High Impact Art(ifact)

At first we thought a mighty crunch in the morning meant the trash collection truck had dropped a garbage bin from a great height, but the sound of sirens and a myriad flashing lights revealed the true cause in our neighbor’s front yard:

NHR Crash - frontal view
NHR Crash – frontal view

The extent of the damage was more apparent from the road side:

NHR Crash - passenger side
NHR Crash – passenger side

Another one that ain’t gonna buff right out.

The driver was walking around uninjured and the ambulance left quietly.

A day later, the trajectory became apparent:

NHR Crash - trajectory
NHR Crash – trajectory

The right side barely kissed the tree on the right, but the front wheel hooked the utility pole (that’s the new pole in the picture), snapped it off at ground level in addition to the usual break maybe ten feet up, and bounced a piece off the other tree:

NHR Crash - utility pole
NHR Crash – utility pole

I didn’t know you could shatter a cast aluminum alloy wheel, but the missing half of the outer face was lying amid the rather scrambled stone wall along driveway.

We’re reasonably sure we know the cause. Feel free to draw your own conclusions.

After the flatbed hauled away the car and everybody left, I harvested a few pounds of interesting debris from the lawn:

NHR Crash - tempered glass
NHR Crash – tempered glass

It’s tempered glass from the driver-side windows, shattered into small chunks and barely hanging together in those sheets. Laminated windshield glass is entirely different stuff.

The smaller chunks glitter like jewels:

NHR Crash - tempered glass fragments
NHR Crash – tempered glass fragments

Obviously, the window had a bit of tint.

The smallest chunk, seen from its flat surface, shows the cuboid fragments:

NHR Crash - tempered glass fragment - front
NHR Crash – tempered glass fragment – front

A side view shows more complexity:

NHR Crash - tempered glass fragment - side
NHR Crash – tempered glass fragment – side

Tempering prevents a glass sheet from shattering into long knife-blade shards. Although the edges of the fragments are not keen, we are dealing with broken glass: they are sharp.

How sharp? They make glass knives for slicing eyes and cells.

Broken tempered glass also sheds razor-edged flakes perfectly shaped to penetrate bike tires, although most roadside glass comes from ordinary beverage bottles. The tiniest flakes can make a mess of your eyes, so exercise at least some rudimentary shop safety practices.

Those slabs ought to be good for something, even if they fall apart at the slightest touch …