Sunday, 18 January 2009


As I drove over the roundabout, I saw flashing blue lights going down the Coast Road underneath at quite some speed.

'Flashies,' said D. 'Wonder what's happened.'

I took the slip road onto the Coast Road. Just before I joined the road itself, I noticed that the blue lights had slowed considerably or stopped and that a couple of cars not far ahead, while still moving, had their hazard lights on. 'Something's wrong,' I said. I could see cars coming up fast in my mirror so I switched my hazard lights on too and they slowed down. I stayed in the inside lane and kept my speed to about 30mph (the limit there is 70).

Before we got to the incident, I became aware of a car in the outside lane going at at least 70mph, probably more like 80 or 85.

In the dark.

Towards the back of the stationary police car.

It realised there was something going on just in time and braked, just about managing to get into my lane in front of me and carrying on.

The policeman was out of the car anyway and running towards some stationary cars ahead.

As we passed the police car, we saw a fox - a HUGE fox - lying in the road. A car at right angles to the road, its bonnet caved in. Two men standing on the side of the road, not looking as shaken as I would've had it been me. Another car, further forward; I'm not sure if that was involved or if it just stopped because it'd seen the accident.

It didn't look to have been too bad an accident, considering. It could have been a lot worse, if it hadn't been Sunday night. At rush hour, that would have been a multiple-car pile up (stopping distances don't seem to exist while driving to work on the Coast Road on a weekday morning).

But I can't help but wonder. If you're driving along a dual carriageway in the dark - and a police car passes you at speed - and then there are blue lights, not moving, in front of you - and all the cars around have their hazard warning lights on -

at what point DON'T you think 'hmmm, maybe something's wrong. Maybe I'd better slow down.'

If he'd slowed five seconds later, he wouldn't have stopped in time.

He might have swerved into me.

I'm not saying I'm a great driver; I'm not. Sometimes I'm impatient. Sometimes I'm careless. Everyone is. But I always make an effort to be a safe driver. I watch the road well ahead for possible risks. I use my hazard lights to warn other drivers of possible dangers. If I'm not sure what's going on, I slow down.

Some days I really bug D by telling him cars ahead are slowing down or have stopped. But I'd rather tell him when he might not have noticed than risk us having a crash.

I'm glad we're both OK and that the situation didn't get any worse. I was scared for a minute there.


Janette Jones said...

The roads are full of idiots these days. I pulled over for an ambulance the other day, as did the woman in front of me. The ambulance past and the woman did nothing more than follow it up the road, ignoring all the other cars that had pulled to one side to allow it to go past. She obviously thought that the ambulance was creating a gap for her to move quicker through the traffic!

SpiralSkies said...

I'm glad you're both ok too! People really can be divs when driving - now and again, I used to be too. But once you've had a deer leap out of a hedge and total your car, you're a bit more granny-ish and vigilant behind the wheel, I can tell you that!!!

Michelle said...

I'm glad it wasn't a more serious accident and that you missed one yourself. I've only started driving (after many years with a license) and these were the things that scared me into not driving before!

Leigh said...

The 'what ifs' are always scary.
But going slowly leaves you with options... options for getting out of a situation alive. You're a smart girl.
Glad you're okay.

Mosher said...

Tailgating ambulances as JJ posted is illegal. I've heard of people being cautioned and/or convicted for it.

As for crashes... check out my Travel Blog post tomorrow. Not had a chance to write stuff up yet, but all the details should be up there by late afternoon.

B said...

Janette, some people are unbelievable.

Jen, I had a deer nearly run into my car once. I was terrified. Weird thing was, although I was on a country road, it was only just round the corner from the Metro Centre. I had always thought before that the sign meant further up the road than where I had the encounter!

Thanks Michelle. Thing to remember is that these things are rare, and near-misses much more common than actual hits. And by driving defensively you can minimise your chances even more.

Thanks Leigh. I'm glad I'm OK too :)

Mosher, too bloody right! Hope you're OK... although I guess you're not at death's door if you're commenting on blogs....

Mosher said...

Nope, I'm fine. And was amazingly unfazed by the whole thing. Which will be detailed on my blog *tomorrow* evening. Sorry. Ran out of time today!

trousers said...

You can be the safest driver in the world, and not make a single error or lapse of judgment or concentration...but when there's others about, idiots like the ones you describe, who seem to be in their own bubble, utterly unaware of what's going on around them - that's the most dangerous thing.

I may sound like a fogey if I say something along the lines of you seem to see it a lot more often these days - well I'm happy to sound like that.

Anyway, thank goodness, no harm done.

B said...

All too true trew(s). And yes, I'm glad all is well :)