Just after eight o'clock I set off for my kinesitherapy appointment. Just as I was approaching a blind corner an Audi travelling like the proverbial bat out of hell overtook me. Next thing I saw was the orange colour of one of the cantonal garden service trucks oncoming. Then I heard a screech, bang with metal and glass cascading in the air. An aged Peugot then slammed into the back of the truck.

It was all in the blinking of an eye but seemed like slow motion as it actually happened. The windscreen of the Audi was shattered, the front of it clearly wrecked and the bonnet was up and crumpled like a tissue, the truck looked pretty badly damaged, the Peugot probably finally had its last outing given it had gone under the tail of the truck.

I had obviously slowed down, just enough to be able to stop had one of the vehicles gone across the road or blocked it. I saw the Audi driver jammed in behind an airbag, the two men in the truck looking dazed and the woman in the Peugot looking like she was about to go on the warpath. I know I should have stopped, called the Samu and gendarmes but it would have cost me the physio which I need very much and my therapist is away for two weeks as of this afternoon as it is. There was somebody else oncoming behind me by then so I skedaddled. When I had a straight stretch I did not see the car behind, so felt a bit less guilty.

I have been waiting for something like that to happen on one of the local blind corners since coming here. That was the first one I have actually seen. Passing earlier 'wrecks' is not exactly unusual. Nonetheless, as prepared as I have been to actually see it happen is very scary to say the least and I actually think it is the adrenaline burst that makes it all seem like slow motion and then prompted me to scarper.

Well it wouldn't be the first time that I've pulled cars out of the ditch on my bit of road. I'm like the "drop in vic'll pull yer out" service around here.

At least it was a, pretty much, victimless accident: no death or serious injury, I don’t expect there will be an insurance claim and the Gendarmes don’t get the paperwork. As for the boys, lets hope they’ve lived-to-learn.

Far better than the young loony that passed the last place we lived. The scream of a big bike on full throttle at 2.30am woke Elinor up and made me rush outdoors to look - because it was followed a ½ second later by a loud thud, then a softer one.

In short, this lad went past at about 200kph - I kid you not - through the red lights in a 50 zone, and hit a car emerging from the side street by the Mairie. The young woman in the car was lucky that he hit the side of the engine compartment; a hundredth of a second further out and the bike would have sat in her lap.

The young man - not so lucky: scraper needed.

Perhaps we ought to put up a “black spot” sign where we live. Perhaps you too, Catharine. ◈

We've had several of those opposite us Kent - (we live on a bad bend) and there was one last summer where all involved (including the neighbours whose garden the car landed in and the guy who turned up with the tractor), were pissed.

Made for entertaining viewing at 3 am!

Hilarious Mike! The vast majority of cars in this part of the world are too old for most museums. Airbags, hahahaha... Then all the communications blind spots all over the place where no wifi or mobile signal works. New cars might have them one day but then I just looked out of the window as a flock of pigs flew past.

As for local people having the crashed car away before the emergency services arrive, even with automatic systems. I know who I would place my money on.

I have been told that new cars are soon to be fitted with an automatic system to call the emergency services when the air-bags deploy. That will stop people making informal recovery arrangements to avoid explaining their behavior to les gendames! But it could also save some lives.......

It sounds a bit like my two friends' attitude last night. Easy to believe even without the pictures.

Two weeks ago today we were at home in the evening with the TV and laptops on when we heard some racket outside. My wife asked, “What was that? Did you hear it?” I responded that it was probably a big, clunky tractor and trailer; about the only things that pass in our little, single track road. However, a moment later, we noticed that the internet had died. It had been very windy so I reasoned that the cable may have come down and went out with a torch to look.

Cable OK - but upside-down car rear lights 100m up the road.

Our phone and internet services had been wiped out by a small car that had completely lost it in zooming past our house, somehow leaving the road, catching in the ditch, taking out the telegraph pole and summersaulting for 40m to end up on its roof.

I was first on the scene and encountered two very dazed young men with some cuts to their hands and a small cut to the head on one of them. I asked them if they had any other injuries and checked that the head wound was no more than a superficial glass cut, and asked them if they would like to come back to our place to clean up and recover. I did ask if they’d been drinking and if they were going too fast, to which they answered in the negative - well, you would, I guess. I’d say that they weren’t pissed: no signs of that, but they must have been moving a bit to mangle the telegraph pole like that.

