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3 killed, 2 injured in head-on collision in Nara tunnel

10 Comments

Three people were killed and two others injured in a head-on collision between two vehicles in a tunnel in Kawakami, Nara Prefecture, on Tuesday afternoon, police said.

According to police, the accident occurred at around 3:30 p.m. in Osako tunnel located on National Route 169. Fuji TV reported that the collision involved a passenger car and station wagon with both vehicles erupting into flames.

The fire was extinguished after about two hours. Two people in the station wagon were dead. Police said their bodies were so badly burned that it was impossible to determine their sex. A 47-year-old woman, who was seated in the other car, was confirmed dead at the hospital. The two remaining passengers in the automobile were also injured. A 53-year-old man is in serious condition with a broken ankle while a 75-year-old woman sustained minor injuries.

Police said the accident occurred approximately 50 meters from the south end of the tunnel at a curve with poor visibility. Police believe one of the vehicles may have swerved into the opposite lane.

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10 Comments
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I wonder if they had their lights on.

It beats me why people consistently don't do this.

Your headlights serve TWO purposes:

a) So that YOU can see.

b) So that YOU CAN BE SEEN!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Police believe one of the vehicles may have swerved into the opposite lane.

May have? I'd say that was a bit of a given for a head on crash.

It(s actually law to use your headlights in a tunnel. However, headlights will not save you from another driver not paying attention and crossing the line. I'd put my money on a dozing driver. They seem a bit old to be playing Pokemon Go.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A collision in a tunnel means death. I've bicycled the length of Japan several times over the years through countless tunnels. Few of them I consider safe for pedestrians or bicyclists. There is often no alternative routes. No headlights? Plenty of times! Excessive speed? It seemed that way to me with my bicycle and self unmoving - save my white gloved left hand waving - as close to the wall as possible facing oncoming traffic. Cars following too closely? De rigeur! Some drivers are evidently day dreaming - they swerve away at the last moment. Poor lighting, chunks of concrete on the lane edge line... While passing through the tunnels leading to Kamikochi Iriguchi in Nagano-ken, I wondered if the Minister in charge of highways could be made to walk through those tunnels to see for himself - without cracking.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

most of the same accidents happened to luck of attention. How many accidents will we need to understand this cause.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

https://www.google.com/maps/@34.27416,136.0093711,16.63z?hl=en I know this road well, when I first heard I automatically thought of the well-known corkscrew takinowaki tunnel/viaduct a little further south (check out the google street view of the viaduct part -amazing engineering). I have had one horrible close call in that tunnel with a large truck. Drivers are usually quite vigilant in this sharp tunnel.

The Osaka tunnel (in the link) is a short one with a minor curve in it, sadly enough to veer off into the opposite lane. One moment of complacency has disastrous repercussions. I guess the southbound driver, has gone straight on, veering into the northbound lane

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Two issues here I feel: a) visibility; that's a relatively narrow tunnel, quite common out in the sticks, and the road surface tends to blend in with the tunnel walls. Catseyes would have helped here, but they're relatively uncommon in Japan outside highways. b) speed; one or both cars must have been going some for them both to be consumed by fire.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As a bicyclist in tunnels it seems that contrast is lost in an overall dark grayness. It's almost two dimensional. I think drivers experience the same thing. Speed is the biggest factor. Slow down and live as they say.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Police believe one of the vehicles may have swerved into the opposite lane.

Duh . . .

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Did some tunnel driving myself recently. "Saw" a bicycle coming toward me in the other lane, but just barely. The guy had no headlinght or reflector and a very lame tail light that I saw when I passed. I think it is safe to say that people have no idea how little they stand out in situations like that.

What situation? Oh. Let's imagine a bright summer day with a driver wearing sunglasses. He goes from blinding light to pitch dark and has to either take off the sunglasses or adjust his vision to the dark (that might explain why the crash occurred within 50 m of one entrance). Then oncoming cars might be dark colored and have no running lights. Then the driver is fumbling for his lights and dimmers. And once you get all that settled, the tunnel is behind you.

Bill Murphy has the right idea about speed, but you know there are people who like to pass in tunnels, and speed in tunnels. Slowing down just incites them to be jerks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've climbed over passes to avoid especially dangerous tunnels, but sometimes they are unavoidable. "Be seen" is the word for pedestrians and bicyclists. From the pedestrian (I saw a lot of pilgrims in tunnels in Shikoku) and bicyclist's stand point there IS "light at the end of the tunnel" in that the newest tunnels do have wider traffic lanes, much better and more lighting plus wide, elevated and sometimes separated paths - sometimes even a parallel tunnel!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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