It's never a great idea to spend a lot of time tailgating a semi-truck carrying a dangerous load. That scene from Final Destination 2 always crosses my mind whenever I find myself behind a trailer balancing some massive piece of machinery or giant stacks of metal. And now I'm adding wind turbine blades to the list, after a rear-end collision on the German autobahn earlier this week caused one to literally spear through the cab of another truck like a kebab, narrowly missing the driver.
According to reports, the truck carrying the blade and an escort vehicle were traveling on Autobahn 33 outside the city of Bielefeld when they were both clipped from behind by the blue truck. The impact dislodged the blade, sending it straight through the front of the second truck, crushing the cab and showering the oncoming lanes of traffic with huge chunks of metal. Fortunately, no other drivers were injured.
Miraculously, the 61-year-old driver of the skewered truck also escaped with only minor injuries—it's fortunate that German vehicles are left-hand drive—but the entire highway had to be shut down for hours. Of course, then authorities had to figure out how to clean up the mess. Video from the aftermath shows they brought in two giant cranes to lift the remains of the blade, and actually managed to restart the damaged truck and drive it out of the way.
While this is undoubtedly a freak accident, the potential is always there. Despite its relatively small size, Germany is the world's third largest producer of wind power behind China and the United States. Wind turbines are a common sight around the country, as are the trucks carrying the parts—if you're cruising the autobahn, just watch out for the tip of the spear.