, yet their maintenance requirements can be estimated by noting that the roadways are paved and therefore would not carry the lowest traffic volumes. Yet in the incident in Wolfville, Nova Scotia there was no barrier between the road and the water hazard.
Similarly we can look at the site of the collision near Jarvis by going to Google Maps. Unfortunately Google Maps does not a provide a “Street View” of the site and we can only see an overall, aerial view as shown below.
Google Maps view of Walpole Concession 5, the site of the mentioned fatal rollover into the creek.It should be obvious that there is no barrier at this site between the road and the water hazard.
These are matters that the public ought to be made aware of. There are numerous small bodies of water, such as creeks and even ditches, where a vehicle entering the water could result in the death of any occupants that are unable to escape the vehicle interior. Rollovers can be very mild events, even at high speeds because the deceleration of the tumbling vehicle takes place over a relatively long time. It has been publicized on numerous occasions that, in order to gain the best advantage, occupants need to be wearing their seat-belts so that they stay inside the safe cage of the vehicle. In such instances the rate of deceleration is in the range of 0.5 g which is less than what occurs when maximum braking is applied on dry, hard-surfaced road. When have we ever seen fatal injuries from the force experienced by maximum braking? It is unheard of. So, in a general sense, the forces experienced in a rollover should be of minimal consequence provided that the occupant remains inside the vehicle.
But now we have a different twist that no one wants to talk about: What happens when there is a fire or the vehicle becomes filled with water? If the occupants cannot get out of the vehicle then the scenario becomes extremely dangerous. We need to discuss this issue without emotion but with reason and science. Throwing one’s hands up and concluding there is no reasonable solution is illogical. Putting one’s hands over one’s eyes, such as providing no news coverage, is also just as illogical. It is our duty to make this point known.