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Car Crash

Last evening, Friday 12th September 2008 around 5.30pm, I was stationary at a red light as I travelled home, behind around 4 or 5 other cars, when I was aware of movement in my rear view mirror. I looked in time to see a gold peugeot heading full speed towards me – and no, she did not stop in time! BANG! I, in turn, shunted the car in front of me.

I am ashamed to admit my first response was to get out of my car and head for the driver who caused the accident, a young woman, and shout to her “What were you trying to do? Drive THROUGH me?!” The poor girl, she couldn’t believe she’d been so stupid, she immediately apologised and said that she wasn’t paying attention – really? NO! – to the stationary cars, she saw cars ahead in the other lane turning right and thought traffic was moving so carried on driving through…She’s learned the hard way that you need to be aware of traffic ahead but you only go as far as a safe distance BEHIND the car right in front of you!

The man in the car in front, unlike me, was mild tempered and the first thing he did, which I should have done, was ask if I was ok and the girl in the car behind if she was ok. He had a little girl in the car, a friend’s child, so he was concerned about her. I feel chastised by his reaction – I don’t know why I reacted the way I did, as I did force myself to be defensive. Stupid is more like it.

There was a witness to the whole event, and we called the police… but the girl who caused the accident drove off before the police arrived which I found most strange! I had taken my mobile phone out and taken photos of all the cars, so we had her registration and I and the other driver had asked her for her details, but she didn’t take any information from us, so I am guessing that was her first accident. What did we do before the days of mobile phones with cameras, eh?! Seems a bygone age…!

damaged bumper

damaged bumper

Needless to say, now phonecalls to insurance companies start… and the long slog to get the car returned to it’s former glory begins… PAH! That was my first thought, after realising it wasn’t too bad and apart from my sore neck everyone seemed to be ok, here is more hassle and time wasting – that, I think, was what I really wanted to shout at her – you are going to waste my time with phone calls and trips to garages and being without my car, etc…..! It’s not just the impact of the crash itself’s everything else that comes after it – waiting for the police, giving statements, calling insurance company and going through the story a couple of times, taking the car to get assessed, arranging for it to be fixed, the days it’s at the garage… and so it goes on… and all because some silly girl wasn’t paying attention to the fact that she is driving a few tons of life-threatening machinery that can do serious damage when you are not focused on the job at hand of driving!

We really get so complacent about driving, I feel. I note that these days people seem to think it’s an optional extra to signal – don’t people realise there is no charge for putting an indicator on, it just involves the flick of a finger as you drive, so really not so much effort and it can make such a difference to all those driving around you to know where you are headed! Get off my bumper – haven’t you heard of a safe stopping distance? Do you even know what it is??! NO you can’t over-take now, it’s a blind corner and the guy coming the other way is over the speed limit and we will ALL die. It seems the unwritten rule when in a car park that all bets are off, highway code no longer applies – why do people suddenly think it’s ok to drive on the wrong side of the road in car parks??! I can see people getting lazy with their driving and it scares me as it’s my life they are potentially putting at risk! Risk your own life if you like, but don’t mess with mine and that of other strangers, thanks. Is it so much to ask that you show consideration for other people as you drive, you let them know that you are turning right up ahead, or looking for a parking space so that’s why you are crawling along the road or even worse that’s why you come to a complete standstill without warning! How about giving us a hint by indicating that you are pulling over or putting on hazard lights? Europeans are great for using hazard lights – you drive along the autostrada and traffic ahead slows so they bung on the hazards to let you know there is a problem – they need to come to a stop on a high street, the hazards go on, etc… Brilliant! In the UK we seem to have forgotten that we have them, or seem to think that it’s only in an extreme emergency that we are allowed to use them. You know what? Not so much!!

Ok, I think my rant is over… 🙂

Will update on the progress – lets see how long it takes to resolve this and get my trusty steed back into shape. Bless the Toyota – it’s been thorugh this already this year and so far, so safe – I love my wee car! It’s not the most sexy, exciting or speedy car in the world, but it can go like stink when I need it to, it’s comfortable and not too costly to run and I just sound so middle-aged right now! hey ho.. there you go.

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