Recap of EOSS-70/71

The Accident

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UPDATE: Monday, August 4, 2003
Word from the CU team is that the driver of this car has two broken vertebrae and many bruises but will be released from the hospital in the next day or so to return home and convalesce. No worries about paralysis and a full recovery is imminent. Looks like GREAT news for him and a relief for all of us that this example came at a relatively low price. We won't be mentioning any names here as the individual isn't associated with EOSS but if the driver stumbles across this site and has any comments or requests forward them along to the webmaster (address below).

UPDATE: Tuesday, August 5, 2003
Word has come that our accident victim is now staying at a Colorado Springs Hotel with his wife. He will be returning to his home is southern California soon. Although he will remain home for a short while recuperating he is expected to return to work soon as well. GREAT NEWS. Updates may be announced at the August 12th EOSS meeting at Ft. Logan.

Here is an example we hope all future Tracking and Recovery team folks avoid if at all possible.

photo by K�JLZ


photo by K�JLZ


photo by KC�JHQ


photo by KC�JHQ


photo by WA�GEH


photo by WA�GEH


photo by WA�GEH


photo by WA�GEH


I have no details on the cause of this accident. About the only thing I do know is that the individual was not a member of the EOSS Tracking and Recovery team. Apparently he was associated with one of the Colorado Space Grant Consortium teams. The last information I heard on the radio was that his injuries were not life threatening, he had a back injury and was being transported to a hospital in Colorado Springs. All of us at EOSS wish the best to this person and hope they make a speedy and complete recovery!

Often we are presented with the unexpected and have no choice but to get into some trouble of our own in order to avoid someone else who is endangering themselves with bad driving habits. Perhaps that's what happened here.

As a country dweller who drives on these dirt roads each day let me remind everyone to be cognizant of the dangers involved.

On Dry Dirt

Most of these roads are slightly bumpy. You might not even notice the bumps because the suspension of your vehicle damps them out so effectively. However, because of the bumps it is possible to be driving with your wheels floating along a good percentage of the time. Try to turn suddenly and you will find you have practically NO traction and just start to slide along in the direction you were previously traveling without much control.

Should you slowly drift to the edge of the road and get a tire over that edge, turning back to the center of the road may have little immediate effect. You have to apply a small amount of correction to your direction of travel and wait for the tires to finally take hold and redirect you to the safety of the road.

If for some reason you do go off the road work diligently on missing obstructions in your immediate path using minimal course correction while slowing down but do not attempt to alter your course radically to return to the road. You may lose all control and either slide straight into an obstruction or conversely the car's tires may get a momentary bite of traction and slew you sideways were you become a prime candidate for the scenario as shown in the pictures above.

In the Mud

There is another condition to be aware of out here in the dust. When it rains the roads become MUCH more slippery than if they were covered in snow. Where I live there is a very slight incline I must climb to leave my home. When it has rained sufficiently a two wheel drive car absolutely can NOT climb that tiny hill. When I moved out here I bought a 4 wheel drive vehicle thinking I'd need it in the snowy conditions of winter. However, I've actually required the additional traction much more during the summer thunderstorm months when the roads turn into slippery mud slides.

When you are zooming about the eastern plains, be even more careful when you encounter mud. All the above statements still hold true but with mud you essentially have practically no traction even when you are moving at slow speeds with your tires firmly and continuously in contact with the ground.

Don't believe me?

If it's your first time on the dirt, try some tests at slower speeds. Jam on your breaks at 15 mph (2 or 3 mph in the mud) and you'll see that you slide along quite nicely. Trying sudden turns will point out the futility of their success and land you in a drifting skid. Test at slow speeds in a WIDE, FLAT and LEVEL area.

EOSS Tracking and Recovery Team urges everyone to drive responsibly and be careful while traversing the eastern plains county highways and byways!!