Includes 10 uses, showing it is far from a one-off phrase. Numbers 4 & 5 (bicycle) and 7, 8, 9, 10 ("everyday usage") are the uses I am most interested in.

Question 1

If a vehicle "crashes into a bend," does there have to be a physical structure (such as a guardrail, tree, fence, hedge line) at, or as part of, the bend into which to crash? Several uses (1, 2, probably 3, 6) are ostensibly used when such an obstruction exists. My question, again, is does such an obstruction have to exist for the phrase to be used? Because it is unclear from many of the uses, especially Numbers 7, 8, 9, 10) whether one is present.

Question 2

If used by a bicyclist, can it mean the rider simply loses traction and comes into contact with the ground--at a bend? (This could be synonymous with AmE (?) "wipe out (phrasal verb 2)".) See numbers 4 & 5 below.


From over 10 usages I found, I take it that "to crash into a bend" is an expression used in British English and Australian English (as well as in current Englishes derived from BrE, such as in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Bhutan). It is apparently not used in American English. Also note, when talking about driving in general, bend is characteristically British English (eg, driving through a bend), whereas curve (or turn) is used in American English. I think all uses are within the past 12 years.

No 1 At an auto race in Thailand

Just some extracts from Toyota Motorsport event at Sapan Hin, Phuket, on Sunday 9 October, just seconds after a racing car crashed into a bend, but driver got out OK and went off in ambulance...

This is the caption to a a video posted on youtube. Apparently, the subject of the description is this car:

enter image description here

No 2 At the gran prix

It's fun seeing a car crash into a bend - I've learnt that I'm a sadist

No 3 From old Nintendo Grand Prix Auto Race game

So once you have started the race, you will notice that it can be quite a challenge to master the controls...If you crash into a bend or run over the curbs, it will cause damage to your vehicle...

See the accompanying youtube video of the dated game, showing bends into which a race car can crash.

No 4 (Bicycle) MOH Qualifying - Respect the Mountains.... (BrE)

on the way down to the super steep “double black” – dropping in, my arms are killing – probably 15 minutes into the race now – so struggling to exert enough force to brake, and with bodies strewn left, bodies strewn right, I am sent slightly off line and crash into a bend. Hot damn – people pass me. Brush down and off again, and literally off again as I wash out into a flat corner – not enough brake! Ouch my arms. Have a little dirt nap – check my makeup – what am I having for tea? Pull pads up – oh best get going again – people are passing again. Gasp. Negotiate the tricky corner before the shale descent with aplomb – back on it – think of having a rest before dropping in to this carve-able descent, keep yourself on track with little shale berms – no rest – no time! Drop in, carve past bodies, to slightly muddy stream crossing – again front wheel washout – getting used to this, 3rd off in as many minutes – splash!...

It's possible that in the above description of a mountain bike course that there is no guard rail to crash into. The same can be said for the following usage:

No 5 (Bicycle) around taiwan on 2 wheels 02 – the full monty (5) (BrE)

from shipai 石牌 , it was a fingers-and-hands-numbing-brake-holding 20km downhill to lunch point 坪林. we had to constantly remind ourselves that if we got distracted for even 1 second, we’d crash into the bend or worse, string our cycling mates along.

No 6 4th JK Tyre Indo Bhutan Friendship Rally (race car circuit, Bhutan)

...Then car number 23 rolled over and had an accident and another crashed into a bend.

The rally (race) is in Bhutan, whose English is traditionally British English. There are many photos that accompany the article thread.


No 7 Car seat decisions (UK?, not US)

When I was driving home a week ago- car in front of me doing about 40mph and crashed into a bend. Driver was injured and I had to dial 999 for her,...

(999 is the emergency phone number used in the UK and elsewhere, but not in the USA).

No 8 Dims not very good (the UK)

It wasn't too bad on the dual carriageway but once off it I couldn't actually drive without my full beams being on for fear I'd actually crash into a bend.

No 9 Signs of the Times (Ireland)

...A growing issue in County Cork is missing road signs which leave dangerous areas unmarked for visitors passing through...or worse, some one could crash into a bend because there are no signs to warn you its there.

No 10 a fatal accident in a neighborhood in Australia (with photo of bend)

Police are piecing together how a 56-year-old driver from Maryborough failed to negotiate a bend heading towards Buderim village and crashed into a tree... A neighbour known as "Jill" said it was not the first time she had witnessed a car smashing into the bend heading uphill along Lindsay Rd.

In 30 years she has lived in her home, Jill has had a car burst into her front yard and saw a motorcycle crash into the bend.


