Saturday, 21 September 2013

Like being hit by a truck. Literally.

Quite often when I read or hear fellow cancer patience or survivors worrying about cancer coming back and ending their lives, I think to myself that yes, we have/had cancer and yes, it could kill us, but so could a car accident, so there's no point in wasting time worrying about it. Well, yesterday I was violently reminded of this fact when driving along the freeway, the same freeway I take every time I go to the hospital.

It was 8:15 in the morning and little birdie and I were driving to my sisters house as we do every Friday, when all of a sudden, i heard a crash and lost control of my car. I looked to my right and saw the grill of a truck a second before it hit me. As it did my head hit the window. Next I saw cars coming towards me as my car was spinning around. I remember thinking 'turn into the skid', something my dad has always told me, so that was exactly what i did. I managed to get control of the car and pulled into the emergency lane next to the median strip. I grabbed my phone, dialled emergency, and turned to see little birdie happily playing in her car seat as if nothing had happened.

I had no idea where the truck went or exactly what happened but was lucky enough that another truck driver who witnessed the whole thing pulled over immediately and ran across three lanes of traffic to make sure I was ok. He entertained little birdie while we waited for the ambulance and police and was able to tell us what he had seen. Apparently the truck had clipped my bumper, spun my car around in front of his, slammed into me and pushed my car along the freeway for 10-20 meters before I spun around away from the truck and eventually pulled over. The truck hadn't stopped or even slowed down so this all happened at 110k/hr. He couldn't believe that little birdie and I were unharmed, that my car wasn't crushed, and that i had managed to get control of the car and pull over, he even asked if i had taken a defensive driving course. He also told me that if I had put my breaks on the truck would have gone over the top of me. The whole right hand side of my car was damaged, but I was able to easily open my door and get out. The left had side, where little birdie was, was untouched. The paramedics arrived first but were concerned that we were in a dangerous spot being in the middle of the freeway so they put us in the ambulance to drive to the other side of the road where it was safer. This was the first time that little birdie got upset. She cried and said 'I don't want to go in the ambulance, I want to go to my cousins'. Soon after, the police arrived. While the paramedics checked little birdie and I out the police got a statement from the witness. Little Birdie and I were fine and the policeman came back to speak to us. He told me that from what the witness had told him we were lucky to be alive. He said he had seen a lot worse from a lot less. He organised for my car to be towed and said it was still unsafe to stay where we were so organised for the ambulance to drop us at my sisters and said he would come see me later in the day to get my statement. He also told me that they had found the driver a few suburbs away.

The police came to see me later in the day. He started to tell me that he spoke to the truck driver who seemed to be a 'good guy' with a clean driving record, before stopping himself and saying he needed to get my statement first. He asked me to tell him in my own word what had happened. Next he had some more specific questions that he had to ask me, based on the other drivers statement, which I could refuse to answer if I wished. He started asking me if I remembered seeing a red car, if i had overtaken the red car, if I remembered seeing the truck, if i had tried to over take the truck, and I began worrying that the truck driver had tried to say it was my fault. After I finished answering his questions he told me what the other driver had said. To my relief he hadn't said I had done anything wrong. He hadn't even seen my car. He told the police that he had overtaken the red car himself and shortly after had felt a small bump. He looked in his mirror to see if he had hit something but there was nothing there (that would be because my car was being pushed along in front of him), and the next time he looked in his mirror he saw my car spinning away from him. He did pull over at the end of the freeway and called the accident in, but at that point I hadn't reported it so he was told to keep driving. Because neither of us know exactly what caused the accident, and neither did the witness, he won't be charged and the police report will be inconclusive, which could effect my insurance claim but I'm not going to worry about that right now.

I've replayed the accident in my head constantly since it happened. Flashes of it are extremely vivid. The noise of the truck hitting my car. Its shiny grill coming towards me. The sound of my head hitting the window. The cars coming towards me. Then little birdies blissfully innocent face when it was all over. I may be having a pretty spectacular run of misfortune this year, cancer, the pregnancy, my husbands seizure, being hit by a fucking truck! But I'm also extremely lucky. What would have happened if I had had my window open. What if an airbag had deployed. What if i hadn't been able to gain control of the car. What if little birdie had undone her carseat belt before the accident? I have to stop myself there.

I won't know what's happening to my car until next week. It is apparently borderline so it could be written off but for now I couldn't care less. I just know that little birdie and I are extremely lucky to be sitting at home with my wonderful husband, so I'm not going to worry about anything else.

Little birdie asleep on her daddy at the end of the day


  1. That was such a harrowing experience! That moment when you saw the grill of the truck tor your right must have been terrifying. You’re lucky that nothing bad happened to the two of you inside the car! We can forget about the car. What's important is that you’re safe.

    Oliver Duncan

  2. Thanks Oliver. It was pretty terrifying but seems insignificant now.

  3. In an accident, some people get overwhelmed and cannot take control of their car. But you managed to do so and were able to drive it to the emergency lane. In my opinion, it was one of the reasons why your car wasn't crushed and kept both of you safe inside. Anyhow, I hope you've recovered from this traumatic experience, and was back on the road soon after. Drive safely!

    Jaime Mcgee @ Michael's Auto Body and Glass