I was travelling back from North Molton to the A361, a couple of miles of winding road with a bad accident record, I drive it regularly and drive carefully. On the North side of the road there is a steep drop down to the river below.
I was on a gentle right hand curve doing 45-50, a 4x4 came at me the other way on his side of the road but out on the white line, I lightly braked to pass him which we did with no fuss but what seemed liked a second later the Spider swerved suddenly to the right almost as if it was violently understeering, I took my foot off everything and tried to correct but it made no difference, by this time I was on the other side of the road (not very wide) and on the verge, there were a few scubby bushes and a small ash tree with no roots which did little to slow me down, I can hardly remember what happened next although I recall the car being nose down vertical, and a loud sickening bang. But I walked away, hence the post! But looking back from the car I could see that the drop off from the verge was a vertical 15' of gabions. I'd clipped the edge of them as I went over, so the me and my Spider flew about 20-30 feet out and down and landed nose down in soft soil (thank God) on a steep bank. We then carried on and did the same again coming to a halt after slipping sidewards toward the river.
Looking at the road there was no evidence that I had clipped the inside bank (and so bounced off) and the only mark was a feint scuffing on the white line from what looked like an outside wheel.
My mob battery was flat so couldnt take pics but the recovery vehicle is going to email the ones he took for me, I'll post them later.
So apart from the sad fact that I am no longer the owner of a roadworthy and extremely reliable Alfa Spider, I suspect I'll always have unanswered questions. Why did it suddenly understeer? the road was dry. Or did I have a puncture or blow out? both front tyres too damaged to tell. Or was there a brake or steering malfunction?
The car runs on 4 P6000s all with about 4mm left, the tyres are checked regularly. Last service £500 quid with belts
I've never had the Spider over steer its only ever understeered in a controlable manner and then only in the damp.
The pretensioners worked, Ive got a stiff shoulder to prove it but the airbag failed to go off. No idea why, and no the light was not on!
I do sometimes drive it briskly and I'd put my hand up and learn the lesson, but this time I wasnt. And the real irony? I took and passed an advanced driving test at work on Tuesday.
I'm very grateful that Spider took the hit and crumpled effectively, very greatful it didnt roll over and end up, upside down in the river. It could have been so much worse.
But I am shaken up and without my Spider and onlty have the inevitable agument with the insures to look forward to.
I'll still be around for a bit tho! Just need to think if I'll buy another.