By Dr. Ian Taras
After Supercar Sunday, 3 Teslas went for a spirited drive through the canyons. One Tesla had to peel off midway through to go home which left 2 of us. We were driving on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu and made a turn onto Mulholland Highway and destined for Mulholland Drive, a famous widow-maker all the way from the days of James Dean to the present. I found myself drifting to the outside of a 120 degree leftsweeping turn when I hit a patch of gravel that was on the road. It only "attacked" my outer right tires which began to slip and pull me off the road. I tried to give it some gas, err some accelerator-pedal to try and correct, but the traction control fed power from the wheels that were gripping the pavement to the wheels that were slipping on the gravel whereas I needed it the other way around. I realized that by now I was off the road and on the large shoulder that doubled as an inspirational look-out point. I jammed onto the brakes and the anti-lock proved worthy and significantly slowed down the car, but they were no match for the gravel which brought me slowly into a tree which I hit at the right front headlamp.
So slowly did I hit the tree that the airbags were not needed and did not deploy. The cabin was safe and not a scratch on me. At this point the only thing that hurt was my pride! I stepped out of the car onto terra firma and slammed the door in disgust! Then the car started settling and tree branches were crackling. Turns out that the tree I hit was not sticking out of the ground, but rather was jutting out at a 45 degree angle from the side of a cliff that was about 100 feet drop down! My car was "resting" in the tree with 3 wheels suspended in the air and only the back left wheel and where I had stepped out of the car still on solid ground! I looked to the right and there were no trees and I looked to the left and there were no trees and I looked around and there were no guard rails. They call owners of electric cars "tree huggers." Well that day, the tree hugged me back!
By this time the lead Tesla had doubled back to find me, as he put it, white as a ghost. I don't remember it that way, but he was probably thinking more clearly at that time.
He summoned his wife to help as they only lived a few miles away and she was there in a jiffy. They were extremely supportive and helpful. Tesla owners are a breed who care about the environment, but also care about each other! The paparazzi started to show. No not the camera guys that hang out at sheshee Beverly Hills restaurants, but mostly guys on their motorcycles with camera phones. Actually the motorcycle community was also very supportive and called the CHP and LAFD who showed up surveyed the accident site and realized that there was no need for a report to be filed. The pictures do not do it justice. Again, with the horrific accident that these onlookers came upon, more than one was shocked to see how well the cabin of the Tesla held up and how I was physically unharmed. Just another shining example of the fine engineering of the Tesla! Happy motoring!