Kamis, 14 Maret 2013

You CAN believe in Friday the 13th

The most deadly antelope on roads
in South Africa
Some say triskaidekaphobia is a bunch of baloney. Well, what about this then?
On Friday, 13 February, 2006, a kudu went through  the windscreen and into the face of Dirk Crafford (49) from the town of Ellisras.
While he now has a lot of interesting scars, he is lucky to be alive, for a kudu bull gets to be moose-sized.
And as any long-distance driver in the northern provinces of South Africa knows, you are just asking for them to come through the windscreen at speed when you drive at night.
Not contend with still having a pulse, respiration and (mostly) functioning brain after the crash, Mr Crafford however decided  to push his luck a little further with a little light litigation. 
His lawyer, Leila Reyneke, sued the South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited for R3.25 million rands for allowing the grass to grow too high on the verge of the rural road, which he said prevented him from seeing that a grey shape moving at speed was about to jump into his face in the black of the night. 
The court could have ask him if he foresaw kudu danger while drivinng in a part of southern Africa where game hunting is the biggest industry  how come did he not take preventative action, like driving slowly?
Mr Crafford said the kudu klapped him so hard, he kurnt remember wa' hapnt.
So Five appeal judges told Crafford to make like a tree and leaf.
It's not the only travel story out there that explains why people can be phobic about trickai deka (tres dois/der tien/ thirteen).
Before that, there was the best-know ill-fated journey of Appollo 13. An oxygen tank on the way to the  moon, forcing the third mission to the moon to abandon. (Check out the movie. Its good.)
Still not convinced? How about the findings of a 1993 study published in the British Medical Journal which compared a few year's worth of accidents from the same region on a Friday the 6th compared to crashed on a Friday the 13th. Their stats showed that despite fewer people driving on Friday the 13th, the number of hospital admissions due to crashes was significantly higher than on "normal" Fridays. Their conclusion: "Friday 13th is unlucky for some. The risk of hospital admission as a result of a transport accident may be increased by as much as 52 percent. Staying at home is recommended."
Whish I knew that in 2002, when while in the only BMW SCL then in South Africa, which happened to be nr 13, a small foxterrier SUDDENLY appeared out of the grass in the median of the Black Rock highway west of Pretoria. 
Normally this would pose no problem, but we were were doing high-speed testing for the former Wiel magazine and the needle was close to 200km /h.
Luckily, Slowhand Danie Botha was behind the wheel and he neither swerved, nor jerked or skrikketed in the least. He just calmly aimed to miss as much of the foxterrier as was possible while operating in that slooooow  mooo speeeed justbeforeACRASH
"Bloody fok-sterriers", was all he had to say afterwards.

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