I haven’t been very vocal about my current situation on social media, because if I’m honest- I’m pretty embarrassed and nervous about it.
I worked my socks off and spent a fortune learning to drive from June-Septmember this year. I was determined that I’d pass before my first university term started, and I was a week out. I had my first test and was practically faultless- I failed because I was overly cautious and didn’t feel safe overtaking a cyclist on a busy road. I felt like the cyclist, other passers by and my own life were more important than rushing to overtake (the Highway Code states you should only overtake if it is totally necessary). However my examiner felt like I should have had the confidence to perform the manoeuvre.
I was in bits when I discovered I hadn’t passed- but I booked another test for 13 days time and I practised as much as I could. And when the date came I aced it- I passed beautifully with (I think?) 3 minors. One for being 2mph over the speed limit, the second for stopping at an amber traffic light and the last one for a bumpy move off. But I was chuffed as anything.
My family helped me to buy my plum Peugeot and I felt like a total grown up, I drove my Dad over to the ferry terminal that night and said goodbye (Mum followed with the family in her car and drove home after) and he was so proud of me. I drove off the ferry on the other side and eagerly picked Jack up before we drove home together.
Skip forwards three weeks and everything was perfect, my parking, consistent speeds, timing- the works. I felt fully fledged. I allowed myself well over an hour and half to drive from Southampton to Portsmouth for my 3pm lecture, Jack in tow. We enjoyed the motorway journey- singing away to Ben Howard.
My Mum’s parting words to me that Monday I drove onto the ferry after passing were “I love you to pieces and I’m so incredibly proud of you. But please remember better late than dead”.
We arrived in Portsmouth in due time, around 2.20pm as we pulled onto Park Lane and drove towards the traffic lights I popped my indicator on to turn right. I put my hand break on at the lights and waited. The lights turned green. It was a yellow box zone, and I patiently gave way to oncoming traffic (as you should) I pulled out into the yellow box and I began my right turn into Burnaby road.
At under 10mph still in 1st gear you smashed into me. You forced my car to crumple- the bumper flat out. You span my partner and me round so hard we smashed our heads off of the sides of the car and were forced forwards into the airbags. We did a full 180 degree U-turn and ended up back where we had driven from, but on the wrong side of the road.
My ears were ringing and my chin felt like I’d hit a brick wall. The engine had been forced that far back it had crumpled and I was left with the steering wheel jammed so hard into my knees they almost instantaneously went black and blue. The doors would barely open, I couldn’t even think about Jack’s safety, let alone my own. We had to ram the useless and gnarled metal so hard it cut my knuckles, you’re lucky that was the only blood split. I’ve been told that if you’d have hit me head on, my chances of walking away, and Jack’s chances of walking away; would have been incredibly slim.
You deserved the abuse I shouted at you after I had finally gotten out the smoking heap of expensive metal crashed out behind me. I screamed at you until my chest seized up and my first panic attack set in. You came out of nowhere, sped up at the last minute and forced me off of the road, not only endangering your own life selfishly; but mine, Jack’s and the dozens of innocent students walking past on their way to lectures. You were incredibly lucky that no one was hurt- I would have never have forgiven myself, let alone you.
The embarrassment that crept over me as the police pulled up and routinely breathalysed me before they turned to you. But I was the newer, younger driver; I was on the pedestal because the general saying is “with age comes wisdom”. I guess they forgot to include arrogance and ignorance with it. With reference back to the fact that I failed my first test for being a safe and cautious driver I know hand on heart I would never endanger anyone else on the road, let alone my partner or my own life. It’s 12 hours bottle to throttle and I stick to all the rules. I bet you prayed your socks off that my reading wouldn’t be a clean zero, I was in bits about my dream car being in bits. And you had the front to declare “my car was brand new too!”
Perhaps if you hadn’t been doing well over 30mph turning into a 20mph student zone, neither of us would have had our Monday’s rocked by this incident.
I believe that this car accident will definitely affect the way I drive now, I’m going to be a million times more cautious and I’m never going to disrespect the rules of the road. I’d rather suffer abuse from road users for being slower in dangerous areas, and I’d rather know that the people I love are safe and won’t be harmed whilst I am driving.
Oh and full disclaimer- I’d never buy a Peugot 107 ever again. 2/3 star safety rating and very prone to crumpling! My dream first car, turned into a nightmare.
But I’m grateful. I’m so very grateful that Jack and I walked away with our lives, with our futures. And that no one was seriously injured.
P.S Jack thinks he’s indestructible now. Well done.