- Chevrolet Spark saves pensioners’ lives
- Eastern Cape crash reinforces Spark’s IIHS Top Safety Pick Award
07 MARCH 2014 – The Chevrolet Spark, which was recently awarded the Top Safety Pick accolade by US crash test giant IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), has proven its crash worthiness in a horror accident on the Bobbejaans River Bridge in Nature’s Valley involving 69 year old pensioner Denise Westgate and her husband.
The Chevrolet Spark is the only supermini ever to achieve the Top Safety Pick accolade, and subscribes to comments made by IIHS Senior Vice President for Vehicle Research Joe Nolan, who stated that small, lightweight vehicles have an inherent safety disadvantage which makes choosing one with the best occupant protection even more important.
Westgate described the harrowing experience as traumatic, but was thrilled with her 2012 Chevrolet Spark’s safety performance when it mattered most, claiming it undoubtedly saved her and her husband’s lives.
“We were on our way back to Mossel Bay from Storms River, when troops of baboons on either side of the Bobbejaans River Bridge caused me to slow down. Noticing a monkey on the other side of the road, my attention was drawn to the side mirror. I then noticed a car approaching rapidly, and clearly out of control,” commented Westgate.
“The vehicle swerved and hit the driver’s side of my car, shunting us towards the left-side barrier. We hit the barrier with tremendous force, both front airbags deployed and I really thought we were going over the edge, which would have resulted in a 170-metre drop. It was very difficult to see or concentrate, and after the rear of my car hit the barrier as well, I managed to wrench the steering wheel and turn the vehicle to the right, out of fear and panic. We then swerved toward the other side of the bridge, and thanks to the initial airbag smoke having cleared slightly, I was able to make sense of where we were and slam on the brakes.”
Westgate commented that her Spark’s brakes remained effective and she was able to bring the vehicle to a complete halt, one metre before hitting the opposite barrier. Both occupants were forced to exit the vehicle from the passenger’s side, however Westgate remarked repeatedly that the fact that the driver’s door aperture was largely undamaged and that the driver’s door didn’t cave in, were the largest contributing factors to her walking away from the accident. Westgate was happy to report that besides a few bruises, no injuries were incurred.
Chevrolet Brand Manager at General Motors South Africa, Tim Hendon, comments: “Nobody ever likes to hear about horrific accidents like the one Denise and her husband experienced, and we are all very glad that they were both able to walk away unscathed. However, such events go to show that crash worthiness and safety ratings really do carry weight in the real world and that the high rating given to the Chevrolet Spark clearly has merit. Its standard-fitment safety equipment includes ABS with EBD, two front airbags, ISOFIX child seat mountings and inertia-reel pre-tensioned seatbelts.”
Westgate concluded that she would indeed be purchasing another Spark as a replacement vehicle, adding that she would be forever grateful for its safety credentials.