I have only had one car accident (touch wood, cross fingers and throw salt over my shoulder).
Eight years ago (why do so many stories start that way?) I was heading to netball training. I was driving down one of those delightful Melbourne streets with trams running down the centre lane. A street with parallel parking on the left. A street in which the lanes are too narrow to begin with, and then seem to narrow even more at tram stops.
I was cruising along in the left lane. There was a stream of cars beside me in the right lane, and a tram ding-a-linging beside them.
Approximately three car lengths in front of me, someone in a parked car opened the driver’s side door. Directly into my lane of traffic.
Time seemed to slow right down. Anyone who has been in or witnessed an accident will know what I mean. The crash happened almost instantly, yet I had all the time in the world to consider and dismiss pretty much every option available to me.
I couldn’t swing left, because I’d crash into the back of the car anyway. I couldn’t swing right, because I’d crash into the car to the right of me, or cause them to swing into the tram stop.
I couldn’t hit the ‘fly’ feature on the car, because it didn’t have one. (And why not? According to the documentary Grease, cars could fly back in the 1950s!) I couldn’t wake up, because it wasn’t a dream. I couldn’t take the red pill, because I wasn’t plugged into the matrix. (Or was I? AM I?!)
So I crashed into the door. Thank goodness there was no car behind me, because the car door had not fully opened into my lane. Instead of knocking the door clean off the car and then coming to a stop, my car wrapped itself around the door.
The car (and therefore I) went from 55kph to 0kph in a second.
Fun and hijinks ensued. Highs and lows. I went from feeling crushing fear that I’d hurt someone to relief that she hadn’t been still holding the door to rage that she’d caused the accident to sooky-la-la-ness in a matter of seconds. I sobbed and blubbed. I ached. I spent a few months going to a physiotherapist, and had a very memorable appointment with a chiropractor. I had a week off work, and a few months off netball. My car was written off, the car door having impaled the engine (and my car having been worth next to nothing in the first place).
The lady who had opened the car door denied having done so, claiming I’d simply crashed into her car. When that was disproved, she then claimed that I’d been on my mobile at the time of the accident. When that was disproved, and she received a carefully worded letter from a friend of my husband’s who happens to be a QC, she finally admitted culpability.
So I can put my hand on my heart and state that my first – and only – car accident was not my fault. NOT MY FAULT.
And now, whenever I drive down that particular street, I stay in the right lane.
No. Matter. What.
Have you ever been in a car accident?
Linking up with Kerri Sackville’s Life and Other Crises for #MyFirst… Car Accident. Thanks for hosting us, Kerri!