We put warning triangles out fore and aft. Herself then ran one of them home, only 1½km away to get assistance.

A short while later, the mother of one and the father of the other arrived. The man went off for a few minutes and returned followed by a monster 4x4 tractor with a big, bitey bale grabber on the front. It drove into the ditch and had no problem munching the car in its giant jaws. Then it was gone into the night.

Half of the hamlet was out in street-party mode by this time. We supplied some brooms to sweep the broken glass up, collected our triangles and that was that.

I don’t know if anyone informed the “authorities” as such, in fact, I doubt it - better, in their eyes to forget the car and put it down to experience rather than the mega hassle it would have, otherwise, involved - plus a massive hike in insurance premiums for the young driver: 3k€ ish. I’m sure the two guys were completely freaked out by the experience and, hopefully, learned from it.

Fortunately, miraculously and unbelievably the pair that were in the car escaped with only a few cuts to their hands and faces; nothing of any consequence. It all speaks very well of air bags and seat belts.

The twisted piece of metal in the ditch is the remains of the telegraph pole. We got the phone and the internet back some 2½ days later.

Nobody has been around to ask nuffin about nuffin...

In that situation I have paused & shouted "Vous avez besoin d'aide?".


The point of my story was that once the onlookers realized that the only injury was to the idiot's pride, nobody felt inclined to stop and help him get his car out of the field. Even in Essex, we would help if someone was hurt.

Cate, 1000 out of 1000 (must get my temperature taken ;-) ) for being spot on. I mentioned the man's status because on other issues he is very 'righteous' and this one shook me a tad.

Reality beckons.I have to go shopping, especially collect my new reading glasses because I have several new bedtime books :-). Then the sun is shining, so potager calls. Have a very good weekend Cate and thanks!

Sorry, Peter your comment is far too 'disconnected' from Norman's so I misunderstood despite reading both. I also agree with the last point and have repeatedly said so in effect.

Interestingly, because I am 'home alone' a couple of neighbours called in yesterday evening (to drink my malt mainly I suspect) and talked about this, their attitude is not to stop because of all the bother it causes, especially if it is serious and statements and restatements are called for, visits to the gendarmerie to sign statements, talking to insurance companies and sometimes needing to go to court. So apart from the 'inconvenience' of stopping, checking and then waiting for the emergency services they believe that driving on is best, even if there is a fatality. I said I felt that was wrong and was told that one of the problems with the British is that we are far to 'compassionate'. I thoroughly disagreed but got that kind of smile where people disagree but have nothing further to say. One of the two is a council member and is supposedly an exemplary member of the community. I said I was wrong and felt bad about it, both made Gallic shrugs and had another drink.

Please, if you take the trouble to read Norman Clarks message you will see the following "...on a motorway just outside Carcassonne..."

There was no reason whatsoever to NOT report the potentailly fatal incident, even if the perpetrator was a 'nutter' !

Nowadays there is very little excuse (even 30kms from Bergerac) to not keep in some kind of contact with the emergency services - just imagine how much easier life would have been if we had been blessed with mobile phones in our younger days...

I beg your pardon! There are no emergency phones here. If I do the 30km or so into Bergerac there is not one visible on the way. Because I only do that drive as it is my pain threshold limit nowadays, I have looked out for them in case I needed to stop and I failed to get emergency services on my mobile. Or do you mean on motorways and others such as arterial roads, which is where they are there as you say, but far from here nonetheless.

No reason not to report it at least as an emergency telephone can be found at every kilometre or so.

No such thing as very British, plus the fact I am more influenced by driving on continental Europe and in the southern hemisphere than on British roads which I consider no different to others where distances are greater and driving tiredness and stress far more of an issue. For years I used to drive Cambridge to Berlin and back with the stretch from Hoek van Holland to Berlin being pretty gruelling motorway. It allowed me to drive very fast, not as fast as others though and learn judgement. As I said earlier in the thread I had first aid with basic fire and rescue training because it seemed like a good idea for work. That drummed the fact we have to stop and assist, I know the procedure to follow, even for your 'idiot' which I have admitted I got wrong because I did not stop. I, unlike far too many people, am saying I was in the wrong. How British is that? Or not? Apart from that, since my 1966 driving lessons I have had one accident when somebody oncoming too fast hit me from behind when I was pulling out on a 'clear' road, he having shot round a corner and put his foot down instead of stopping and looking for other traffic.

