FOR a split second, she thought a tyre in her car had blown.
But insurance agent Jenny Yeh, 47, soon realised that the source of the dreadful crash was much closer at hand: A 2m-long tree branch as thick as her arm had skewered her car as she drove along Bedok South Road in torrential rain on Tuesday.
The branch pierced the windshield, just missing her. Madam Yeh, whose two sons were in the back seat, was showered with splintered glass - but drove home calmly enough, branch and all.
In a mixture of English and Mandarin, she said: 'I was so scared. It is really lucky my sons were in the back seat and the branch had not plunged through my seat.'
Visibility had been poor on her way home during the afternoon storm that hit after she had picked up her sons aged 17 and 19 from St Andrew's Junior College. She could see no more than 2m in front of her.
When the branch hit, Madam Yeh, who has 20 years of driving experience, knew she could not slam on her brakes or the vehicles following her would smash into the rear of her car.
'When I parked the car, I was so shaken that I asked my son to lock up and I went up to our apartment immediately, not daring to look at the damage,' she said.
The car was towed away yesterday tothe workshop.
Madam Yeh is counting her blessings that no one was hurt, but is nervous about getting back behind the wheel, especially when it rains.
'Luckily, nothing bad happened, but if something did, who is going to be responsible?' she asked.
The National Parks Board (NParks), which looks after trees along most roads, parks and nature reserves, said it regretted the incident.
Its director of streetscape Simon Longman, noting that NParks' arborists inspected and pruned roadside trees regularly, added:
'There are elements of nature beyond our control. Extraneous factors such as strong winds and heavy rain can cause branches of even healthy trees to fall.'
It is not clear how many trees have fallen this rainy season, but a handful of cases have made the news so far in the last few days.
The National Environment Agency's website says two thirds of the island have been wetter than average in the last two weeks.
With more wet days expected for the rest of the month, NParks advises motorists who come across fallen trees to call its 24-hour helpline on 1800-4717-300 for assistance.
FALLEN-BRANCH INCIDENT WAS UNFORESEEABLE, FORUM