I’d assume that one of the worst moments that a semi truck driver can ever experience is when the truck loses its brakes. This is not particularly uncommon, especially in a scenario with lots of steep hills. These brakes can heat up significantly if overused, causing them to stop functioning completely. That’s exactly what happened to the driver in the video above, but the two occupants inside had their lives saved by this massive net at the end of the runaway ramp.
This accident happened on the expressway in Yunnan, China. There is a nearly 17-mile stretch of road, which is commonly referred to as the “slope of death,” and it’s easy to see why when you look at the surroundings in the video. After the driver lost his brakes, he veered onto the runaway ramp, which is a brief stretch of upslope covered in gravel to slow trucks down. It did succeed in slowing the truck down, but it wasn’t enough on its own. The truck slammed into the wall at the end, causing the tractor trailer to hang off the end of the road while the trailer stuck into the gravel.
Seeing as there is a giant cliff at the end of the runaway ramp, you’d think they would have made it a little longer than they did. They did add one other safety feature, however: A giant net to catch anything that goes over the edge. In this scenario, it caught the two occupants as they fell out of the hanging semi truck. Without this net, it’s highly likely that these two would have continued to fall and lose their lives, but this innovative idea is what really saved them on this day.
I give credit to the person who thought of that net, but with a name like the “slope of death,” you’d think they would do a little bit more to protect those truck drivers. A longer stretch of gravel would greatly aid in avoiding this situation in the first place, but I suppose they’re making steps in the right direction with this net. So far, it has saved at least five truck drivers, and it certainly beats rolling down the cliff below. Luckily, this truck driver and his passenger walked away to tell the story.