Whether or not the phrase can be used when there is no "physical feature" other than the bend (ie, AmE curve) itself is not known to me. Which is why I am posing the question here.

[No 11] Removed, as its authenticity is questionable (ie it could be machine written or a spam site)

  • The first half of your conditional needs more attention. In the relevant ELL question, what was meant was the driver accelerated into a bend and crashed; it is not clear whether changing this into he accelerated and crashed into a bend is legitimate. Apr 10, 2015 at 19:43
  • @TimLymington Here, I am specifically asking about the phrase crash into a bend. The ELU question informs mine here, it does not determine it. The phrase does seem idiomatic to BrE, given the uses I found. I'm asking specific questions about it.
    – pazzo
    Apr 10, 2015 at 20:10
  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it concerns a one-off expression.
    – ScotM
    Apr 10, 2015 at 22:09
  • 1
    I now agree with Scot: the answer to the question is "A vehicle does not in fact crash into a bend in normal British English: one careless journalist does not change this." Apr 10, 2015 at 22:12
  • 1
    No @ScotM, it is not a one-off phrase. My findings shows 9+ instances of usage, all of which are non AmE usages. The questions now includes these usages, which seem idiomatic, given the worldwide area of usage, from Canada to the UK to Bhutan and Thailand to Australia (all Englishes either BrE or influenced by BrE).
    – pazzo
    Apr 11, 2015 at 2:54

5 Answers 5


As a speaker of AusEng I would understand all of these quotes as referring to a crash into an object at a bend, most commonly a guardrail. This would be the same for the bicycles.

For example 10, where the car crashed into the tree, I would expect that there would be more than a single solitary tree marking the bend in the road - maybe there would be a fence or a string of trees? Checking the photo in the news article you can see that the whole bend is covered in vegetation.

So yes, there always is a physical barrier. If for example you crashed into a ditch at a bend it would be inappropriate to say that you crashed into the bend.

  • Nice to hear from a native speaker. Well, would you call the phrase an idiomatic expression or 9-10 instances of the same grammatical mistake" as @Lynn calls them?
    – pazzo
    Apr 14, 2015 at 6:19
  • @pazzo It's definitely natural and not a mistake. It may not be natural in whatever dialect Lynn speaks, but it's natural in AusEng at least! (And probably BrEng from the look of things.) Apr 14, 2015 at 8:37

In answer to question 1, you can't crash 'into' a bend unless there is something to crash into... If there wasn't, one might say:

'came off (the road) at the bend and (then) crashed into a ___ (tree/house/giant grand piano)'

As for your examples:

7) Reading the rest of the post, the person is not very literate, example can be discounted as poor construction.

8) I would contend this is a similar context to the racing uses - the person talks about coming off main road to (from context) side roads, which in UK are often hedgerow-lined or residential (walls/fences etc).

9) The context is again one of hedgerows as the obstacle at the bend - it is notably difficult to judge the steepness of a corner when there are high hedgerows on its borders (as shown in the picture), so the article is indicating that the standard markers to indicate that a turn is on the sharp side should be used, for visitors to not come a cropper.

10) The obstacle at the bend is the tree.

11) This example serves no one as its source is a semi-coherent narrative written by a clearly non-native speaker.

As for question 2, it would be more idiomatic to say:

"I came off (my bike) at a corner/bend/turning"

That is to say that the crash occurs 'at' not 'into' the bend. If one crashed into a hedge/tree/fence/gate/whatever then that would be the focus of the statement, not the bend at which it was located:

"I crashed into a tree at the bend by the bottom of the hill."

Here the bend is just a part of the locative information for the listener, the salient point being that you hit a tree!

  • Thanks for addressing the specific examples. Although I wouldn't discard #7,unless it doesn't fit one's definition of when the phrase can be used. I almost didn't include #11 but it does show that the phrase is idiomatic if a person who can barely write standard English uses it twice. Are you a native BrE speaker ?
    – pazzo
    Apr 13, 2015 at 22:20
  • I am indeed a native BrE speaker, and I have never heard the expression used outside of the context of there being an obstacle at the bend. I was attempting to point out with #7 that someone who has such other obvious failings in constructing English as a (nominally) native speaker is not a useful example of an alternate use of the phrase. As for #11, it looks like that was machine translated in sections, so I similarly don't consider it a useful example of the alternate use of the phrase.
    – Sam
    Apr 14, 2015 at 11:56
  • But there is nothing about #7 that makes it an exception to what you are saying is there, especially in as much as the accident was bad enough to have to call the emergency number?
    – pazzo
    Apr 16, 2015 at 11:30
  • I am not sure I understand what you are getting at, but #7 I consider only so far as to judge it insufficient as an example of the use of the phrase without a definite obstacle. With an implicit obstacle, it is fine, if suboptimal, but in the context of my answer to your original question 1, I don't find it evidence for the use of the phrase "crash into the bend" in the absence of an obstacle at the bend.
    – Sam
    Apr 16, 2015 at 13:55
  • Okay, gotcha. But re-reading your answer, I'm not sure if you are saying the exact phrase "crash into a/the bend" is correct usage, okay usage, idiomatic usage, or erroneous usage (aka a mistake). See recent comments by Lynn to my OP.
    – pazzo
    Apr 16, 2015 at 14:04

