Motorist survives 200-foot plunge into the Grand Canyon

Earlier this week a 21-year old man drove his car off the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, surviving a 200-foot fall with only minor injuries. He then freed himself from his vehicle and climbed back up the canyon wall looking for help. He was discovered alongside the road by another traveler, who immediately called the Park Service.

Park Rangers are still investigating exactly what happened, and until that investigation is complete, they aren’t releasing the name of the young man, who was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries. The man claims that he drove off the rim purely on accident, and it doesn’t appear that alcohol played a role in the incident either.

As of now, his car remains stuck in a tree, 200 feet below the South Rim, while the Park Service determines how best to retrieve it from its resting spot. The vehicle came to a stop when it hit a pine tree, ten feet shy of another major precipice.

To say that his man is lucky to be alive is an understatement. The South Rim is, at points, more than 5000 feet above the canyon floor, so to only have fallen 200 feet, and to walk away without any real injuries, is a bit of a miracle. The Grand Canyon is truly one of the most spectacular natural wonders that you could ever hope to see. Perhaps he was a bit distracted by all that splendor.

This is also another reason why you should leave your car behind when visiting national parks!

[Photo credit: The National Park Service]

Video of the Day: Is this a real car accident?

We love road trips here at Gadling. Avoiding the stress of air travel, stopping at random landmarks and bonding with friends make road tripping a fantastic vacation option. Driving, however, can be dangerous. You have to look out for potholes, aggressive drivers and random pieces of wood that come shooting at your windshield. We have no idea if this video is real (why was someone just randomly filming the ride and not talking?) but is sure gave us a scare. Car accident videos – real or fake – remind us to drive safely, buckle up and always keep our eyes on the road.

[Via Autoblog]

Five states where you’re most likely to hit a deer this fall

Leaf-peepers are about to hit the road in force – as they always do this time of year. While soaking in the burning foliage colors with your eyes, it’s only too easy to forget you’re behind the wheel, a situation that can lead to disastrous consequences. There are some states where beautiful foliage and deer prancing on the streets just seem to go together, according to a study by insurance company State Farm. So, if your autumn plans include scoping out the trees, make sure you look out for deer, too.

Here are the five states where you’re most likely to wind up with Bambi on the hood of your car if you aren’t careful (with the likelihood of doing so):

1. West Virginia: 1 in 42 (I didn’t see this one coming!)

2. Iowa: 1 in 67

3. Michigan: 1 in 70

4. South Dakota: 1 in 76

5. Montana: 1 in 82What’s particularly surprising is that none of the states usually considered to be leaf-peeping destinations made the top five, let alone showed high risk of deer collisions. Massachusetts and New Hampshire are low-risk, with New York, Vermont and Maine only showing medium risk. You’re more likely to wash venison off your hood in Arkansas than you are in New Jersey, a state where deer corpses are not uncommon on the side of the road.

Interestingly, the number of miles driven by U.S. motorists, according to State Farm, has grown only 2 percent in the past five years … while the number of deer/car smacks has surged 20 percent. From July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2010, there were approximately 2.3 million collisions between deer and vehicles. The average cost for an incident was $3,013.

[Chart via Terms + Conditions: Insurance Industry Blog]

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7 of the craziest, most dangerous, most dizzying hikes in the world (VIDEOS)
The 10 countries with the world’s worst drivers

The worst potholes in the world – take the Gadling tour

Join us on a tour of the worst potholes in the world – and find out which American city makes many third world countries look like a bunch of amateurs with their potholes.

Harare, Zimbabwe

According to its residents, nowhere in the world is the pothole situation worse than in Harare. Unlike potholes that just make your ride a bit bumpy, their potholes actually attempt to swallow your car.

Chicago, IL

Chicago is on par with many third world countries when it comes to road repairs.

Not only does the city have 100’s of miles of poorly maintained roads, they also lack the money/manpower/will/interest to repair them.

The city keeps telling residents that they have crews working around the clock, but try telling that to the 1000’s of people who need to buy new wheels for their car after hitting one of these monstrous holes. Chicago even has a special portion on their web site where drivers can file a claim for pothole damage.

Yes – the city of Chicago is so behind on their pothole repairs that KFC decided to fill the holes themselves, and use the whole thing for a bit of goodwill generating PR.

Colombo, Srilanka

Colombo is one of those cities where potholes morph into sinkholes. Large amounts of rain scour the ground from under the roadbed, and the result is the kind of hole that can swallow a car.

Another Colombo pot/sinkhole. Thankfully it doesn’t look like any vehicles were lost in this thing, but you can clearly see some damaged pipes and other infrastructure in the massive hole.


Bad combination – super relaxing island and the kind of pothole that will really put a dent in your day (and wheels). It is bad enough when you hit one of these things with your car, but popping the front wheel of your moped or bike in them is enough to turn your bike seat into an ejector seat.

Michigan potholes from hell

I’ll let this video clip speak for itself.

New Orleans, LA

It’s not really fair to criticize New Orleans for their potholes – the city is still recovering from Katrina, but that doesn’t make this pothole less impressive. Notice the car tire on the left, showing just how deep this thing is.

Xiamen City, China

Ouch. The only thing worse than hitting a killer Chinese pothole, is hitting one when a photographer is standing there waiting for you to go flying, just so he can snap a great picture.

Liu Tao was criticized for not warning cyclists of the danger lying ahead of them. If you enjoy seeing people get hurt, or just want to know how the fall ends, check out the other photos at the source article.

In Russia, pothole drive you?

Funny how you can make almost any video interesting by adding some snappy Greek music to the background!

Kiev, Ukraine

I’m not sure whether this pothole appeared out of the blue when people were coming down the road, or whether these cars were simply parked in the wrong place at the wrong time. But it sure looks like an expensive mess.

New York, NY

For the final pothole in this lineup, what better place than New York City? Seriously, when the potholes get this big, you may be better off leaving the car at home and sticking with public transport.

From the New Europe: 106 cars collide in a snow storm

They don’t call the D1, the major Czech highway, a “death trap” for nothing. Yesterday morning amidst a surprising spring snow storm which brought down as much as one inch of snow within minutes, the D1 turned into a bloody mess. Lucky me, I drove to Prague from Moravia just hours before the accident happened.

It all started with two semi trucks getting stuck mid-hill (summer tires?) about halfway between Prague and Brno and no less than 106 cars couldn’t stop in time and ended up building the most impressive car pile up in the country’s history.

Both directions of the highway, which is a major international artery in this region, were closed the entire day. Twenty thousand people got stranded on the side of the road in the freezing cold. Amazingly enough, nobody was killed, although 8 people were seriously injured.

If you ever want to rent a car here and drive around the country, please remember the D1 is not for the faint of heart.