Max and i have been considering a new car for a little while; ours is a lovely 6 seater Peugeot 806 and i love it but we camp a lot, our children are insisting on lengthening and we can’t really get everything we need to pack under their feet any more. We’d already looked at the next size up of people carrier, decided to wait and then been discussing it more recently too for various other reasons. i did a bit of “out of curiosity” internet shopping last week and thought prices looked more reasonable than we’d previously seen.
Max is always convinced that once i want something, i’ll come up with any excuse to make it happen immediately.
Last weekend i left him with his dad and drove to my parents, after a night with Claire and Charlie. Driving up the M1, it became obvious that the car was shaking rather unreasonably, so when i had dropped the girls with my family, my sister and i went off in search of a garage where a very nice man discovered the tracking was 9.5mm out (normal is apparently about 2mm) and that one tyre was down to the canvas.
He fixed it and we went off, £30 lighter but much less milkshake like.
Then i decided i could smell fuel; it took me 3 days but i eventually convinced Max that i was right (i was) and off it went to a garage.
Last night i nearly forgot to take the kids to ballet, remember, took them, went to work then left slightly earlier than i normally do so i’d be in good time to collect them. Peterborough is a series of dual carriageways built in a diamond around the town;wherever you go, you pretty much always have to negotiate a slip road or 4. From where we live, you can’t get anywhere without going on one. I came down a slip road to join a busy carriageway and did (as i assume everyone does) a quick look back as a first check that nothing horrible was thundering up behind me. Obviously i can’t say for sure, but i don’t have any “oh shit this is going to be tricky” recollections, as far as i know, my quick look back just confirmed i was going to be fine to join the carriageway. I was still level with the triangular hatching but when i looked back, the 3 cars ahead of me were coming to a screeching halt. One definitely gave off a plume of white brake smoke, i assume that was the second car, coming to a halt behind the one who, for no reason i can think of, had lost its nerve joining the road.
I’m a cautious driver, i leave nearly twice the stopping distance of plenty of people but the nature of a slip road really is that a) you are speeding up and b) you have to look in more than one direction. There was no time to do anything other than try to brake and i’d guess i got 2-3 seconds of thinking “shit, shit, shit, i’m going to hit it” with the ABS banging away and other cars coming to a screeching halt around us. I don’t remember thinking of trying to do anything else, though the verge wasn’t an option as it was a drop and i’d have rolled and i suppose, if someone doesn’t pull out, your automatic reaction is that it is because there is something coming, so instinct probably prevented me pulling out around them straight on to the road. If i had, i suspect i’d actually have then hit the culprit, who, having caused everyone to come to a halt, with me smacking into the back of the third car, then did join the road and sped off. 🙄
I’m vaguely amused by the fact that it never occurred to me in those split seconds that i was going to be hurt or that this was a bad situation to be in. I was already deeply, deeply pissed off by the time i hit him. I don’t think i could have done anything else and i’ve racked my brains trying to think if i did anything wrong or missed anything but i absolutely don’t think i did. I think the person who stopped just had a stupid moment and had it not been that it was that moment that i checked over my shoulder, i’d have been able to stop too. It’s funny; you think you make split second decisions while driving all the time, but all i can say is the the 5-10 second decisions you make give you a LOT more time that a 2 or 3 second one. I just didn’t have time to think anything other than ‘try and stop’.
To be fair to him, the man i hit said it was completely the fault of the person ahead of him and that he was surprised i managed to slow down as much as i did. He was driving a Volvo which had not much more than a slight dent in the bumper, but our car lost both headlights, the radiator was obviously cracked, it wouldn’t start and the bumper was shoved down and backwards. The air bag didn’t go off though which surprised (but pleased!) me. Given its age, i doubt they’ll want to repair it 🙁 I love my green car. He didn’t help my state of mind by remarking that his car had a LPG tank in the back and we were lucky not to have exploded! (Hurumph.)
I’m okay; i’ve got a big purple bruise on my shoulder and my front feels like i’ve just given birth, but i’m perfectly content to be alive. I got hit from behind once and the whiplash was horrible; i guess because i was expecting it, i was braced for it. Thank goodness the girls were not in the car, as they’d have all been far more hurt and distressed. I’m mainly 100% pissed off that i will have to take the blame for something someone who gets away scot free caused. I know i hit him, i know that’s the way it works but i really don’t think i could have done anything to avoid it. Not that it was his fault either, he was just lucky that he did stop; he said he only just did. In fact, if i had swerved, i suspect it would just have ended in a far worse accident with several cars involved.
The poor girls were stranded at ballet with no idea what had happened. Max couldn’t get through but luckily Kate was on the road and got to them to let them know what had happened after 40 minutes or so. The dancing staff took care of them till she could take her kids home and go back for them, bless her cotton socks 🙂 The police stayed with me till the recovery people came and i finally got home about 2 1/2 hours later.
All in all…. BAH.