My sister was in a car accident a few weeks ago. She’s ok, but was pretty shaken up at the time. She was waiting at traffic lights in a nearby town when she saw a car approaching in the mirror. She watched it come a long way down the road towards her, and she realised it wasn’t slowing down. Being in a queue, there wasn’t anywhere she could go, and there wasn’t time to reverse and get out of the way. The car crashed into the back of her at 15-20mph. She called her boyfriend, who came straight out. The other car was a write-off, its bonnet completely crumpled. Jane’s had a major dent in the back, but was still drivable. She went to hospital and was checked over. They took some x-rays of her neck but pronounced her ok to go home.
I heard about this the same evening, directly from Jane over MSN, so knew she couldn’t be too badly hurt. I then realised that Megan would have been in the car, and it turned out she was in the boot. Happily she was unharmed – the other car crumpled far more than Jane’s was compressed – and Meg, being the big lump that she is, must have simply bounced around. Meg’s been fine ever since, but Jane’s had problems. A week after the accident she received a phone call from the hospital to say that they’d re-examined her x-rays and wanted her to come back in for a check-up. She said that her neck had been hurting a fair bit, and they put a consultant on the line who, after a couple of questions, told her to come in immediately. She was then diagnosed with a fractured neck, and the poor thing’s been in a hard neck brace ever since. Despite only being allowed to take it off for showers, and developing a nasty cold in the meantime, she’s coping remarkably well, and they should be able to swap it for a soft brace next week sometime.
The car, incidentally, developed a crack down the front windscreen a few days later, and for a while we thought it would be written off. The garage managed to repair it, however.
I haven’t mentioned this before because I was worried she wouldn’t want everybody to know, but I don’t think she’ll mind now. The reason I bring it up is that I thought I was going to have a similar accident this evening. I was in the same town, waiting at the next set of traffic lights. It was about 2320, so there wasn’t much traffic around. The lights went green and I pulled away. I remember seeing a pair of headlights round the corner maybe 150m behind me. I was maybe ten metres further on, glanced in the mirror again, and saw that this car was almost at the junction I just crossed. I’ve never seen anybody going so fast around there. I wasn’t too worried as the road was straight and there were no other cars, so there was plenty of room to overtake. Except, it didn’t. I watched it roar up behind me and finally swerved to the left into a (very) happily-placed drive entrance. The car must have pulled out at the last possible moment, and it can’t have missed me by much. I half expected a police car to appear, but one didn’t. I’ve never been approached at that speed before, but the whole thing was over so fast that everything was instinctive and it wasn’t until afterwards I started to think about it.
Some days, I really hate driving. The sooner we get Minority Report style transport systems the better.