BMW M4 crash in Tanjong Pagar, how and why it all went wrong

Jason · Feb 17, 2021 04:30 PM

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By now, you would have read all about the BMW M4 crash at Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore. First things first, our condolences to all who lost their lives in the accident. And we hope for the best for Miss Raybe Oh, the 6th victim currently fighting for her life in hospital. 

Among the many questions, the obvious one is, what caused the crash? We will attempt to find that out here. Bear in mind that this is not meant to condemn the incident, nor the deceased. Instead, we do this in hope that all of us will learn to be more conscentious road users.

Speed

Excessive speed causing initial loss of control

While we try to speculate how fast the M4 was travelling, it was quite obvious that it was too fast in this instance (rough mathematics estimate 200 km/h is possible). Looking at the speed the M4 was going entering the first right bend, that was what caused the initial loss of control. In the picture above, you can see the tail of the M4 start to step out at the right-hander.

Snapped the other way on lift off, whilst counter-steering to recover

Realising he was losing the car, the driver backed off the throttle and tried to regain control by counter-steering. But, at those speeds, lifting off the throttle would just cause lift-off oversteer (the car's weight shifting abruptly from the rear to front axle), resulting in the car snapping the other way, and it did.

By now, the tail of the M4 has swung out uncontrollably, braking hard is purely mitigation

From then on, the car was merely a passenger of physics. You could see the driver stomping on the brakes in vain to stop the car, which again, was always going to be difficult given the speed. 

Time & place

Yes, I understand every once in a while, enthusiast get their kicks out of driving spiritedly, even on public roads (I mean, we've all been reckless before). What I always remind people (and was reminded myself by a driving mentor) is time and place. Which means to say, never go all out on public roads.

There are just too many variables on a public road to risk using all the performance of modern cars (what more a BMW M4). In this context, the narrow streets of Tanjong Pagar Road was not a place to give full beans to a 420 PS car. There were cars on both sides of the road, and also people living in the shoplots. 

Pandemic lockdown restrictions notwithstanding, it is always a good idea to test the limits of your car in a safe and controlled environment such as a race track or sanctioned autocross/gymkhana events. In doing so, you can go all out while minimizing the safety risks to other people.

Conclusion

As an enthusiast myself, I get that we love fast cars, we enjoy the simple act of driving. It only becomes a problem when you endanger fellow road users. Regardless, our thoughts go out to the deceased, may they rest in peace. And remember, a car is only as safe as its driver.

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