Nottinghamshire Police are appealing for witnesses after a driver came within inches of death following a freak incident.
A spokesperson for the force said the motorist is "lucky to be alive" after the 10kg tow bar smashed through his windscreen and hit his head.
Jonathan Loates was driving on a 40mph stretch of road when the large piece of metal burst through the front of the car, leaving him with a severe cut to his head.
It was only his instinctive reaction to duck that is believed to have saved his life. Luckily the 30-year-old managed to pull over his BMW to the side of the road before collapsing to the ground.
Another driver saw the incident and pulled over to help and put some clothing over the wound before ringing the ambulance and staying with him until it arrived.
Officers investigating the incident believe the tow bar may have fallen from another vehicle and are appealing for witness, or anyone with dashcam footage who was in the area at the time, to come forward.
Mr Loates, who had more than 100 stitches and is now recovering at home, said: "As I got to the brow of the hill I saw something in the road - I thought it was a bit of wood or some rubbish.
"I went to go round it to the left and the next thing I know there was a massive bang. I can't really remember what happened after that. I don't know if it knocked me out or I blacked out but the next thing I remember was getting out with my head pouring with blood."
Mr Loates said he wanted to thank the driver who stopped to help him, as well as a woman who was an off-duty trainee paramedic who also stopped, before the ambulance arrived.
He was initially taken to Doncaster Royal Infirmary following the collision but was later transferred to a specialist head injury unit in Rotherham. He was in surgery for over three hours having more than 100 stitches.
"I'm lucky it didn't hit me straight in the head because it would have taken my head off. The scar is going to be visible for the rest of my life,” said Mr Loates.
Mr Loates, who works at a recruitment firm near Hucknall, was driving home to Blyth when the incident happened on the A619 Chesterfield Road, between Darfoulds nursery and before the island heading towards Worksop (A60), at around 5.15pm on Thursday 9 January.
PC Anthony Brice, who is leading the investigation, said he believed the tow bar had fallen off a long wheel base van like a Transit or a 4x4 or from the back of a scrap van and could have been from a vehicle travelling ahead of Mr Loates or in the opposite carriageway.
"He's lucky to be alive. He moved his head a few inches to the side and that saved his life - simple as that," he said.
PC Brice also urged anyone with tow bars on their vehicles to ensure they are attached securely to prevent similar incidents, particularly as cold weather can cause metal to contract and become loose.
Anyone who witnessed the collision or has dashcam footage at the time of the incident, is urged to contact Nottinghamshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 642 of 9 January 2020.
Image credit: Nottinghamshire Police