It's fair to say I feel a little lucky sitting hear today, having endured my first ever road traffic accident (as a driver) yesterday. The experience taught me a few things, firstly that cars are bloody dangerous pieces of kit, and should be give more respect than I probably have done in the past.
Secondly that all those people who say that these type of events occur as if in slow motion are absolutely right. It seemed to take an age between me realising that I had lost control and coming to a halt in a hedge across the other side of the road, whereas in reality it was probably not much more than a couple of seconds. But I went through about eight different processes during that time, the last one being, "Oh shit, here it comes."
But I was lucky, and everyone should have the same luck, and I would offer three pieces of advice.
- If you're going to crash, do it while you are driving slowly. I was coming round a bend at the top of a steep hill, and although I don't know what speed I was going, I know the car isn't capable of going up hills like that very fast, so it was almost certainly under 30mph.
- Do it on a quiet road. If anything had been on the other side of the carriageway as I careered across, at the wheel but nothing more than a passenger, it would not have ended so benignly.
- Finish up in a hedge. I slid sideways into a hedge, which spread the impact across the driver's side of the car rather than all head on. A tree or a wall would not have been so easygoing.
I had my piece of luck yesterday, but the good lady deserted Marquise Hill, the New England Patriot defensive end who lost his life over the weekend following a jet-skiing accident in Lake Pontchartrain in his home state of Louisiana. He left a fiancee and infant son and a terrible reminder of just how fragile life is.
By all accounts, Hill was a model teammate and much-liked individual who made his own unique contribution to the Patriots recent success, and he will be much missed. He is also reported to have died after selflessly ensuring his companion's safety.
Like the rest of Patriot Nation, my thoughts and condolences are with Marquise's family as they try to come to terms with their tragedy. May he rest in peace.