STOPPING WITH SAFETY ON HILLS.
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Avoiding Accidents which, Although Rare, Should Not Be Possible.
rrIliE other day an accident was reJ_ ported in which a motor lorry and trailer dashed down a steep hill and, after crashing through a wall and running clown an embankment, interrupted the railway service. Fortunately, no one seems to have been injured, although. the results might. have been serious.
The accident is said to have been caused by a small boy, who touched the trigger of the hand-brake lever, in all probability not knowing how serious the results might he. Such occurrences do not often happen, but it is more by good fortune than by the care of the designer.
A very unpleasant experience some years ago brought to our notice the desirability of some more secure method of locking a brake on when standing on a hill. We were on a large coach, fully laden with passengers, when the driver stopped while going up a very steep hill, and left his seat for a while. A little boy who was sitting behind the driver's seat leant forward and, innocently enough, touched the trigger of the hand brake. The lever flew forward immediately and we began to run backwards downhill. There was a sharp bend, a bridge and a small river at the bottom of the hill. Fortunately, one of the passengers was able to clamber for
ward over the seats and apply the brake before the vehicle had got much way on it.
We do not think the fact that any particular class of accident occurs only rarely is sufficient to justify designers
from making no effort whatever to prevent their occurrence. No preventable accident should occur, especially when the means to prevent it offers no difficulty and entails only trifling cost.
There are so many ways in which the trigger of a brake could be made difficult for any unauthorized person to tamper with, that we feel it is almost unnecessary to offer suggestions, and the two which we illustrate can probably be greatly improved upon, after a little thought, by a designer.
We have pointed out editorially in this issue that much can be done by drivers of commercial and other vehicles in rendering them safe while they are left unattended on hills.
It is a very simple matter to use the kerb as a scotch either for the front wheels or those at the rear, according to the way the vehicle faces. Where no kerbs are available, as often happens in country districts, vehicles left in this manner should be run back against blocks of wood, bricks or other objects which will serve the same purpose, although these present the same objection that they can also be removed, hut it is seldom that children endeavour wilfully to make a vehicle run away; it is more usually the result of excessive curiosity and thirst for knowledge.