On Sunday I crashed my car. I was heading Southbound down the A1 when a rear tyre blew out, I lost control, bounced off the side of a box van then spun round 180 degrees into the centre of the road and came to rest in the central reservation facing against the traffic. I sat in the drivers seat for a moment, then got out of the car and walked away. I’ve been lucky. I’ve been so incredibly lucky I don’t want to think about it.
I don’t really know how much I even want to write about it. I’m not going to write about it on facebook, or try to put any kind of morality on it, there’s just a bit of me that wants to get it off my chest, so I’m writing about it here, on my own blog.
I remember a loud bang, and the swerving, losing control and swearing. Radio 4 was on. It was about half three. There’s nothing I could really do, it all just happened. I think I must have done something like a question mark shape on the road as I spun around. I can recall the small side passenger window smashing and the windscreen cracking and facing the other way, and seeing other cars, but nothing came into contact with me and then I slammed in to the central reservation and stopped. I got out. I wandered up and down a bit. Just looking really. Trying to take in what had happened. My boot had come open and the contents of the weekends camping trip were strewn across the road. Cars came to a stop. Some nice people stopped. We collected my stuff from in the road. One man called the police to report the incident. I went over to the grass verge and the other cars moved on.
The guy I’d hit was from Ireland. He’d seen me coming after hearing the bang and managed to keep control as I went into the side of him. He was ok, and with friends. He was really chilled out about the whole thing. More so than me. The police came and took my details. I did a breathalyser test. We swapped details and the Irish guy left, then I sat in the police car and answered some questions while we waiting for a guy to tow my smashed up car away.
The policeman went to talk to the recovery guy. It slowly hit home. I had a shock. ‘In the lap of the gods’ ‘fate’ ‘the laws of probably’ whatever bollocks you want to call it. A terrible situation of cause and effect where you have no control and so many things could have happened. Earlier that day I was in the Lakes driving Honister pass, but I’m not going to play ‘what if’ in my head, that would be a really stupid way to create anxiety about things that have not happened instead of dealing with the reality of what did and what has. As I write it a couple of days later, now dealing with insurance claims and long phone calls and a fuzzy space at the back of my head where the big scary thoughts are that will dull with time.
My beautiful wife is in another country. My dad and brother get me home to Manchester. My mum and sister call. They are all awesome.
I understand with crystal clarity that not everyone walks away from a car crash. I’m lucky happy and grateful to the higher powers that look down, abstract mathematical probability and the drivers on the A1 at mile point 93/9 near junction 49, Dishforth at who that specific moment in time had the presence of mind to avoid, help or just pass by without incident.