The British Department of Transport publishes a Traffic Signs Manual, Chapter 4 Warning Signs deals with signs related to hazards. Section 3 is dedicated to Deviation of Route and Sections 3.1-3.8 deal specifically with Bend Signs.

3.3 The sign should be used sparingly and only to indicate a bend hazard. It should not be used simply to allay local apprehension regarding the speed of traffic. Over-use of the sign could eventually compromise its contribution to road safety.

So we have established that officially the British consider some bends to be hazards, and those should be signaled with a warning sign.

Given the list of examples of the phrase "crash into a bend" cited by the OP, the common elements are:

  1. The incident considered a "crash" results in harm to a person and/or damage to a vehicle or other object. There are no examples of the phrase being used where no injury and no damage result.
  2. The "crash" occurs at a bend

In these instances the bend is the hazard, per usage by the British Department of Transport, so figuratively if not literally the British say "crash into a bend" to indicate injury and/or damage occurred at a bend hazard.


I don't know if this is exclusive to BrEng but you can say: crashed on a bend

crashed [on + a bend]
See Google Books link for more examples

  1. After a long time, he admitted to having stolen it. He said that he had been driving too fast, and had crashed on a bend.
    A Tragedy Waiting to Happen – The Chaotic Life of Brendan O’Donnell. By Tony Muggivan, JJ Muggivan (Irish)

  2. On one occasion, he crashed on a bend in the race, but was not hurt.
    Encyclopedia of the Neurological Sciences By Dr. Michael J. Aminoff (British neurophysiologist) and Robert B. Daroff M.D., Neuro-ophthalmologist

From The Free Dictionary
bend noun
14. something that bends: a bend in the road.

Google Books reveal 29 results for the phrase “crashed on a bend”, not many admittedly, but it is nevertheless grammatical.
Google on the other hand, produces 19,200 results.


I would say if there is an obstacle on a bend (AmEng tends to favour curve), such as a guardrail, fence, tree, wall, scarp, hillside or even a house, then a car crashes into it. Examples 1-3, 6 and 10 seem to express this type of accident. In example 7 without more context, I'd naturally assume that the car had hit something at a road bend.

When there are no obstacles involved in a car accident, I might say the car crashed on a bend, meaning the driver lost control of the vehicle. For example:

Failure to negotiate bends on rural A roads
This tends to be the fault of the rider [motorcyclist], often because s/he approaches the bend too fast and/or misjudges the bend. They occur more often on leisure rides.

Source: RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents)

More examples of usage

  • A local bus rammed into a tree on a sharp bend on a road as a result of lost control

  • Three teenagers were killed in Yorkshire yesterday when their car skidded off a road, struck a tree and was ripped in half. The 16-year-old driver of the Honda Civic was believed to have hit an icy patch on a sharp left-hand bend.

  • Nine vehicles crash on same bend including FIVE cars in just 12 hours [. . .] Her car swerved off the road, writing off Mr Brine's car before falling into the garden and smashing into Mr Cobbin's front door. Daily Mail

  • Police said a Toyota Corolla crashed on a bend. The driver had minor injuries. [BBC.com]

  • 1
    This is extremely informative, but it would be better if you could tie this expression in with into a bend. And also whether crash on a bend requires an obstacle on, or as part of, the bend
    – pazzo
    Apr 13, 2015 at 22:10

This has been covered in passing in the answer by amdn but I think it is worth singling out a very important factor.

The important word is not 'bend', it is 'crash into'. If you crash into something then you have hit it.

If you crash into another car, you hit the car.

If you crash into a wall then you hit the wall.

If you crash into X then you hit X, whatever X is.

Therefore we can say with certainty, if you crash into a bend, there must be some aspect of the bend that is solid and capable of causing an impact.

Otherwise you have 'skidded off' at a bend or 'left the road' at a bend or something similar.

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