Automatic carwashes are supposed to be hassle-free. In an ideal world, the driver pulls up, pays, and relaxes for five minutes while the “magic hands” do their job. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world, and as one Pennsylvania man recently found out, automatic carwashes can be anything but hassle-free.
Local news shared video of the incident, which shows the driver speeding into the carwash before hitting the machinery and flipping over. It appears the man mistakenly hit the gas upon entering the wash, which sent the car hurdling toward the equipment inside.
Images taken afterward show a mangled silver Toyota on its side in the Colmar, Pa., carwash. The 77-year-old driver was trapped in the vehicle, requiring a 90-minute rescue effort. They ultimately peeled the car’s roof back to get him out. He was taken to a local hospital, where he’s expected to recover. Bystanders were unsurprisingly flabbergasted at what they had just witnessed, with one man saying, “I can’t even imagine the process of having a car turn over inside a carwash.”
The carwash owner was thankful there were no serious injuries but acknowledged the impact the crash would have on his business. “We are relieved that nobody was seriously injured,” he told WPVI 6 Action News. “This was a severe accident that is extremely unfortunate for our customers and our equipment. Being a small business owner isn’t easy, accidents like this don’t make it any easier.” He said the carwash’s customers, staff, and support team would help it get through the situation.
Statistics on carwash injuries and deaths are thin, but there are stories of people seriously injured and dying. In April 2022, a man died after leaving his vehicle in an automatic carwash. He got out of his car and became stuck between it and the washing equipment. In 2020, another man died at a carwash in Texas. While working in the wash bay, the man became trapped in the machinery.