The crash at Pooh Corner

By 9 March, 2009 49

The ABC brings word that two Canberra women (48 and 24 years old) have died descending Clyde Mountain.

Apparently the area was shrouded in rain and fog at the time.

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49 Responses to The crash at Pooh Corner
#1
I-filed11:30 am, 09 Mar 09

The Canberra Times have illustrated their online article with a photo of an entirely different stretch of the King’s Highway … past paddocks near Bungendore … the CBR Times photo library after 60 or so years doesn’t include a photo taken on the Clyde?

#2
You11:36 am, 09 Mar 09

Do we know any names yet?

#3
Gungahlin Al11:53 am, 09 Mar 09

Without making any comment on this particular tragic accident, another Canberra long weekend, with multiple Canberra drivers killing themselves or others on Kings Hwy.

And always the reports have the road itself as the culprit.

Apart from the fact that this road has to descend a major escarpment or two, requiring those nasty corner thingies, what is it about this lovely drive that Canberra drivers have such a problem with? The fact that it can’t all be driven on a 100 kph or more like a freeway, therefore requiring one to use that annoying brake gadget?

#4
ant12:04 pm, 09 Mar 09

Spot on, Gung. Al. It’s always the road’s fault. Maybe we need some kind of train system where peoples’ cars are mounted on a machine and transported to the destination. It seems that any road with curves, or oncoming traffic, is a deathtrap scandal menace or something.

#5
farnarkler12:23 pm, 09 Mar 09

I remember driving down the Clyde in the thickest fog I’ve ever seen back in 1991. I know the mountain pretty well but I couldn’t get above 40km/h because it was such a pea soup.

Pity cars can’t be fitted with an equivalent of an airliner black box (I think such things exist in formula one) to give investigators assistance in finding out the cause of accidents like this.

#6
p112:28 pm, 09 Mar 09

Pity cars can’t be fitted with an equivalent of an airliner black box (I think such things exist in formula one) to give investigators assistance in finding out the cause of accidents like this.

With so many people having in car GPS these days, this isn’t as far from practical as you might think. Do the cops look at the log on such things to see what was happening before the crash?

#7
Ari12:45 pm, 09 Mar 09

farnarkler said :

I remember driving down the Clyde in the thickest fog I’ve ever seen back in 1991. I know the mountain pretty well but I couldn’t get above 40km/h because it was such a pea soup.

I came up the mountain last night and that pretty well describes the conditions. It was also very slippery.

#8
SheepGroper1:21 pm, 09 Mar 09

farnarkler said :

Pity cars can’t be fitted with an equivalent of an airliner black box (I think such things exist in formula one) to give investigators assistance in finding out the cause of accidents like this.

Some cars do come fitted with something similar, the owners sometimes use them to check if the cars were thrashed during the test drive after a service.

#9
Pommy bastard1:35 pm, 09 Mar 09

I have to admit my first drive down Clyde Mountain, (and indeed Brown’s mountain) which was in the rain and fog, was something of an eye opener. It’s not that I’m not used to mountain driving, I’ve driven in the French/Swiss/Italian Alps and the Sierra Madre mountains. There is something uneasy about the driving, the light in foggy conditions is deceptive, the corners are never quite as easy as they seem, and the roads are very greasy after a long period of dry.

I’ll be taking my new bike down there soon, I’m praying for good conditions. I’m sure some here will be praying otherwise. ; )

My condolences to the families of those involved.

#10
Granny1:53 pm, 09 Mar 09

PB you might be completely impossible, but you are one of us!

#11
Woody Mann-Caruso1:59 pm, 09 Mar 09

I agree with PB (having driven in mountains in the US and Europe). There’s something evil about the Clyde that requires extra, extra care. Maybe it’s hainted ;)

Take it easy on the new bike!

#12
Pommy bastard1:59 pm, 09 Mar 09

Thanks for that Granny, much appreciated.

#13
kos5:11 pm, 09 Mar 09

I would agree that the Clyde is a little different to most other mountains, but most drivers in Canberra do not drive to the conditions anyway. I have nearly had an off there due to inexperience and not driving slow enough, it is a hard mountain but I wouldn’t be blaming the road or conditions…

#14
Gungahlin Al5:42 pm, 09 Mar 09

I hate it when the general rule of thumb that you can take a corner at twice the signposted advisory speed falls over, because for once the advisory speed is actually spot on…

On these apparently particularly slippery corners, perhaps an easy mitigation would be to reseal them using what is called “open graded asphalt”. This has a waterproof membrane underneath an open porous layer of hotmix (about 10cm thick) so that any water passes through to the membrane and then drains off to the side below the driving surface.

This was done on a section of road I lived on that suffered many ‘offs’ and almost completely stopped the accidents resulting from slides.

#15
VYBerlinaV8_the_one_5:45 pm, 09 Mar 09

I don’t think the Cylde is that bad. The Brown Mtn pass between Nimmitabel and Bemboka 100k’s or so further south I think is worse, as is the Jamberoo pass.

The biggest problem I see on mountain passes is that people have forgotten the long lost skill of using the gears, rather than the brakes, to make the descent. Of course, this means some time spent with your feet off the pedals as your car descends due to gravity, and inevitably, there’s a yogi plate that catches, tailgates, then rides the brakes down once you let them past…

#16
Hells_Bells746:04 pm, 09 Mar 09

Here here VBerlina, was thinking that myself earlier.. Remember my mum telling me to not ride the pedals, but ride the gears down the Clyde and Brown. Yep some other prick with no idea always around too though!