The story you tell is nothing like what happened on Thursday anyway.

Hi Julian, thanks for the explanation, and of course I accept it as being my misinterpretation of what was being said.

My own experiences of accidents are mercifully small, but I have to say that overall in times of stress one's world does get very compressed and personal, and you don't get into the wider picture of morality, law etc., until as Brian says - somewhat later. It is a known and recorded fact in a lot of 'hit and run' cases, where shock rules and everything else gets thrown out of the window. We all, including me, immediately turn on the driver, who in many cases was at fault and I assume did know what he or she was doing but that is possibly beyond this discussion.

However I was reminded by my wife of a situation a few years ago on a motorway just outside Carcassonne, where she and her sister were 'tail-gated' by someone even though she was driving on the inside lane. It can be very annoying but to them also frightening. For some reason the folllowing driver lost control of his car and swerved onto the verge and flipped over. Now, she didn't stop and quite shaken carried on, thinking to report it to the police but it WAS on a Motorway, and as ever she didn't find anywhere to go and report it, so finally arrived home some few hours later - obviously still troubled. Being a Motorway it is possible even probable that the issue was recorded on camera somewhere, but she never heard anymore about it. Presumably the issue was clear and the gendarmes sorted it - or what, I have no idea. To be honest neither do I care. Seemed like natural justice to me.

So the point is, the situation happened BEHIND her by someone obviously intent at the very least on stupidity or possibly worse. If I understand it she stands guilty in the eyes of the law? Which means presumably that a woman (or anyone else for that matter) is being aggressed on the road by an unknown nutter who then crashes, should be required to then stop and go back to 'help'? Not in my book.

Plus the earlier point of false accidents is well-made and was a common one in Australia, and also in Eastern Europe. Interestingly in Australia 'dobbing in ' i.e. denunciation of others, is regarded generally as being lower than a worm. Different cultures.


That's a very British thing to do!

On one occasion, I was driving North on the A128 that goes up from Tilbury Docks into deepest Essex, known locally as "Tanker Alley", when some maniac decided that the rest of us weren't making a serious effort and decided to demonstrate how it should be done. He put his boot to the floor and overtook two cars and a lorry. Unfortunately he hadn't allowed himself quite enough space to get back in front of a car coming the other way and as a result of his overenthusiastic steering, he lost control and went through a hedge and disappeared into the field beyond. The whole line of traffic came to a halt and you could tell that everyone was a bit stunned, because no one attempted to get out of their cars. We just sat there watching and waiting for the explosion and fireball. But what actually happened was that a face appeared over the top of the hedge, bearing a somewhat sheepish expression. As one man, the whole line of drivers started their vehicles and drove off, leaving the idiot to sort out his own problem. I laughed all the way home!

Over my life time I have seen some terrible accidents. No I am not in a medical profession but I always stop to help if I can do so safely.

Being a Yachtmaster type of the old school, I once have had to turn our vessel around to go to the aid of a vessel in distress, but we had 2 crewmembers who were very ill, rough weather, only to find out that the tender of a very well know Cruise liner was p.issing about. A Mayday is a Mayday and the Greek authorities went ballistic.

Recently in the UK while shopping and walking, I witnessed two youths crash there bicycles, on the outskirts of a town centre, they were being stupid.

One lad hit his head on the pavement, and with my own 10 year old boy we quickly crossed over to assist, a lady was on the floor with the youth, so I stuck my head in the nearby estate Agent and asked them to telephone for an Ambulance which they did.

I went to the lady on the pavement with the now semi concussed youth and told her I had called for an ambulance, I then asked her if could assist, her reply, " I know what I am doing", she was angry, " I work for the local CPS you know, get out of my way".

My boy and I toddled away.

But, I will always try to help if I can. Surely Humanity on this sorry planet needs all the help it can get?

about the 20 millions, it was a semi-joke that I heard on a French tv program. The law about not walking away does date from the occupation the mania to denounce is a lot more ancient, see Richelieu police.