A Near Miss
From "Tow Times" and Warn Industries

Please study this photograph carefully; notice the eight inch nylon strap, ľ inch thick, out the rear of the Jeep.  See that it comes through the rear window, then through the driverís seat, then out the front windshield.  Notice that the holes in the seat and the windshield are relatively clean.

This is a reconstructed photo.  However, it shows precisely what happened and was reconstructed to demonstrate what can happen (and has happened before) when straps are used to pull a vehicle from mud, sand or snow.  The picture depicts an actual occurrence.  Happily, the driver recovered.  Now the story of this NEAR MISS. 

The Jeep owner was being a good guy and volunteered to help extricate a friendís truck from where it was stuck in the mud some sixty feet away.  Someone produced two of those thirty-foot straps and put them together with a five-pound clevis hook.  One end was hooked to the frame rail of the truck, the other to the Jeep.  The on-lookers recommended this procedure rather than to use the winch plainly seen on the front of the four-wheel drive, off-road vehicle.  The Jeep driver slowly moved ahead and got the strap lines into a taut state.  Then in low gear he started to pull. 

The hook to the frame rail did not come loose; it pulled a nice neat piece from the rail.  The hook and the dislodged section fell to the ground.  The heavy clevis hooked became the leading edge of the missile.  With the double straps trailing, it broke through the rear window, took a neat 4Ē square section from the seat, and crashed through the windshield.  The end hooked to the Jeep stayed attached, but the clevis dragged the rest of the straps on its potentially fatal journey. 

When the missile sprang forward, the release of drag caused the drivers upper body to shift forward moving his head to the right of that four-inch hole in the seat.  The clevis hook struck him in the left shoulder, grazed his neck and went on its lethal way.  The driver never knew, until later, what hit him.  Rendered unconscious, he slumped forward, his foot depressing the accelerator.  The Jeep roared ahead and stopped some 500 feet later when the dragging strap became tangled in the brush.  This wild ride crossed two roads, two ditches and tore down a fence.

The onlookers rushed to the drivers aid expecting the worst.  Still unconscious, he was air lifted to the hospital and x-rayed twice; there was no injury except a very sore shoulder.  He personally related this tale to your editor some months after the event, and he still has some soreness where the clevis hook caressed him on its meteoric path through the Jeep. 

This did not occur in the snow belt where off road, four-by-fours typically cruise about extricating vehicles imbedded in snow banks.  This type of unprofessional conduct, using straps, has caused similar mishaps, one two years ago being a fatality.  The Jeep owner in our story took a series of photos to reconstruct what happened and sent the photos to several magazines in the off-road vehicle trade.  Tow Times got the exclusive in the towing industry.  All of us hope that this will never happen again.  Thatís why we are telling you this story of this NEAR MISS. 

This was printed in Tow Times some time back.