The Dangerous Moment

I’ve been on holiday for a few days, but instead of writing about the good parts of it, unfortunately, due to what happened, I’m going to start at the end.

On our way to our first stop on the Sunday, we were travelling along a stretch of dual carriageway. I was sitting in the back.

We begin to make an overtaking manoeuvre, being in Lane 1, and wanting to get in front of a car ahead, we switch to Lane 2.

I look across to my right, instinctively, and see, arriving at great speed, a car extremely close to us. I shout out “Oh my God” – as I cannot believe what I’m seeing. Our driver realises the danger and starts to veer back into Lane 1, but it is irrelevant.

The speeding car veers to the right to avoid us, but it quickly runs out of ground on its right, and at such speed it loses control. It clips the central reservation, and then swings across both lanes violently, on its side.

It flies into the bushes and trees at the side of the road, landing upside down.

The whole incident is over in one, or maybe two seconds at most. No one can believe what they saw for a second, but we know we must stop and report what we’ve just seen. We stop where it’s next safe.

Our driver is inconsolable, thinking they may be the cause, but they did everything they could right. No one can account for another driver arriving at such pace, way beyond the speed limit, not able to react before the danger arrived due to the speed they were going.

But myself and a fellow passenger know we must report the incident and go back to see what, if anything, we can do. My fellow passenger makes the call, thankfully, as I am so useless at giving locational information, especially as he had the map in front of him too. Then we stroll back up hill to the wreckage.

It takes us longer than we thought, but we find it. A huge gap in bushes and trees at the side of the road. Then an oldish sports car laying at the bottom of it. It’s out of our reach and a bit difficult to get to… so we call out, not expecting to hear anything.

A voice comes back. But what can we do? We are in no position to help, and not experts. We tell him help is on the way.

We wait agonisingly… it’s hard to believe how long it felt, but eventually we spotted the police car rushing over the hill and catch him just in time before he zooms past. He stops and joins us, but there’s not much he can do either but call for more backup.

We go back to wait down the road with the driver. Within a few minutes, an air ambulance lands right next to our car. Just unbelieveable. The sight and the noise would have been awesome to behold in less worrying circumstances.

Eventually we are told that the driver is in a bad way, but nothing critical. We have to wait for a long time to give our statements to the police, but we worry just what will come of all this. The police officer with us is very gentle and thinks there won’t be a problem, but it doesn’t mean much.

We get moving a little afterwards, after watching the air ambulance take off in another moment of magnificent technological wonder.

What concerns me most of all is that life incidents like this are played out at fractions of a percent. Had the driver clipped our car at any point, we’d have all been seriously injured, if not killed. Had the driver been travelling slower, he’d have hit us as he veered across us. Had there been a car nearer in Lane 1 they would have been taken out completely by the errant driver. Had he not clipped the central reservation, or there was just a little more room, he’d have stayed going in a relatively straight line, and would have come out of it unscathed.

Had he not been speeding at all, none of this would have happened.

Incidents like this happen all the time on the roads, and people die every day through careless, reckless and dangerous driving.

But to actually be involved in something like this, for the first time ever in my life, has really worried me. I have no idea if the driver is alive or dead, or whether they will ever recover from the inevitable injuries they will have suffered. They were my only thoughts yesterday, as well as replaying the incident in my mind over and over. And the other concern is that I know full well about the frailties of human memory. I think I have just described what happened above accurately… but I could be wrong.

I just hope the driver is going to be OK. But I don’t think I’ll ever know. That’s a worrying thing to take ahead into the rest of my life.

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