Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Smash, Crash, Bash - Come In Car Crash Driver Number 17

Rural roads are lethal. They look so innocent, but you are three and a half times more likely to be killed on a country road. There you are, trundling along, enjoying the scenery and then, you are confronted by some hazard or another. Most commonly, it is a car overtaking another car on a blind bend. But it can be a suicidal pheasant. A suicidal deer. A suicidal rabbit, or any other animal as it comes careering towards you. But it is humans who are the top of the list, whether they are suicidal or as in the majority of cases not.

This is an area in which I feel qualified to talk about. You will see that as a short window of relief when you consider the maany other topics I have spouted forth about on this blog. But in this case, I do have first, second and third hand experience of car crashes. You will no doubt have a minimum of third hand, as most people know someone who has had an accident on the roads, whether perpetrator or victim.

My father was the victim of three rural crashes. The first two wounded him. The last killed him. Years ago he had a puncture just over the brow of the hill, at night, when another motorist ploughed into the back of them. It sent mother into the windscreen and I'm not sure what happened to father.

Then several years later, he was tootling along around a bend, when another car came speeding along and rammed him, head on. He lost his kneecap and had to be cut out of the car by the local volunteer firemen. As most of them worked at the same racecourse where he did, it was as friendly and kind experience as something could be.

His final crash, you all know about. It has been widely reported.

Mother was the same. She had her fair share of crashes. But she also had her fair share of bad luck. It was bad luck that she did a U-turn on a busy dual carriageway. Not because the manoevre was executed safely, but bad luck because there was a police car sitting in the lay-by where she turned and did not notice.

'Now then, Madam,' said the Policeman, ever so slowly as he poked his head through the window. 'What do you think you were doing?'

'Oh Officer, I'm so sorry I was late for seeing a friend,' she replied. The Policeman was so flabbergasted that he let her go.

And I? Well I not only follow in the family tradition, but exceed it eightfold. I've had seventeen car crashes. In sixteen I was a passenger. Now I seem to have developed a sixth sense, before a driver has turned the key, as to how competent he or she is. If they are not, I cannot face making a scene and say nothing. I just suffer a white knuckle ride, gripping onto the seat handles. It is the English side of me I cannot abide. Stiff upper lip. Don't make a scene and all that, when any sane person would have unbuckled their belt, leapt out the car and started walking along the pavement.

But the biscuit was taken by a relative who was a notoriously bad driver. At three o'clock in the morning in London, stone cold sober, he had a vicious accident. There were only him and the other car on the road, but at a set of traffic lights he misjudged the speed of the oncoming car and tried to cut across in front of the other car. He hit the car with such force and catapulted it into the railings, which were demolished and sent crashing through the basement flat window.

Miraculously no one was hurt. The person who owned the flat came upstairs in his pyjamas to see what had happened.

'I'm very sorry about your railings and window,' said my relative as cheerfully as he could muster.

'No problem, mate,' he replied. 'Just a pity me wife wasn't in there. She sleeps in the back.'

Every cloud has a ....

1 comment:

  1. Just had to remove the tea from my keyboard as I spluttered through the punchline!