Thursday, May 2, 2013

Hand Brake

I was just reading QPS "What the? Friday" which reminded me of three incidents involving the hand brake on vehicles, all quite funny after the fact but not at the time.

1) Many years ago while out camping with Ronnie, the kids, cousin Gary and his family at Charlie Moreland camp site in the Kenilworth area in South East Queensland, we were approached by the Ranger. He had come to tell us that we owed $'s for a shortfall in our paid up fees.

The Ranger had parked his 4 wheel drive on the hill facing away from the river, had left the vehicle in gear but had not engaged the hand brake. We were standing at our camp site so 20-30 meters away from his vehicle while discussing the fees. I was facing the direction from which he had come while he had his back to his vehicle when suddenly I noticed that the vehicle had begun to roll back down the hill. 

I yelled out as Gary and I gave chase after his vehicle. Fortunately I was able to grab on to the door handle on the drivers side with my right hand, launch myself from the ground as the door opened and then used the door as a fulcrum to swing myself through the opening, using my left hand I grabbed the steering as I stamped on the brake and stopped the vehicle. Needless to say the Ranger was very grateful that disaster had been averted and decided to waive the shortfall.

2) Again a long time ago, Ronnie and I were living in Carara on the Gold Coast of Queensland and had rented a couple of video's whilst a work colleague and friend Brett (we were both Regional Managers for a national regional security firm) was visiting while we upgraded a number of Branch computers to ensure that they were millennium compliant. As with all PC's of that era there was a lot of hurry up and wait so the videos were a nice distraction.

Anyway it was a Sunday, our computer work complete, Brett had left to return home and Ronnie and I decided to return the video's. As was quite customary (since I do all the driving) I sat in the car in the car park while Ronnie ducked into the shop to return the video's.

While I was waiting a fellow pulled up in one of those little convertible Jeeps at the apex of the driveway which led off the main service road at Carrara, hoped out and dashed into the video store. No sooner had he disappeared inside than I noticed his jeep beginning to roll back. There was no way that I could get to that vehicle before it would disappear behind the retaining wall so I ran to the corner and leapt off the retaining wall hoping that my judgement was accurate. Fortunately I landed astride the drivers seat and managed to grab the roll bar and windshield to prevent myself from exiting on the other side just as quickly. I was then able to jump on the brake, thus preventing the jeep from plunging over the embankment to the freeway as we (the jeep and I) had already crossed the main service road without incident fortunately.

The owner had come out to find me seated in his Jeep across the road (I was shaking quite a bit after the adrenaline rush and was in no hurry to go anywhere) He came charging down the hill while yelling back at the store for someone to call the police as his Jeep had been stolen.  I don't think he believed me as I never did get any thanks for saving his precious Jeep - the Jerk. Quite a few people had witnessed the whole incident and confirmed my story BTW.

3) This happened in the late 80's whilst I was on Patrol for MSS security. I had just finished servicing what was then 'The Brisbane Fish Board'. I drove up the driveway in my little Patrol Car (best not mention make and model here) I grabbed my run chain (Patrol Client Key Chain) with the padlock still attached (one of those locks that the key cannot be extracted from unless it is in the locked position) - I never locked myself in if I could help it, just in case I needed to make a hasty exit, I'll relate some of those anecdotes another time.

I pulled on the handbrake, put the vehicle in neutral, stepped out leaving the drivers door ajar as I went back to lock the gates. Whilst my back was to the vehicle and as I was about to remove the key from the padlock after snapping it in place, I felt a bump at the back of my knees and was immediately pressed hard against the gates. The handbrake had given way, the car had rolled back and had me pinned against the gates - I quickly realised that unless I acted fast I would lose circulation in the legs and be up the proverbial sh*t creek without a paddle. Fortunately (God Blesses me always) the key was still in the padlock (can't tell you how many times I had cursed that style of padlock till that moment). I managed to release the padlock with difficulty and hung onto the gate as the car pushed through on it's way to the river.

As soon as I was clear of the car I released the gate and gave chase albeit on wobbly legs. I didn't think I was going to make it and had visions of me and the car in the Brisbane River. The car had to cross a level car park and the wharf after descending the hill and I was able to catch it and stop just over a meter from the river - phew!

I hope you get a chuckle out of these, I know I do - now.

Till Next Time - God Bless.

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