By Charles Creasey
A group of off-road enthusiasts nearly died when their 4 x 4 nearly flipped over when driving down a steep hill – because the driver panicked and slammed on the brakes.
Stephen Wainhouse was off-roading with his mates Lee Stothard, Colin Marsh and Rob Farel earlier this month, at the Kirton Off Road Centre in Halifax, West Yorks, when he decided to take on the infamous ‘suicide hill’.
The 39-year-old dad-of-four was preparing to ‘roll down’ on his wheels, but nearly rolled down on his roof when he braked sharply, instead of letting the Land Rover Defender brake naturally in a low gear.
The video shows the moment Stephen presses the foot brake and nearly flips forward onto his roof, as the rest of the lads scramble into position to right him with a winch.
Entrepreneur Stephen said: “I completely s**t myself. I just slammed my foot on the brakes and prayed. As soon as I did I just felt cramp in my calf.
“That was the longest three minutes of my life. It was only three minutes but it felt like 35 – I thought the whole thing was going to flip over and I was going to die.
“I just remember being in the car and I just felt the back end lifting up. I just had my foot on the brake and I didn’t let go. I was just hoping and praying the brakes didn’t fail.”
The lads quickly sprang into action and attached a winch to the rear axle, anchoring Stephen in position and saving him from tipping over.
Stephen said: “In truth I was a bit worried the winch was going to fail. When I got back up the hill I just had to take five minutes before I got back in the car.
“I hope to conquer suicide hill one day. I’ll definitely do it again but I couldn’t face it on that day after that happened.
“As soon as I got back on my feet and my cramp had gone I just thought ‘right, let’s go for a drink’.”
Veteran off-roader Lee Stothard was filming the incident.
Lee, 46, said: “He said to me after that he saw his life flashing before his eyes and that he’d never been as scared as that in his life.
“I reckon if that 4 x 4 had flipped over he could have died.
“He just panicked and slammed the brakes on. The problem was that it was the foot brake – that’s about 70 per cent front and 30 per cent rear.
“His front wheels just dug into the ground and he was lucky because he could have easily rolled over.
“What he should have done is rolled over the hill and braked with his engine. Instead he just slammed on the clutch and the brake.
“We were all joking with him saying ‘stay where you are Steve’ ‘don’t move anywhere’ and generally taking the p**s out of him.
“My mate Colin was moaning about his winch but I just said to him ‘I’ll buy you a new winch.
“We just held on to his tyres at the back because he could have just flipped over. If he would have gone over the bump he’d have just carried on going down the hill.
“When we got him back up the hill we went off for some beers and a campfire. We bought him some Tena Ladies incontinence pants as a joke.
“We were just taking the p**s out of him and just generally taking the mickey.”
The video was shared on social media, where it went viral and got thousands of likes and shares.