#17
Hells_Bells746:11 pm, 09 Mar 09

Oops VY*

#18
ant6:31 pm, 09 Mar 09

+1 on Berlina’s comments. If driving an automatic, and you stick it in 2nd, some loon will instantly appear very close to your tail. And yep, their brakes get a lovely workout all the way down. But they are in a very important hurry.

#19
Granny6:35 pm, 09 Mar 09

You know, I don’t see why they can’t alter the software to use speed cameras to measure the distance between two cars and factor in the speed limit to catch people who are tailgating.

#20
cranky6:42 pm, 09 Mar 09

If you’re really good at tailgating, the car in front will cover your number plate from the camera.

#21
ant6:44 pm, 09 Mar 09

cranky said :

If you’re really good at tailgating, the car in front will cover your number plate from the camera.

Well that’d be a 3/4 of the Canberra driving population. Conservatively.

#22
old canberran6:46 pm, 09 Mar 09

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

I don’t think the Cylde is that bad. The Brown Mtn pass between Nimmitabel and Bemboka 100k’s or so further south I think is worse, as is the Jamberoo pass.

The closure of the Clyde might explain why there are so many Canberra number plates down here in Merimbula this weekend. There seems to be more than usual.
Berlina, I can’t agree that the Brown Mountain is worse than the Clyde. I travel the Brown sveral times a year and have been doing so since 1974. It’s certainly longer than the Clyde but it does not have the tight U bends or landslide problems of the Clyde. I used to tow a 22 foot caravan up and down it without any problems at all.

#23
Gungahlin Al7:22 pm, 09 Mar 09

old canberran said :

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

I don’t think the Cylde is that bad. The Brown Mtn pass between Nimmitabel and Bemboka 100k’s or so further south I think is worse, as is the Jamberoo pass.

The closure of the Clyde might explain why there are so many Canberra number plates down here in Merimbula this weekend. There seems to be more than usual.
Berlina, I can’t agree that the Brown Mountain is worse than the Clyde. I travel the Brown sveral times a year and have been doing so since 1974. It’s certainly longer than the Clyde but it does not have the tight U bends or landslide problems of the Clyde. I used to tow a 22 foot caravan up and down it without any problems at all.

Ah but with a van in tow you wouldn’t be doing the insane speeds that so many Canberran drivers feel the need to drive at would you?

#24
old canberran8:22 pm, 09 Mar 09

No I wouldn’t, Al but then I was talking about the roads not the drivers. It’s much easier to tow a big van up the Brown as it’s not as steep as the Clyde and it hasn’t go the same tight hairpin bends. It also has fewer Canberra drivers. :)

#25
VYBerlinaV8_the_one_9:48 pm, 09 Mar 09

Fair point Old Canberran, although I base my opinion on driving a powerful modern car without towing, so find the Clyde’s wide lanes on the hairpins make things easier than the narrow lanes on the Brown. Light towing wouldn’t be much of an issue, but if you were hauling a decent sized caravan up, then yeah, the Clyde would be a pain.

I have towed on the Brown before, and just did my standard trick of leaving the V8 in 2nd and rolling down, occasionally brushing the brakes for the tight turns.

#26
ant12:33 am, 10 Mar 09

Guys, it’s Brown Mountain, not “the Brown”. I remember the Clyde from the days when we had to get a punt across the Clyde river at Nelligen, and oh boy it was hairy. And the weather hasn’t changed.

I fail to see why fog or whatever is some kind of excuse. It scares me to think I share the road with people who want ot find excuses. If you lose traction and your car goes deolally, it is YOUR fault. It’s always your fault. You f-cked up. You did.

#27
Gobbo7:05 am, 10 Mar 09

ant said :

Guys, it’s Brown Mountain, not “the Brown”.

I remember the Clyde …

Would that not also be the Clyde Mountain, not ‘the Clyde’?

:-)

#28
ellingly9:33 am, 10 Mar 09

There’s no innuendo if you don’t refer to it as “the Brown”. e.g. “Went on a dirty weekend with my missus, took her up the brown… and we ended up staying in Bega”.

#29
Hells_Bells7410:46 am, 10 Mar 09

Well.. I’ll tell mum to add Mountains to her statement of the past! Thanx ant :P

Just what I thought too Gobbo ;)

#30
youami12:51 pm, 10 Mar 09

ant said :

I fail to see why fog or whatever is some kind of excuse. It scares me to think I share the road with people who want ot find excuses. If you lose traction and your car goes deolally, it is YOUR fault. It’s always your fault. You f-cked up. You did.

Never a more true statement has been said! I agree, it is always someone’s fault. Unless you are the victim of circumstance where it is someone else’s fault and they crash into you, it is one’s inability to handle the road conditions or themselves that causes accidents. Fatigue = your fault for not sleeping, drink driving = your fault for driving under influence, crash into a tree or roll over from a bend = your fault for not driving to the conditions of the road.

Condolences to anyone affected by accidents, fatal or otherwise, but it is not the road or weather. If drivers are concerned about the road or weather they *can* and *should* slow down or even pull off to the side of the road and let the weather pass. It is not a race down the Mountain.

This leaves me to another point where the adage ‘speed kills’ is not correct. Hitting a tree at 100km/hour will probably cause injury or death but if the road is posted at 100 you are not speeding. Again it comes down to driving to the conditions of the road. I bet you could not do 50km/hour down Bunda St even though that is the posted limit.

A novel thought: Let’s take responsibility for our own actions!

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