HOW did I get out of that alive?
That is the question Sam Stainton is asking himself after seeing photographs of his smashed-up car which flipped over on to its roof on a busy Hampshire motorway on Saturday.
With wreckage and broken glass strewn across the carriageway, emergency services had little option but to close the road.
Yet Sam, 23, escaped with barely a scratch.
The driver admitted he was “lucky to be alive” as he struggled to comprehend how he survived the violent smash, thought to have been caused by a tyre blow-out.
He also thanked a mystery van driver who rushed to his aid to prevent the damaged vehicle exploding.
Sam was heading home to Totton on the M271 when his silver Peugeot flipped over on the southbound carriageway close to junction one.
The tiler, who was returning from a friend’s house in Chandler’s Ford, said: “One minute I was driving along and the next I heard this massive bang.
“The car span sideways, hit a verge, flipped over several times and before I knew it I was upside down.”
The dazed driver crawled from the overturned car before a van driver dashed to the roadside to put out flames coming from the damaged vehicle.
The Good Samaritan sheltered Sam in his van before paramedics arrived and took him to Southampton General Hospital.
Mercifully he sustained only minor whiplash and returned home with nothing more than a sore neck.
The former Testwood School pupil, who lives in Hamp-ton Gardens, said: “People say your life flashes before you – but everything happened so fast.
“All I remember is just holding on for dear life.
“If I had seen a car like that I would have expected the person to have died – it was a right mess.
“There must be a God up there looking down on me because I haven’t got a clue how I survived.
“I just want to thank the van driver for putting out the fire and the emergency services for their work.”
Police closed the road for more than an hour shortly after 9am on Saturday, January 25, with motorists being allowed to turn their cars around and head back towards the M27 interchange to find alternative routes into Southamp-ton.
Sam’s dad Rory, 47, rushed to the roadside after his son rang him from the scene.
Rory, also a tiler, said he was shocked to see the wreckage and said: “He is just so lucky.
“You wouldn’t expect anyone to walk away from that, but it just goes to show how well built cars are these days.
“Really he owes his life to the van driver because if it ruptured the fuel tank and the fire spread, there would have been an explosion.”