A coach driver has said that a split second decision was the “difference between life and death” after he narrowly avoided a fatal collision in Aberdeenshire.
Thomas Ferguson, from Dundee, was driving passengers on a FlixBus coach northbound on the A92, towards Stonehaven on May 1 at around 2pm near Bridge of Muchalls when a lorry on the other side of the road lost control and began snaking violently.
The 51-year-old, who has been driving for 34 years, said that he could see the lorry driver attempting to break, however the vehicle was not stopping.
The lorry then jack-knifed and swung to cover four lanes of the road, as Mr Ferguson made the split second decision to quickly manoeuvre the coach to a grass verge to the left of the road to avoid a potentially fatal crash.
His swift decision meant the lorry avoided hitting the majority of the coach aside from the back window, while all passengers on the coach remained unharmed apart from a couple of scrapes.
Speaking about the incident, Mr Ferguson said: “There was no way we would have avoided collision without doing something.
“I think I had less than a second to decide what to do. Then, seeing the back of the coach afterwards, that half second was probably the difference between life and death.”
The dad-of-two added that his two children – Charlie, eight and Grace, 12 – were relieved to see him after the incident.
He said: “My biggest concern was for my passengers – I immediately went to check on them and thankfully they were all ok. I’ve never seen or done anything like that in over 30 years of driving.”
One passenger, named Mary, praised Mr Ferguson for his quick thinking and proficiency in avoiding any serious injury.
She said: “His aftercare and concern for us all and to get us to our destination was above and beyond.”
Mr Ferguson had started as a FlixBus driver with McGill’s in August 2022 on their Scottish network.
Hayley Russell, team lead of operations for FlixBus UK said that it was “nothing short of a miracle that no one was seriously injured or killed”.
She added: “We are so grateful to have Thomas on our network representing Flixbus – he saved lives thanks to his quick reactions that day.”
Managers at McGill’s have likewise praised Mr Ferguson, who were shocked after seeing the incident through the coach’s onboard CCTV.
Colin Napier, group service delivery director for McGill’s said: “His clear thinking and alert actions saved the day from what would have otherwise been a horrific crash. Watching the heart-stopping footage showed just how brave Thomas was; passengers saw it unfold in front of them and realised that he saved their lives.”