Jun 01

On Sunday night at about 11.30pm I was driving home with my (soon to be) missus after going out to the cinema to see X-Men 3 (quick review – good, but not as good as the previous film). It was a quiet, still night, very mild, and I was driving along with the window down to try to get some air moving in the car. We didn’t have much else for the night planned: we were both pretty bushed, and I think about the only thing we had in mind was some time in front of the TV. Chilling out, maybe grabbing a late snack, that sort of thing. Not the Monte Carlo lifestyle I admit, but good enough for me. I pulled up at a junction and waited my turn to move onto the road. That was when time slowed down and I noticed the car screaming towards the back of my car at high speed.

I always thought it was a load of bunkum when I read that in stories about accidents or emergencies: people saying that time, or at least their perception of it, slowed down dramatically. Imagine my surprise to find that it’s actually quite true. In slow motion I heard the car’s tyres screech and I saw him vainly try to turn. Not a hope in hell at that speed. With sickening inevitability and an oddly muted crunch, he slammed right into the back of my car. I don’t remember much about the few seconds we had before the hit, but my better half tells me I shouted out a warning to her and then braced myself. I’ll need to take her word for it – I remember noticing the car, I remember things slowing down as my brain crunched the rough numbers, and then I remember the car coming to a halt after being shunted forward about 10-15 feet. The middle bit, all I can remember is the sound and the feeling of my car seat suddenly trying to touch the dashboard via my spinal column.

I was shocked at what had happened, but relieved beyond words to see that my other half was ok. I heard the other guy’s engine start up and thought he must be moving his car out of the way of the traffic so we could exchange details. I turned in my seat, just in time to watch him speed up, turn his dented car and drive off at high speed up the wrong side of the road.

Now the crash itself I can handle. The fact that we were both ok is what’s important to me – cars can be beaten back into shape or replaced outright, people can’t. What I’m finding a little difficult to process is the fact that as far as the other guy was concerned we could have been alive, dead, injured, screaming for help, trapped in a car with a ruptured fuel tank, anything. He didn’t care – he got the hell out of dodge and that was it. And while I’m happy that we both got out of the car with nothing more serious than a few sore joints and muscles, and am sure my car will be back on the road pretty soon, my mind keeps going back to the image of that other car speeding away.

Like I said, it’s a difficult thing to process.

2 Responses to “Dented”

  1. MCF Says:

    Holy crap, that’s messed up. Thank God you weren’t hurt! What an @$$hole driving off–did you see plates or at least a description of the vehicle?

    The two accidents I was in a few years ago, one where a minivan rammed my dad’s car at an intersection and spun us around, and the other where I was stopped at a light and a girl rear ended me, the people stuck around. The guy that hit my dad was sheepish but his wife came out YELLING at US that my dad ran a stop sign which he totally didn’t–there was no one in sight and they only clipped us because they were speeding through a residential area. The girl who hit me was more nervous than anything else and had never been in an accident, and I had to calm her down and walk her through the process of exchanging insurance info. Her car got the brunt of it, and her insurance covered my bumper. My dad’s car, sadly, was worthless after its accident. Miracle we survived that one really. It was exactly how you said, time slowing down. I remember shouting a warning that this van wasn’t slowing down, seeing it bearing down on me as my dad sped up, and then when it clipped our trunk I looked over at my dad gripping the wheel in determination and everything INSIDE the car seemed frozen even as everything outside the windows was a blur. And then we were facing the opposite direction, the intersection we had just crossed. There’s probably some physics explanation for the phenomenon.

    I digress. Your jerk probably was drinking, or had a license revoked, or had some criminal record, or panicked, which always makes it worse. Hope you find the guy….

  2. Otis Says:

    I’m new to reading your blog but ouch! I hope you caught that guy and wish you both a speedy recovery.

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