Houston, we have a problem.

Rocket launches can be spectacular pretty much any time of day, but the recent SpaceX launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California was truly something to behold. It lifted off just after sunset on December 22 and eventually followed a southerly course, giving the four million residents of Los Angeles one hell of a show in the sky. Unfortunately, the timing of the launch also coincided with rush hour on Friday, which is bad enough at any time but even worse when it’s the Friday before Christmas.

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As such, the Falcon 9 rocket was as spectacular as it was distracting, as the driver of this Toyota Corolla found out the very hard way. The crash – not to mention the rocket launch that contributed to it – was captured in terrific detail on a dash cam and it shows just how quickly a distracted driver wreak havoc. With traffic suddenly slowing in all lanes, a minivan blasts full force into the back of the Corolla, which then gets shoved into an SUV that had slowed in front of it. Hopefully there were no serious injuries as a result of the melee.

SpaceX Toyota Corolla Crash

As for our rocket man narrator, he’s certainly fascinated with the launch but still seemingly aware that his first priority is to drive without crashing. Even with a car load of kids and passengers shouting he manages to avoid catastrophe both from traffic slowing in front of him, and the collision in the neighboring lane. And after a brief coming-to-Jesus moment over narrowly avoiding the crash, everyone in the car goes back to rocket and its expanding smoke trail, as if nothing happened. 

If there’s ever been a step-by-step video to show in driver education courses how things can suddenly go wrong on the road, this could well be a keeper. We have an unexpected event that is understandably distracting, leading to slowdowns and ultimately a serious collision. Lessons learned here are that rubberneckers should move off the road instead of significantly slowing on a high-speed highway, but since that will almost certainly never happen, always be prepared for slowdowns when you see a rocket – or anything strange – zipping through the skies.

 Source: Mark Sales 

Gallery: Toyota Corolla Totaled During SpaceX Rocket Launch