IT was a chaotic Friday for hundreds of motorists trying to use the N3 southbound near the Liberty Midlands Mall in Pietermaritzburg yesterday after three truck crashes happened between 10 am and 5 pm in a one kilometre “death trap”. The first truck overturned after its brakes failed, covering the highway in orange juice. Zinhle Mngomezulu of Road Traffic Inspectorate told Weekend Witness that the driver sacrificed the truck and its load to save passengers in a small hatch-back car as he careered down Townhill Road. As the driver was struggling to steer his speeding truck down a narrow section of road works, a slow-moving Toyota Yaris blocked the way. Realising his truck would crush the small car, he steered it to overturn on the newly built stretch of road inside the concrete barriers, causing carnage only among the oranges. The second crash yesterday afternoon caused traffic to be diverted from Peter Brown Drive while paramedics cleared up damage from an accident involving a truck and three other vehicles. They said it was sheer luck that no one died in any of the accidents. Derrick Banks, spokesperson for ER24, said the driver and passenger were seriously injured. Paramedics found the truck in flames and lying on its side. Banks said the truck may have had a mechanical problem, causing the driver to lose control near the construction site. This crash left only one southbound lane open for three hours. The third crash saw cars swerve as a trailer came unhinged and ploughed to a stop on the highway. A traffic officer narrowly escaped as the car he was sitting in was side-swiped. Mngomezulu said the traffic in the city was disrupted by the accidents and today’s closure of one lane of the N3, which lasted over six hours. She said it was a pity that drivers had not used the two arrester beds at the top of Town Hill in time.