Saturday, August 26, 2006

Bloody Idiot

I nearly killed myself today.

Worse, I nearly killed a complete stranger too.

Driving into Aberystwyth this morning to do the weekly shop, the weather was shite, heavy rain making the roads greasy. Too many things on my mind, I wasn't really paying attention to what I was doing. Well, why should I? I've driven that road a bazillion times. I know it like the back of my hand. That corner there's a tight one, and that one goes on for...OH SHIT I'M GOING TOO FAST FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK.

The key thing in these circumstances is not to panic. So as the back end of the batmobile started to drift outwards on the tight, blind left hand bend, straight towards the oncoming vehicle, I was strangely calm. For a second, which truly felt like a great deal longer, I was resigned to the inevitable crash, waiting for the airbag to blow up in my face and break my nose. I had time to curse my stupidity, to moan about the fact that, at best, I was going to lose my no-claims bonus, built up over almost eleven years of accident-free motoring. I wondered whether the man driving the other car would be angry with me - he had every reason to after all. It was entirely my fault. I hoped that the car about fifty yards further away would have time to stop rather than piling into the wreckage and snapping my now-protruding legs like dry twigs.

And all the while, as my mind was calmly analysing the aftermath of the accident, quite without any conscious input on my part, my hands had already applied opposite lock, and my foot dabbed the accelerator to pull the front of the car back into line. Credit goes to those wonderful engineers at Alfa Romeo for their understanding of front wheel drive geometry and a brilliant traction control programme, too. I must have missed the other car by inches, and avoided spinning off the road and into the murky depths of the upper Rheidol valley by little more. Lady luck was smiling on me this morning, and I thank her for it.

I'm still a bloody idiot for driving too fast in the rain.


Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

I didn't know you could swear. I mean, you've discussed the relative merits of swear words in a rather detached fashion, but you actually swore.

Stuart's a bad influence.

August 29, 2006 3:33 am  
Blogger JamesO said...

Blame Stuart for many things, Sandra, but not that;}#

August 29, 2006 11:02 am  
Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

Oh? What can I blame him for? :)

August 29, 2006 6:11 pm  
Blogger Gabriele C. said...

That reminds me of the day I managed to kill the car in the middle of a crossing with no traffic lights (I'm used to automatic but that day had a gearshif one). There I stood and that big fat truck was aiming right at my side. It was the same as for you, a protracted second of utter calm, like ok, that's it, the big boy will hit me and there won't be much left of either me or the car. No fear at all.

Fortunately, the truck managed to jam to a stop in time and I got that gearshift thingie sorted out.

August 29, 2006 7:25 pm  

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